Feeling Like You’re Faking It?

By: Kerri Hawkins, MS, RDN, LDN, CPT

Do you every feel like you are “faking it”? Have you heard of impostor syndrome?

The more and more I excel in my career or in life, the more and more I find self doubt can take over my thoughts and confidence. Podcasts have become the background noise in my life and recently I heard the term “impostor syndrome” whispered from my ear buds in to my ears as I was walking to work. My attention heighten immediately and I turned the volume up as the description was being rattled off and describing this unease that I had felt but had no words to express what was going on.

Imposter syndrome occurs as a person doesn’t feel good enough, and doubts their accomplishments. They have persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud” and feels they can’t live up to others’ expectations. Despite all the external evidence of accomplishment, they feel don’t deserve the success they’ve achieved. I’ve come to find that this syndrome is most common among women leaders and/or perfectionists who constantly compare themselves to others. This description immediately resonated with me and got me curious are there things that I can do to help calm this type of self doubt and celebrate my accomplishments rather than fear that I am “faking it”. From my google “research” and own practice, I found a few steps helpful to me and maybe you:

  1. Knowing is half the battle: heighten your awareness about how you talk to yourself and about yourself to others. Being aware that you have moments of imposter syndrome, allows you to start to make small changes and corrections in the moment.
  2. Self -talk: when your brain goes low and focuses on the negative, use your words and go high. Re-frame those negative thoughts/feelings into more neutral or positive language.
  3. Have courage to go after new opportunities: fear can be paralyzing, but use that fear and take a chance on yourself. Stepping outside of our comfort zone often helps us recognize the skills we hold that make us successful and accomplished people.
  4. Don’t compare, complement: It is natural to compare our self to our peers, but in those moments of comparison, look for complementing words to share with your peers. This not only will boost that person, it often makes you feel good about yourself as well.
  5. Time is your friend: Acknowledge we all are walking our own path. Be patient and recognize that with time you have and will accomplish what you have set out to do.
  6. Sharing is caring: Sharing your insecurities with someone you trust and respect can help you separate what’s real from your perceptions of insecurity.

Remember, you are better than you think you are. Remember that. Remind yourself as often as you need to.


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  1. Wow! So much wow! I’ve definitely struggled with this along the way. I was sitting with a friend who used this term and ever since and become more aware of my own internal thoughts. I so appreciate you sharing this as it gives more insight of what to do when we are feeling this way as well as knowing we aren’t alone in this! ❤️

  2. Thanks for this information Kerri! I hadn’t heard of this syndrome before but I can relate to those voices in your head. I appreciate your advice on how to deal with these thoughts.

  3. I know this article came out a few months ago, but I needed this today. I think we all go through moments in private practice where we ask ourselves “are you sure you know what you’re doing?” or we second guess our qualifications. Thank you for the advice!