Fatal Flaws: Self-doubt and Imposter Syndrome

imposter syndrome

Summary: When you start a new job or get a great promotion, it’s common to experience self-doubt. Minds can fill with stress-related thoughts, like “can I, will I, am I capable?” The imposter syndrome often rears its ugly head. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are tips to stay strong and confident.

What is another word for arrogance?

Did you know that even the most powerful and popular leaders have feelings of inadequacy?

Often, it likes to hide and comes out as arrogance.

That is to say, it is an expression of self-importance and boasting.

However, it’s just another word for fear.

How do I know?

Most leaders must learn the value of being self-aware to limit self-doubt.

To clarify, we have done the research. In completing over 100 leadership programs in the past 20 years, certain situations are obvious.

For instance, fear is like a virus. It’s inclusive. No one is immune.

In other words, it takes into account CEOs, Presidents, Senior Vice Presidents, and Directors.

That is to say; everyone has some level of self-doubt.

There is fear of being vulnerable when you are in a position of power.

What are some synonyms for self-doubt?

For example, that includes feelings of uncertainty, indecision, and vacillation.

In the same vein, let’s be clear about what imposter syndrome is.

It is when you doubt your abilities. Also, you feel like a fraud.

Most importantly, it disproportionately affects high-achievers who find it difficult to accept accomplishments.

In our four-session off-site, spread over several months, people begin to put their guard down. They feel safe enough to risk being vulnerable.

As a result, there is a sense of invigoration and freedom.

Above all, I am gratified when these highly respected leaders eventually tell their truth. They talk about self-doubt and admit to that dreaded imposter syndrome.


I will discuss that in a few moments.

What a surprise call can teach you.

Here is what happened several days ago that made me decide to write about this now.

I received a text requesting some time to talk.

The texter said, “A surprise visitor. Call me. I’ll tell you my name when we talk.”

Of course, that was intriguing enough for me to set a time to connect immediately.

As a result, when I called the number on my phone, I heard a sort-of, kind-of familiar voice. Yet, I couldn’t recognize it.

Consequently, when I said, “Who is this?” he responded, “I’m an old friend who went through your leadership program a few years ago.”

However, I still couldn’t decide who the voice belonged to. But, he challenged me with, “I can’t believe you don’t remember me. I have a unique first name. It’s “Not-Good.’”

What an odd name. No, it didn’t ring any memory bells. I was sure this was a prank.

The era of dumb and dumber.

As a result, it brought to mind the annoying nonsense that I did as a kid. My friends and I had fun calling people with the last name “Wood.” We would deepen our voices and say, “Hi Mr. or Mrs. Wood, how are you and all the little splinters!”

We would crack up at our hilarious joke and hang up the phone.

Therefore, It felt like this call was from my childhood, from that era of dumb and dumber!

Moreover, my caller was persistent.

In addition, he chuckled and said, ‘Yeah, that’s my first name. My last name is ‘Enough.”’

Everyone has a story to tell.

Certainly, I got the joke. This jerk claimed his name is Not-Good Enough.

Most importantly, my fast-moving brain clicked in. “Not-good Enough?” I said out loud. Then it hit me. I said, “Oh my god! How are you, Dan?”

Dan most definitely had been in the Total leadership Connections Program. He won hands down, being the biggest self-doubter ever.

Further, he was a perfect model of the imposter syndrome, or so he thought.

It’s time to overcome self-doubt and imposter syndrome.

A flood of memories showed up.

He worried about being demoted, judged, or cast aside.

Now, he was so happy to share how he had released all his self-doubt and fears of the imposter syndrome. He wanted to help me understand how he had overcome all the self-doubt and that dang imposter syndrome.

He was in a great place. Full of confidence and leading a team of amazing people.

Subsequently, he wanted to share his success with me and send several direct reports to our next program.

Self-doubt, differs for women and men.

We talked for a long time. He suggested I do a post about what he had learned.

