Imposter Syndrome

I remember the first time I was asked to make a presentation in an executive leadership team (ELT) meeting. I was leading an award-winning retail team and the ELT wanted to hear my insights and observations as the team was considering expanding into a new international market.

While excited to make this presentation, I felt a wave of other emotions and questioned if I was the right person to represent the team. I was the least tenured and felt like I still had a lot to learn about the company. Even though my team tried to encourage me through the process, I did not feel as though I deserved to be in the room. As I shared my concerns, the common diagnosis was imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success (Corkindale). Imposter syndrome was coined by psychologists Paulene Clance and Suzanne Imes and nearly 70% of Americans struggle with these intrusive thoughts (Doggett). How do we show up as confident and capable? How do we silence those thoughts? I can honestly share it was not easy, but I did the work and continue to do the work to try and mitigate feelings of imposter syndrome as an executive retail leader.

As I reflected upon my 25-year career as a retail leader, there were 3 strategies that I leveraged to face imposter syndrome: Affirmation, Celebration, and Preparation. As I connected with peers, they shared similar language and examples about how these 3 strategies worked to help them face imposter syndrome head-on.


Affirmations are powerful. Affirmations are transformative. Affirmations are life-changing. Even one of my favorite Proverbs confirms this, whereas “death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it, will eat its fruits (Proverbs 18:21).” As you are reading this article, I want you to know that you are talented. You are powerful. You are enough. You are more than capable. You have everything you need to excel. I hope you will adopt the practice of daily affirmations and continue to believe in your brilliance. Whether you write the affirmations down on your phone, on sticky notes, or on postcards, make sure you place your affirmations in a location where you can see them and recite them as needed.


Celebration, as defined as a transitive verb by Merriam-Webster, is to play up for public notice. Whether or not you decide to celebrate in public, the idea remains the same. You must celebrate where you are and stand in the truth that you are not here by accident. You have earned the right to receive a new job or promotion. You deserve to bask in joy and not be overwhelmed with doubt or fear.


Preparation, preparation, preparation. As you continue to read further, allow the words to echo in your mind and spirit. The more you prepare, the better you feel. Make sure you understand the requirements. Make sure you practice. Make sure you show up Day 1 Ready. You are more than a conqueror and your preparation should reflect that. You have unlimited potential to be successful beyond your wildest dreams. I am cheering for you and I believe in you. To check out more articles, please follow my blog for additional lessons for retail leaders.

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