Sunday Inspiration: The Impostor Syndrome


Woman with mask in hypocrisy concept

Do you suffer from The Impostor Syndrome?

You would be surprised how many people do — including me. No matter how successful you may be, you may feel like an impostor and fraud.

I feel it sometimes when I’m with colleagues, which I am now. Attending the annual NINC conference are authors who have been on the NYT Best Seller list multiple times, and they’ve made a zillion dollars. Though I’ve sold more than 75 books in my 30 years of writing, and I’ve done well financially, there’s still a part of me that feels like I sneaked through the back door and don’t really belong.

I was relieved to read Eric Barker’s latest blog “Why You Feel Like A Fraud And How To Overcome It” where he reminded me that I’m not alone. In fact, he writes that more than 70% of people have been haunted by The Impostor Syndrome at one time or another, including Albert Einstein, Maya Angelo, and Mike Myers, to name just a few. Whew! That’s a relief. I don’t mind being in their company.

This feeling of being a fraud ironically comes from being so knowledgeable and competent that we realize how much we don’t know, and that scares us. But we forget that knowing that we don’t know everything is a sign of wisdom and intelligence and not of inferiority.

As Barker points out, we need to aim for being “good enough” and not perfect. And by sharing our feeling of being an impostor with those we trust, we’re able to take off our mask and become more genuine.

That’s what I’m doing now, so I encourage you to pass it on if you suffer from the Impostor Syndrome by telling others of your condition. And then have a good laugh over the silliness of it all.

Do you have any other advice on solving The Impostor Syndrome?




  1. Terry Guerra on October 4, 2015 at 2:25 am

    Good morning Emilie,

    I had never heard of The Impostor Syndrome. Surprising to know that the people mentioned above, incliuding you, would feel that way! Your Sunday Inspiration never fails to teach, enlighten, and inspire me.

    P.S. 75 books? Yikes! Better get back to my reading – trying to keep up with you!

  2. Martha O'Quinn on October 4, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Good morning Emily. It’s a rainy day in WNC, probably where you are too. The first thought that came to mind while reading your post is a quote from the movie “The Help.” I love it and repeat it often to self and to others:
    “You is kind, you is smart, you is important (sic).”

  3. Jill Eliot on November 4, 2015 at 2:18 am

    I can’t imagine being a writer and being an imposter. I am an honest, genuine writer. Perhaps I learned it from journalistic endeavors. Maybe I am not getting your point. I certainly would never want to be a writing imposter!
    Jill Eliot

    • Emilie Richards on November 13, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      I think Eric Barker’s point is that if we know a lot about something, we also know how much we don’t know. So even though we are talented and our work is well-received, we are always aware that we aren’t perfect. He’s just telling us to beware that “Imposter Syndrome” and remember that we don’t have to be perfect to be “real.”

Leave a Comment