What's in this podcast?

In this episode, Jason talks to Tara Halliday, an expert on imposter Syndrome, who helps executives and coaches break through their limiting beliefs. She has coached many leaders across a range of different fields and has written a book “Unmasking: The Coaches Guide To Imposter Syndrome.”

Listen to this episode on Spotify, iTunes, and Stitcher. You can also catch up on the previous episodes of the Hub & Spoken podcast when you subscribe.

What are your thoughts on this topic? We’d love to hear from you; join the #HubandSpoken discussion and let us know on Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you are a CDO, or data leader setting the data strategy at your organisation, find out more about the CDO Hub – Tara recently led a discussion at one of our online CDO Hub events.


One Big Message

Imposter Syndrome is incredibly common amongst high-achievers (up to 70%) and is one of the few conditions that affects the same number of men and women. If you’re in a leadership position, or a fast-paced environment look out for symptoms and seek help if necessary. While imposter Syndrome is common, it is very treatable.  

[00:45] Tara’s work helping entrepreneurs break through imposter Syndrome and how her Phd. in engineering inspired her to take on a new path

[02:40] Why imposter Syndrome is so prevalent in high-achievers, and how imposter Syndrome starts

[07:00] What the symptoms of imposter Syndrome are and what separates it from normal nervousness or anxiety

[17:00] How you can start managing imposter Syndrome

[24:00] Some simple steps to help with the root cause of imposter Syndrome

[26:10] How to identify imposter Syndrome in your team members and the steps you can take to help them 


What is imposter Syndrome 

Imposter Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon whereby people are unable to internalise their accomplishments, and continue to believe that they have fooled other people into thinking that they are more intelligent or skilled than what is actually the case. It can also manifest as someone who feels like they do not deserve success and happiness because of being an imposter. 

The term was first used by clinical psychologists Suzanne Imes and Pauline Rose Clance in 1978 to describe women who have an inner feeling that they don’t deserve their success, despite ample external evidence that the opposite is true.

Research in the 1990’s showed that imposter syndrome affects men and women equally.

Most commonly seen among high-achieving individuals, it can affect anyone from students to CEOs in any given profession.

What can trigger imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is often experienced as a cycle that comes and goes. It can be triggered by a combination of high challenge and low support.

This self-doubt creates confusion because intellectually high achievers know they’re successful but internally they still don’t feel like they are good enough.

Imposter syndrome creates anxiety and overwhelm. It has the ability to affect multiple areas of one’s life, causing sufferers to completely withdraw even amongst friends and loved ones.


Managing imposter Syndrome 

Imposter syndrome is a cognitive pattern that causes people to doubt their success and abilities. You can manage imposter sydnrome once you recognise that it is a problem that is affecting your life. Unfortunately, many people don’t recognise imposter syndrome when they have it, meaning that they go throughout their lives with increased stress and anxiety that they can’t explain.

Since it is a psychological phenomenon it can usually be managed with counselling or coaching. The key to getting rid of imposter syndrome, not just managing it, is by eliminating the deep belief that drives it; the belief that your worth is conditional.


Helping a team member who may be struggling from imposter Syndrome

Demonstrate empathy if you are a leader who recognises a team member who may be suffering from imposter Syndrome. Since it is common for most leaders to experience imposter Syndrome at some point in their lives, you can use your own experience to help your team members. Withdrawal from tasks, refusal of promotion or larger responsibilities and unnecessary extra learning can all be signs of imposter Syndrome.

Many times it will be very hard to spot imposter syndrome, as people are performing to a high standard and don’t show any signs that they are anything less than confident and comfortable. But left alone it can cause exhaustion, and lead to burnout or people ending their careers.

It’s important for those struggling with imposter Syndrome to know that it’s not just an “insecurity,” but rather a well-documented phenomenon and there are ways of coping with the feeling.


To summarise

Imposter Syndrome affects over 70% of high-achievers. However, with the right help it can be overcome. If you suspect you may be suffering from imposter Syndrome, you might first try speaking to a counsellor or coach to build some support.

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