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FAKER! - if you’ve ever felt a bit of an imposter, you’re in good company

Some of the most successful people think they’re not good enough. They wait to be discovered and exposed as frauds, fakers, and imposters.

Since Einstein, a world-acknowledged genius, suffered from what we can call Faker Hang-ups, perhaps they might even do you some good.

People such as former First Lady Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou poet and civil rights activist, actor Tom Hanks, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, the former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and others have admitted to having these fears.

Virtually all of us, at some time, may feel inadequate or face insensitive feedback that makes us feel diminished or misunderstood. Many typically self-assured women seem to suffer from F-Hang-ups causing them not to speak up in work situations or to suffer from male aggression and condescension, creating negative thoughts and self-doubts.

Worrying that all Faker Hang-ups are bad could be a mistake. They could even improve your relationships, which is a critical factor in career success.

For example, in one study, trainee doctors with frequent Faker Hang-ups were more adept at handling sensitive patient interactions. During job interviews, in another study, candidates, with F- Hang-ups asked more questions, and hiring managers saw them as possessing good people skills.

F- Hang-ups may make you more orientated to another person and better attuned to their perceptions and feelings. Such a combination can make you more likeable.

F- Hang-ups only sometimes damage performance. They may even provide just enough motivation to bring out your best work. While this hardly makes them desirable, this at least suggests you needn’t view them as abnormal. Around seven out of ten people have entertained F- Hang-ups at some point in their careers. Just knowing this can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Dig deeper into F- Hang-ups or Imposter Syndrome and it comes down to fear, says Assistant Professor Basima Tewfik of MIT Sloane. She explains, “it’s not all bad news.” What makes the Faker Hang-ups so distinctive is believing that others overestimate your performance. Yet this does not mean you’ll do poorly at work.


“I still have a little impostor syndrome, it never goes away, that you're actually listening to me. It doesn't go away, that feeling that you shouldn't take me that seriously.” Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States “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, a poet and civil rights activist. “I still think I'm going to get found out. That I'm not really worthy of the respect that

I've been given. That I'm not really that good of an actor.” Tom Hanks, actor.

“There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.” Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.

“The moment I received the Nobel Prize, I knew I was a fraud, that I didn't deserve it, that I was a fake, that I was a failure, that I was going to be found out.” Toni Morrison, author.

“I have moments of doubting myself, and I have moments of being absolutely

convinced that I can't do something. But I just have to push through it and keep going.” Emma Watson, actress.

“I still have a lot of fear and insecurity, and I still struggle with imposter syndrome.” Emma Stone actress

“There's a voice inside me that says, 'You're not good enough. You're not talented enough. You're not attractive enough. You're not smart enough.” Will Smith, Actor

“There have been a lot of times where I have felt like I didn't belong, or I wasn't

Good enough, or I wasn't ready. That's just imposter syndrome.” Serena Williams, Tennis superstar


1. Learn the facts: take a step back to look at the bigger picture. What facts support that you deserve to be in your role? Monitor your internal dialogue.

2. Share your feelings: share your impostor feelings with others to reduce loneliness and open doors for others to share what they see in you. Knowing others are experiencing what you are can be consoling; share your insecurities and gain new ways to cope.

3. Celebrate your successes: if someone congratulates you, don’t move on too fast, pay attention to how you respond and aim to speak more positively about yourself; taking time to applaud yourself can help internalise your success.

4. Let go of perfectionism: adjusting your standards for success can make it easier to see and internalise your accomplishments.; focus on your progress rather than aiming for perfection, and re-think failures as opportunities to learn and grow.

5. Cultivate self-compassion: recognise those feelings of fear and try to be OK as you are, without your accomplishments.

6. Share your failures: discussing failures in a group can help paint a more realistic portrait of what other people like you are struggling with.

7. Accept it: you’re always going to face new experiences or roles; that’s life, so try and come to terms with it.


The Surprising Solution to the Imposter Syndrome | Lou Solomon | TEDxCharlotte,

Read: Basima Tewfik, Imposter Syndrome has its advantages, Harvard Business Review, May/June 2022,

C. Palmer, How to overcome impostor phenomenon, American Psychological Association, June 1, 2021,


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