Are You an Impostor? by Richard Nicholls

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “One of these days everyone will find out that I’m not as clever as they think I am,” then you’re in good company.

Because there isn’t a successful person in the world that doesn’t, at some point, experience what’s often referred to as “Impostor Syndrome”. A self-doubt that feeds a belief that you’re actually nobody special and that any achievements you’ve had were nothing more than through luck, rather than through ability.

The reason for this is, unless you are a total narcissist, we find it very hard to see when we are performing at our best. There is usually a big difference with being the best we can be and being the best in the world, but because we tend to look at others to compare our achievements, and only with those who are the best in the world, we can easily overlook our own achievements.

Even Albert Einstein suffered from it. A month before he died, he confided to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium that, “The exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.”

It seems that far too often we fall into the trap of comparing our weaknesses with others strengths. We say to ourselves, “If only I could speak as confidently as Jeff” or “If only I was as clever as Joan”. Meanwhile, all the Jeffs and Joans are thinking, “If only I was as creative, as funny, as calm, as forgiving” as you!

When comparing our insides with others outsides all we get is our imagination creating a perception of a reality that doesn’t even exist. Thinking this way is totally human, and it’s something we all do. So it is important to be aware of it, in order to prevent it from turning into negative thinking, that harms our self esteem.

Remember that bravery doesn’t mean feeling confident, it means feeling nervous but doing something anyway. And we need bravery to take risks, to take on challenges and pursue ideas that leave us open to the possibility of failing and of being ‘found out.’

But when you stop letting your worries influence your choices in life, then you open up new doors of opportunity and discover just how much you really can do.

As a child learning how to walk there were many times that you failed. You fell over time and time again. But because you didn’t have the negative self talk to hold you back you continued to persevere, despite your past experiences, until you could walk so well that you do it without thinking. We need that same persistence and belief in ourselves as adults too.

Even if you never actually accomplish all that you aspire to, you will accomplish so much more than you otherwise would have done.

In that process you’ll come to realise that the only impostor you ever had to worry about is your fear of people thinking that you are one.

Richard is available for private consultations in Nuneaton, Hinckley and Tamworth and can be contacted on 024 7639 8439. Or you can visit for further information.

© 2015 Richard Nicholls