Imposter Syndrome: How to Break Free


By Michael Lee Howard-Mayhew

The excitement set in as I sat down with my friend Heidi at the Rose City Comic Con. I had waited months to get the chance to see actor Wil Wheaton speak. We both got to the event early and found seats. I was surprised we were in the middle and only four rows back. Little did I know that he would be talking about imposter syndrome.

imposter syndrome

This being my first year at a Comic Con, I wanted to make sure that I did all the “right” things as I learned from watching everyone around me. Within a short time Wil Wheaton started to talk about the Imposter Syndrome in creative people. It seriously hit me like a ton of bricks. 70% percent of people experience this psychological block, but it spoke to me directly.

Imposter Syndrome Explained

What is Imposter Syndrome? There are many detailed versions of this, but in a nutshell Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that you are faking your way through life. In most cases this manifests itself in a variety of ways in the workforce or for some of us it affects our creative endeavors.

The biggest manifestation of this syndrome is that somehow you will be “found out” and deemed to be not as worthy of the gifts and talent you share with the world. For me this has been the downfall of my creative outlets. The idea that I will start writing and think “this has been done before; others will think I am copying what others are doing.” The truth is that this is all in my head.

Since hearing this idea, it’s been fascinating to learn all there is to know about this programming and how I can move forward and past it. Here are a few tips I have learned along my path to improve my self-esteem and let go of the imposter syndrome:

Strategies to Break Free from Imposter Syndrome:

*Call it out and change your thoughts:

When you have those thoughts that you are not worthy of your success, call out the thoughts and remind yourself that they are not true. Then, shift your mind to the fact that you are talented or worked hard for the accomplishment. Finding a way to listen to your inner voice that celebrates your achievements versus your inner critic can be a defining way to rid yourself of feeling like an imposter.

*You are the best you:

This may seem practical and make sense, but how often do we compare ourselves to others and what they are achieving? The truth is that you are the only one who has your unique point of view and your successes are yours to celebrate.

*You have a role in your success:

Remember you did not get where you are at by being bad at your accomplishments. You are the one person who is following your specific path. That is a powerful thing to remember. The second you start to internalize the positive voices, the critic will quiet and then allow the rewards in by believing they are okay, if not great!

*Realize you are not alone in your feelings:

Did you know that celebrities Tina Fey, Chris Martin (of the band Coldplay), Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Don Cheadle, Denzel Washington, Rene Zellweger, Meryl Streep (who I think is one of the best actresses ever), Michelle Pfeiffer, even Maya Angelou all have at some time or another confessed to feel like they were “faking their way” to their successes. When we sit back and hear that these people have felt that way, it can help us feel a bit better in knowing that we are all just trying to be the best we can be.

*Make a list and own it:

A couple of years ago, I was feeling that I was unsuccessful because I didn’t have a college degree. In the workforce the world sees having a degree as something very important. Even if the degree is in something that has nothing to do with the field of work that the person is working in. My résumé looked sad and as if I had only one or two skills. Then I sat down and started writing down all the skills I acquired as a volunteer. Holy crap! I felt a lot better. I had two pages of real skills that were really marketable skills.

When you start to feel that you lack marketable skills or you are not worth the time you spend doing what you do, think about what you can own. Get a jar or a box where you can put achievements in them and when the time comes when you feel “less than,” look through the notes you have made and internalize by giving yourself positive affirmations that you are very capable.

Acknowledge or Accept your Imposter Syndrome:

In Tara Brach’s book “Radical Acceptance,” she shared a really cool story about Buddha and the demon Mara.

One day, Buddha was teaching a large group, and Mara was moving around the edges, looking for a way into the group. I envision Mara rushing frantically back and forth in the bushes and trees, making plans to wreak havoc. One of Buddha’s attendants saw Mara, ran to Buddha and warned him of Mara’s presence. Hearing his attendant’s frantic warning, the Buddha simply replied, “Oh good, invite her in for tea.”

This is how you should approach your feeling of imposter syndrome. Invite the “demon” in and have some tea and offer some acceptance that this can be a certain type of copacetic relationship. But, don’t let it control you.

Needless to say, after hearing Wil Wheaton speak and sharing his words, I was less anxious to move forward in my given endeavors. I am writer, photographer, singer, creative soul who is not faking it, but sharing my gifts with the world. You can too!

Express yourself freely. I love this quote by Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don’t matter and those who matter, don’t mind.”

So, what are your thoughts on this? I’d love to start a dialogue below. Please leave a comment.

imposter syndrome

Works Cited:

Brach, Tara. Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha. New York: Bantam, 2003. Print.
Edwards, Vanessa Van. “Impostor Syndrome: Stop Feeling Like a Fraud.” YouTube. YouTube, 16 July 2014. Web. 10 Jan. 2016.
Eschenroeder, Kyle. “21 Proven Ways To Overcome Impostor Syndrome – StartupBros.” Start Up Bros, 14 Oct. 2014. Web. 10 Jan. 2016.
*If you have enjoyed what you have read, please consider clicking on the affiliate links, so we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) to support this site. We only refer our readers to books or advice that we support and believe in.

