Imposters Syndrome – why do highly intelligent women feel like frauds?

How can I apply for the promotion, speak up in a meeting or claim to be an expert, when I feel like such a fraud? Surely my current promotion was a mistake, a token appointment or a fluke, when they find out I’m done for… have you ever felt like this?

You may be interested to know that Impostor syndrome  is particularly common among high-achieving intelligent women.

Imposter Syndrome is define on wikipedia as a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalise their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

Interested? Read on…

This situation is based in women’s inability to ‘own’ there intelligence, often believing others over estimate their intellect and their ability. It leads to women feeling they need to work harder than their male counterparts, least they be ‘found out’, and it’s the most likely cause of burnout amongst entrepreneurial, professional and executive women.

So what’s the answer?

Get to Know  the Voice of Your Inner Critic and Master it – in an earlier blog post we spoke about feminine static and that destructive inner voice the eats away at your self confidence. It is certainly a large contributor to the feeling of being an imposter or a fraud.

The problem is we hear this inner voice and accept it as true, it’s never been the truth about who we are, we just perceive it to be so. The key to mastering our inner critic, so that it no longer has control of our thoughts and emotions, is to become very familiar with how it sounds and where it takes you emotionally. There is a HUGE cost to allowing this voice to rule your life, it robs you of everything your heart desires – Love, peace, happiness, success, wellbeing, vitality just to suggest a few.

Once you understand this voice it becomes the access point to gaining that which you truly desire. A word of caution, most of us need some help to get their inner critic in hand, we’re so accustomed to it’s presence we don’t realise it’s the one calling ‘Imposter!’ ‘Fraud’ from within.

Compile some evidence – who are the 3 people you respect most? They will be people who’s opinion you respect, when they tell you something you believe them, they have integrity, you trust them and they are their word.

So what I want you to do is ask them what they see as your personal and professional attributes, your specific skills and talents. Be sure to tell them why you’re asking and listen carefully to what they have to say, ask them to email you their feedback so you have it in writing. Given you respect, them you cannot then turn around and question the integrity of their feedback, now can you?

Revisit this evidence often and continue to add to it as fabulous things begin to unfold in your life.


Watch the Company  You Keep – you definitely want to keep company with others who raise you up, rather than drag you down. The ones who champion you and remind you of your talents, your skills and your greatness. Remember only take advise from those who truly have your best interests at heart, not the ones who merely say they do and drag you down to keep them company in the next breath, you know the difference, right?

When it’s all said and done, you are more capable than you’re giving yourself credit for and if I asked you about your sister, daughter, mother, best friend would you suggest to me that they’re a fraudster, or would you tell me they underestimate their true strengths and capability? We both know the answer to that question, don’t we?

The only question that remains is, what are you going to do about harnessing the truth about your capability and embracing the intelligent woman you are, it’s the pathway to inner peace,  love, happiness, success, wellbeing and vitality you deserve?

As always we’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences and comments, below.




  1. Leah Marmulla on June 3, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Great idea provoking thoughts as usual. Thanks Lenore.

    • Lenore Miller on June 4, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Thanks Leah, and you’re very welcome!

  2. Viv on June 3, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks Lenore a timely word for many of us I’m sure… as I know I have often felt like this.

    • Lenore Miller on June 4, 2015 at 8:51 am

      You’re welcome Viv, it’s amazing common however we often feel it’s just us.

  3. Janet on June 3, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Very thought provoking Lenore as I move forward on a new career path .

    • Lenore Miller on June 4, 2015 at 8:52 am

      Great that it’s got you contemplating Janet. Hope you’re heading into your new career path with confidence and enthusiasm, you have so much experience to offer.

  4. Kate energy artist Aylmer Canada on June 3, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    I so agree with you Lenore. I am just learning to accept my success! To help me remember, I keep letters, notes, and emails I have received just to remind myself!

    • Lenore Miller on June 4, 2015 at 8:54 am

      Fabulous to hear you have a strategy Kate for keeping yourself focused on all you are creating and what you have to offer your clients. Look forward to updates on your progress.

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