Imposter Syndrome and strategies for overcoming it


In this episode Judith Germain speaks to returning guest Dana Skaggs about imposter syndrome and strategies for overcoming it. Imposter syndrome is emotional not logical in nature. They look at Imposter Syndrome from a neuroscience perspective and as a maladaptive solution. A new perspective on an ‘old’ topic, they look at how Mavericks view Imposter Syndrome.

Key Takeaways

  • Imposter syndrome is an illogical thought pattern where people believe they are a fraud despite evidence of success. It is driven by emotion rather than logic.
  • Accepting feelings of doubt and insecurity as normal can help. Reframing thoughts and visualising confidence can counter imposter syndrome.
  • Having a mentor see your potential can provide a new perspective. Focus on your own journey rather than comparing yourself to others.
  • Identify and address the root causes of imposter syndrome, often stemming from childhood experiences or trauma.
  • Allow yourself to make mistakes and keep trying. Over time, small successes will build confidence.


What is Imposter Syndrome

  • Imposter syndrome is an inherently illogical thought pattern where people believe they are a fraud or phony despite evidence of high performance and praise. They feel they will be exposed as incompetent at any moment.
  • It is driven by emotion and fear rather than logic. The logical brain cannot override the emotional brain.

Strategies for overcoming Imposter Syndrome

  • Accept feelings of doubt as normal when taking on new challenges. Reframe thoughts and use visualisation to imagine confidence.
  • Use techniques like 54321 to calm the mind and body when feeling anxious.
  • Identify and speak to the emotional part of the brain feeding Imposter Syndrome. Imagine it as a “part” in a boardroom.
  • Have a mentor see your potential. Borrow their perspective until you gain more confidence.
  • Compare your current self to your past self rather than overly focusing on others.
  • Address childhood experiences or trauma at the root of Imposter Syndrome. There is no need for shame.
  • Allow yourself to make mistakes. Focus on learning rather than failure.
  • Build confidence through small successes. Memory reconsolidation will replace self-doubt.

Distinguishing Imposter Syndrome from normal doubt

  • Natural, healthy doubt is normal when taking on new challenges and growing. Imposter Syndrome is more deep-seated and debilitating.
  • Framing thoughts and having perspective can help differentiate imposter syndrome from normal doubt.
  • True Imposter Syndrome persists despite logic. Normal doubt can be overcome with preparation and practice.

Next Steps

  • Share episode with those who may relate to Imposter Syndrome
  • Read recommended books on neuroscience and psychology for more context
  • Try visualisation and sensory techniques to manage anxiety
  • Identify a mentor who can provide an outside perspective
  • Make a list of small successes and accomplishment

In this conversation Judith shares the value of unpacking imposter Syndrome’s roots to face underlying fears, likening it to removing hidden obstacles. Dana emphasises small successes building confidence, accepting mistakes and persevering through challenges by refusing to quit or compare unfavourably to others.

PREVIOUS PODCAST EPISODE – Dana Skaggs was previously on the Maverick Paradox Podcast (Episode 371), where she spoke to Judith Germain on the impact on boundaries in leadership.

Dana Skaggs, a psychotherapist and podcaster is known as ‘The Queen of Boundaries’ due to her extensive experience and knowledge surrounding the ubiquitous impact of boundaries in our professional and private lives.

Maverick leadership is all about thinking outside the box and challenging the status quo. It’s about having the courage to take risks and the confidence to lead in a way that is authentic and genuine.

But amplifying your influence as a leader isn’t just about having a strong vision or a big personality. It’s also about having the right leadership capability and being able to execute on your ideas and plans.

The consequences of not having the right level of influence as a leader can be significant. Without the ability to inspire and motivate others, you may struggle to achieve your goals and make a real impact.

How Influential Are you? Take the scorecard at and see. 

Dana Skaggs can be found on LinkedIn here. Her website can be found here.

You can listen to Episode 383 on any of the popular podcast platforms or apps (including Spotify, and Audible). If you prefer to listen to your browser you can do that below. Enjoy!

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Maverick Paradox Media is for the pathologically curious who seek to learn from lateral thinkers, including how to execute maverick thinking. We provide a Maverick perspective on the world arounds us. 💢 I am the leading authority on 𝗠𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗸 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 and Founder of Maverick Paradox Media. It is because I am passionate about demonstrating that Maverick Leadership exists everywhere and understand that we can all learn from diverse and differing voices that I founded Maverick Paradox Media. Maverick Paradox reaches thousands of leaders and business owners, empowering and inspiring them to think differently, challenge often and increase their leadership capability. 💢 Maverick Paradox Media consists of: ✅ The Maverick Paradox Podcast (on all popular podcast platforms/apps – available episodes here: ✅ The Maverick Paradox Magazine I also write for The Maverick Paradox Magazine and you can find those articles under my name Judith Germain.