• Nancy Mendelson

Can Imposter Syndrome Be Good?

Whether you call it second-guessing yourself, impostor syndrome or you have your own special term for those sucky feelings of self-doubt, take heart; according to an article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science, an estimated 70% of people experience these types of feelings at some point in their lives.


Frankly, I can’t imagine that the figure isn’t more like 100% of people are being honest with themselves…and each other!

Imposter Syndrome Meme

“I remember wondering how it would ever be OK to talk about self-doubt or to be openly vulnerable,” writes entrepreneur and Britain’s luxury handbag designer, Anya Hindmarch, in her best-seller If in Doubt, Wash Your Hair. “And yet, quite quickly, the perception and understanding of the various voices washing around our heads has been transformed. From being something draining, misunderstood, unspoken of, it’s now––for the majority of us––simply about remembering to look after our minds just as we do our bodies.” As a recent guest on the podcast, Grazia Life Advice, Anya shares some incredibly helpful insights. I recommend it!

Nancy Mendelson

For many, myself included, getting a grip on those voices in our heads can be daunting, but well worth the effort it takes to break those negative thought patterns.


In an article for Forbes, How To Stop Second-Guessing Yourself And Trust Your Decisions As A Leader, acclaimed executive coach and author, Melody Wilding LMSC, offers a three-step process for breaking that confidence-draining, wash, rinse, repeat cycle:

  1. Interrupt (your negative self-talk)

  2. Accept (the present instead of fighting it)

  3. Redirect (your depth of thought and intelligence more constructively.)

“Most people experience moments of doubt, and that’s normal,” says impostor syndrome expert and author of the book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Valerie Young in Time. “The important part is not to let that doubt control your actions.”


Several years ago, while on a business trip, I counted myself lucky to be invited for drinks with a highly respected speechwriter and communications specialist. After my first martini, I summoned up the strength to ask him if he ever got anxious or doubted himself, to which he responded, “I still do. It keeps me from becoming complacent and phoning it in. The day you stop having those moments, you’re on the road to arrogance.” And while those self-doubting moments still feel sucky, I have learned to use them to become stronger and more confident…and I hope you will too!

And while those self-doubting moments still feel sucky, I have learned to use them to become stronger and more confident…and I hope you will too!