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Famous Faces Who've Battled Impostor Syndrome

imposter syndrome leadership mindset Nov 28, 2023

If you feel you don't deserve any of the success you have created, remember this. You're not alone. Wildly successful, high achievers experience impostor syndrome, even though they consistently do amazing things.

Here are a few famous people who regularly face impostor syndrome at different times.

Albert Einstein

Seriously? One of the greatest minds of the twentieth century believed he was a fraud. The founder of the theory of relativity didn't think he deserved his accolades. It's true. Here's what Albert Einstein said in his own words.

"The exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler."

If this great mind felt that way, even though he changed how we view the world, it can happen to anyone. Remember that the next time you have similar feelings. His feelings were incorrect, and yours are too. You deserve all the success and wonderful experiences that come into your life.

Sonia Sotomayor

This high-achieving lady serves as the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. How extraordinary is that achievement? To put it in perspective, you must realize that out of the 115 justices that have served in this position, only six have ever been women.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Sonia Sotomayor talked about insecurities and feelings of not being worthy of her position. She even mentioned her relationship as "a classic impostor syndrome person."

Tom Hanks

This actor has been in some of the highest-grossing movies of all time. He has received countless awards for his acting ability. He has entertained billions of people, yet he still sometimes believes that he is undeserving of his massive success in acting. Here's what he had to say on the subject.

"No matter what we've done, there comes a point where you think, how did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away for me?"

Sheryl Sandberg

Feelings of being undeserving and inadequate plague this Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. She talks of her self-belief as a fraud in her book, "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead." She says

"And every time I didn't embarrass myself or even excelled, I believed that I had fooled everyone yet again. One day soon, the jig would be up."

These people were and are high achievers. We look up to them for what they have accomplished. If they can feel this way, and we admire them for their successes, that tells us that these feelings are commonplace.

Even though it might be normal to experience these feelings occasionally, that doesn't mean your beliefs are accurate. As these and other famous people prove, symptoms of impostor syndrome don't mean you aren't deserving of a successful and fulfilling life.

Ready to go deeper? You can take my online course "The Imposter Syndrome Solution" and I will guide you through the complex maze of Impostor Syndrome, shedding light on its intricacies and equipping you with effective tools to dismantle it.

Are you interested in coaching, leadership development or organization consulting support? Lets set up a call, I love to help leaders like you!

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