Leading with Confidence: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

by | Apr 6, 2023 | Business, Strengths

Leadership can be challenging, dealing with people with different needs and pressure from investors, shareholders, a board, and direct reports. It’s common for successful leaders to struggle with self-doubt and impostor syndrome. Many high-achieving leaders doubt their skills, talents, and accomplishments and feel like frauds.

It’s essential to understand that feeling like an impostor is a normal part of being human, and many successful people have experienced these feelings at some point in their lives. However, it’s also essential to recognize that these feelings can hold you back and prevent you from reaching your full potential.

Shifting your thinking

One way to pivot into an empowering mindset is to focus on your talents and strengths. It’s a given in sports; why not in business?

When you believe that you have achieved your success through hard work, luck, or the help of others, rather than acknowledging your innate talents and abilities, it can lead to a disconnect between your external achievements and your internal sense of self-worth, causing you to feel like an impostor.

One way to overcome this is to identify your innate talents and strengths. Your natural talents go way beyond your current title and role. It’s talents that go with you independent of where you are; it’s how you instinctively approach anything in business and life. By understanding what comes naturally to you, you gain a deeper appreciation for your unique abilities and the value you bring to your organization and the people in your life.


Many tools, assessments, and resources are available to help you discover your innate talents and strengths. One of my favorites is the CliftonStrengths® assessment by Gallup®, a powerful assessment that identifies your natural talents and strengths by ranking 34 talent themes in order of intensity unique to you.

The talent themes provide insight into how you currently use these talents and how you can develop them into strengths to achieve your targets. Having a neutral party, like a coach, that guides you on your journey helps you take it from a feel-good report to diving deep into your life and transforming it by looking at and focusing on what energizes you.

360 Feedback

You can also seek feedback from trusted colleagues, mentors, and coaches to understand how your strengths are currently playing out and how you can leverage them to become a more effective leader. You can tap into assessments here, too, interview the people in question or email the questions you would like feedback on. Having someone to talk things through with is essential, as it can get lonely “at the top.”


Another way to overcome impostor syndrome is to reframe negative self-talk. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, such as “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t deserve this success,” you can challenge these beliefs by asking yourself, “Is this thought helping or stopping me from creating the success/target?” Easier said than done if you’re feeling crappy, but with practice, it becomes an automatic check-in.

You can reframe negative thoughts by focusing on your strengths, both innate and areas of expertise and accomplishments, and remind yourself that this too shall pass and that you’re capable and deserving of success.

Powerful statements

A statement like “Everything is ALWAYS working out for me” or “I have EVERYTHING I need and more” can help you stay on track. For the competitive ones, add “Cause I’m a winner!” Try it and see if it won’t bring a smile to your face or an inner grin.

In conclusion, shift your thinking and overcome impostor syndrome by focusing on your innate talents, developing them into strengths, seeking feedback from people with your best interest in mind, and reframing negative self-talk. Doing so will make you more confident and effective as a leader and help you reach your full potential.

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