A Motivation Manifesto Review


So, What Exactly is a Motivation

Motivation Manifesto Review

Buy the Ebook Now!


By Jocelin Higgins

Good question! I will answer this question for you in this blog post and explain why it’s important to have one especially if you want to be more motivated for success in all areas of your life–whether it be professionally, emotionally, physically or spiritually. I will explain where I learned of this idea for action by reviewing the book,  The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard and how it can encourage you to feel better about your life.  I write this on Martin Luther King, Jr. day and dedicate it in his memory and to all the wonderful freedom fighters out there! BE FREE.

“We do not need more time; we need a stronger reason to act so that we use time more effectively. We do not need to await more resources; we need to act and we will find abundance comes to us.  We do not need to wait for perfect conditions; we will find perfection in progress. We do not need to ask in order to receive; we need to give in order to receive, for in giving we are given to.”  -The Motivation Manifesto

How I Discovered the Author:

I’ve been reading inspiring books by Brendon Burchard for a couple of years now after learning about him while scrolling through my Facebook feed. I teach reading classes to college students and so I chose to have them read and respond to the book, The Charge: Activating The Ten Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive, which he wrote in 2012.  This book helps people live a more fully engaged life by activating ten vital human drives. I find it very reflective because he asks pertinent questions throughout called, Charge Points. My students love it and really experience growth in the process of reading and discussing the points addressed in this book.

So, of course I was excited to read and write a Motivation Manifesto review.  This book goes another step forward to teach readers about personal power and how to effectively claim that power to live our best lives. It’s written as a treatise in two sections by first opening up with a thoughtful understanding of our human nature: what is freedom? what is fear? what is motivation? These set the stage to describe why our fears and lack of motivation prevent us from finding our freedom in life.  In the second section, he lists nine important self declarations.

What I Learned from This Book:

As I was reading, I found myself saying, “oh, yes I can relate” quite often in agreement with what he was bringing forth. However, not everything applied to me as I found myself thinking, “this isn’t me” or “Why is he repeating himself by expanding a little too much on this thought? I get it.” But it definitely illuminated many areas in my life that I need to take more personal responsibility for and find better clarity in.

This book had an incredible launch and included a free online course as well as an invitation to write your own manifesto. I thought this was great and propelled me to understand myself better. Here are the three questions he gave us to do so:

Motivating Questions:

1) What will I no longer accept in my life?

2) What should life really be like for me?

3) What am I committed to making happen in order to create my ideal life?

The point of this exercise is to take a hard look at these and truly answer them honestly. We have so much more control over our lives than we think or have been programmed to believe. Self oppression from self-doubt or low self-esteem or internalizing what others have told us we cannot do should not force us to compromise on our happiness and contentment. Nor should it prevent us from dreaming and striving to meet them.

Why Have a Personal Manifesto?

Therefore, a personal manifesto can really allow you to create a life in which to be proud of and one where you can reach your full potential. Don’t we all want to reach our potential? I do. This book doesn’t sugar coat this journey though. Striving to better ourselves isn’t necessarily easy, he says. It requires us to face our demons and push through to the other side even if it takes much effort and persistence.

His Nine Declarations for Your Life to Be Incredible:

These nine declarations sure are a great start to a life filled with meaning and vitality. There is a chapter dedicated to explaining each one in more depth:

1) Meet Life with Full Presence and Power

2) Reclaim Your Agenda

3) Defeat Your Demons

4) Advance with Abandon

5) Practice Joy and Gratitude

6) Do Not Break Integrity

7) Amplify Love

8) Inspire Greatness

9) Slow Time

My Greatest Lesson from This Book:

Books have the capacity to really change our lives if we let them. I choose to read ones that inspire me and encourage me to grow. This is such an integral guidebook for doing so. It will make you analyze what you are doing or not doing in your life that is enacting a wall between you and your goals or dreams. It will teach you to challenge your previous beliefs and develop a new and improved mindset for accomplishment. It surely did this for me! I learned that I can have an expectation of success and continue moving toward being an accomplished writer, teacher and authentic and loving person.

“All motivation begins with ambition. Higher levels of clarity bring more ambition.” -Brendon Burchard

 Learn more about Brendon Burchard’s trainings.

I’d be interested in hearing how you are motivated in life toward success in any area of your life. How did you answer the above questions? Please leave a comment below and I promise to reply. Thank you for reading my Motivation Manifesto review! Namaste.

* I was given this ebook for free from its publisher by being a member of the Hay House Book Nook. Additionally, I purchased the hard back copy for a reduced price during its launch. I was not compensated for this review and it is my honest opinion, however it does contain links to buy the book and I do get a small commission that helps me support this site. I only promote products that I believe in. Are you a student? You can get free shipping through Amazon.

*If you have enjoyed what you have read, please consider clicking on the affiliate links, so we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) to support this site. We only refer our readers to books or advice that we support and believe in.