4 Ways to Beat the Feeling of Imposter Syndrome

4 Ways to Beat the Feeling of Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud" (thanks Wikipedia).

When I first heard this term it resonated with me all too deeply. Maybe as a small business owner you have felt it too.

As a self taught designer I have had countless days of imposter syndrome. Honestly, today was one of those days which is exactly what lead me to writing this blog post.

Imposter syndrome feels… i’m just gonna say it… shitty. It feels like no matter how much work you put into things or how much work you put into your craft that it will never be enough and one day, you’ll be exposed for being a complete phony. It’s like you’re always watching your back, and your front, and your sides because there’s this sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It’s usually at this point in my spiral of a panic that I have to hit the breaks and cool it. The thoughts in my head yell at me, “WHAT’S WITH ALL THE DRAMA?!”

The good news is, you don’t have to stay in this upsetting loop.

Here are 4 awesome ways to beat the feeling of imposter syndrome.


Read somes quotes

and get inspired by people you honestly never thought dealt with imposter syndrome.

See the silver lining:

“The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh God, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ . . . just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud.”

Tina Fey

Find the humor in it:

“What's talent but the ability to get away with something?”

Tennessee Williams

Accept it:

“I am not a writer. I’ve been fooling myself and other people.”

John Steinbeck

Appreciate it:

“It’s helpful to have some arrogance with paranoia . . . If we were all paranoia, we’d never leave the house. If we were all arrogance, no one would want us to leave the house.”

—Chris Martin

Then get some confidence:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

— Eleanor Roosevelt

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." — Mark Twain

"Trust yourself—you know more than you think you do." — Benjamin Spock

"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do." — Eleanor Roosevelt


Cry if necessary, then listen to some Beyonce

It doesn’t have to be Beyonce (but why not?) just something that gets you out of your funk! Put in your head phones and jam, go in your car blast some tunes and regroup, dance around your house like a crazy person.


Get moving

Unfortunately the things we need to do the most when are a struggling, are the things we want to do the least. Maybe you know the feeling? I know I do. When I most need to go outside, take a jog, breathe in some fresh air, I am more inclined to curl up in a blanket with Lady Godiva and watch some Netflix.

Science tells us that the exact opposite is true.

Exercise reduces immune system chemicals that can make depression worse. Exercise increases your level of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.Exercise helps by getting your sleep patterns back to normal. ... Exercise limits the effect of stress on your brain

- BetterHealth.gov

So take this advice and know that the effort you put in to balancing you stress levels and your hormones will pay off. Even with something as simple as taking a short walk. Stretch your arms up, take a deep breath, and let that shit go.


Recenter yourself

Additional obvious (but not always simple choices) are meditation and breathing exercises. I think the biggest obstacle with this one is actually remembering to do it. The way to increase the muscle memory to breathe and calm down when you are stressed, is to practice it when you are not. Maybe first thing in the morning or right before bed. Instill it in your brain as a tool and resource that can help you in times of need and crisis.

  1. Take a seat

  2. Feel yourself resting on whatever you are seated upon, maybe feel on the floor if you need more grounding

  3. Palms face up = receiving

  4. Palms face down = grounding

  5. Relax the body (especially face, neck, and shoulders)

  6. Feel the belly rise and fall

  7. Take a deep breath

Another way to make this process easier is to use the resources available to you:

  • The Breathe App reminds you to take a breath at different times of day

  • Headspace is an app that teaches you how to meditate

  • A meditation app called Stop, Breathe, Think that helps you learn how to check in with your feelings and stay in tune with your emotions. Bonus: They even have activities for kids!

  • And you can find innumerable videos on YouTube for guided meditations and soothing soundtracks like this one from UCLA:

It’s one of those things that is easiest when you have a routine, so get in the habit and keep going!




Hi, my name is Layne. Check out my other recent posts!