Struggling With Impostor Syndrome? Give It a Name!

Struggling With Impostor Syndrome? Give It a Name!

“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'” ~Maya Angelou

Impostor syndrome is a common struggle. We all have it at least to some degree. And those who don’t think they have it are probably just too prideful to recognize or admit it.

It’s this feeling like we don’t belong. Like even when we’re doing good work someone with a clipboard is going to come up to us and say, “I’m sorry, it appears we’ve made a mistake – you need to go now.”

Name It to Tame It – An Example

“Name it to tame it” is a common idea psychologists use to increase awareness of something that patients and clients are trying to improve.

It means simply that by acknowledging something that we don’t like, such as impostor syndrome, and even giving it a name, can help us move through the challenging thoughts.

Let me give you an example of one of my clients, who I’ll call Kim.

She is a brilliant scientist with passions and interests that go far beyond research and has had opportunities to take on some big projects in her career thus far.

Yet she feels like she really struggles with Impostor Syndrome. So she gave it a name.


When Kimpostor shows up in her mind, she has a conversation with her. It often goes something like this:

“Hey, Kimpostor – thanks for being here. I know you’re trying to help keep me from making mistakes, but in this situation you’re not helpful. I’m going to move ahead with this now instead of being afraid, and believe in myself that I can do it. See you around.”

This short conversation with her own mind often helps to diffuse the power Kimpostor has in that situation and promotes a sense of empowerment.

So if you, like Kim, struggle with impostor syndrome, name it. Talk to it. Acknowledge it and increase awareness of it. Then let it go, so you can move ahead with confidence.

See more in the video below!

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