Here is what the data shows. Not surprising that it is different for men and women. At least now as we all continue to make changes in how we relate at work and home.

I want to share this now before we move on:

Did you know women tend to self-doubt more than men? Although men definitely worry about their worth, they don’t talk about it as much. Women, on the other hand, often wring their hands in despair about their abilities.

If you wonder why, here is some of the research.

It’s a generational thing

It has to do with culture and training.

For example, did you know that women couldn’t have a credit card under their own name until 1974? A man had to co-sign with her. That kind of situation would make any woman feel doubtful about her own power.

Then let’s talk about this thing called pregnancy.

In the same vein, did you know before 1978, a pregnant woman was at the mercy of her employer? No matter how competent, she could be fired at will. So, there was a lot of questioning and self-doubt.

Let’ celebrate that times are changing more positively.

Men worry about who wants to fight them to take control.

For men, self-doubt and the imposter syndrome show up differently. It’s when there is a sense they are not strong enough in their convictions. Fear shouts out that no one can hear them effectively.

They often feel that there will be a moment of wobble. Then some other alpha male will come from behind and tackle them to the ground.

Getting out of the self-doubt cage.

Dan shared that he hoped everyone could learn that self-doubt is the fatal flaw that keeps everything locked down. It’s like being in a cage. Think of a beautiful bird in its cage. It looks around, saying, “I want to get out of here. ’” It does not realize that the door to the birdcage is open. Just a push with head or beak leads to freedom.

It’s the same with you.

Above all, it’s often just a kick with a foot, a push with an arm, and voila, you’re free.

Leave excessive stress behind

Moreover, we have found three questions that can get you into and keep you in the ‘safe stress zone.’

In addition, ask yourself these questions when you wind down at the end of the day. This allows you to move past self-doubt.


1. Is being vulnerable the same as self-doubt?

To clarify, here is question one: ‘How honest have you been in talking with others? Are you telling the truth?’ How do you present yourself? What are you saying? Can you speak out in a strong voice, or are you more passive?

For example, Brene Brown says it well when she talks about the power of being vulnerable. Being vulnerable is simply telling your truth. It’s honest. Self-doubting is saying, “I’m not good enough,” and I have to be careful not to offend anyone.

2. Does being unsure keep you shut down?

In the same vein, the next question: ‘Did I shrink away from what I was going to do today? How did it make me uncomfortable?’ And this is important. Your answer will untie those knots inside you. What I call, ‘”I’m not, cannot, should not, not good enough” thoughts that turn into knots… K-N-O-T-S that keep us locked.

3. Do you judge others to feel superior?

Similarly, the third question helps you see yourself more clearly. ‘Who did I judge today?’

Certainly, this is really important because when we are judging others, we’re also judging ourselves. So, I want you to think about who you judge and what you say when you’re judging them?

What do you say when you’re finger-pointing? Because when you point your finger out there, the boomerang effect happens. It is also about you.

In short, I just wanted to give you some things to stir the pot a little bit today. If you have questions or comments, please let me know. And if you enjoy this post, I’d appreciate you put a like under here.

Erase the fatal flaw and live fully.

In conclusion, the fatal flaw of self-doubt began in childhood. It comes from family and culture. and it crept up and crept up until it got deep into you.

Moreover, to get to the next level of leadership, there is work to complete. To clarify, here are the three questions. I’ll say them again: 1. How honest have you been today? 2. What did you shrink away from that you felt you couldn’t really do that made you uncomfortable? 3. Who did you judge?

To sum up, please remember, you can open the door to the cage of self-doubt. All you have to do is kick it a few times.

To your success,


PS I want to offer you the same online program I sent to Dan. The Stress Busters educational program keeps you in the safe stress zone. There are guard rails that include emotional and mental barriers. Then you are safe from self-doubt and the imposter syndrome. Success is at your fingertips.

Creative Energy Options

Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options