Imposter or Authority?

Blog 2021-10-26 photo

I’ve coached several executives on “imposter syndrome” or the sense of feeling unworthy. It’s not something with which I thought I identified, and attribute this to both my parents and grandparents. Through their unconditional love, they taught me that I am enough…perfect in the eyes of God.

I do, however, understand about having doubts. As I examine the history of my own doubts, I start to wonder: Do I have imposter syndrome? What is the opposite of this? Whatever that is, do I have that?

I searched and found an answer from an article by writer and artist, Zsófia Vera: The Opposite of Imposter Syndrome. She says when a person feels “deeply unseen, unheard and remarkably un-witnessed“ in their work, they don’t feel acknowledged as an “authority” and so she calls this Authority Syndrome. I think it could be more aptly termed Amateur Syndrome.

Zsófia goes on to say both syndromes, “…are rooted in a profound lack of self-belief.” That lack of belief shows up differently for each. Feeling unworthy (like an imposter) can result in staying quiet and letting others speak. Feeling unseen (like a non-authority or an amateur) can result in trying to outperform yourself and lead to burnout. Either way, she believes deep re-grounding can help:

“Remember you are the common denominator in each experience. You cannot choose to matter one day, and not matter the next…there is nothing that you need to do to prove your worth to anyone.”

Adopt the mental attitude that what happens outside of you is an opportunity to gain greater perspective, provoke further thought, and/or re-affirm your conviction. You get to choose what you pay attention to and absorb from other people. You get to choose to allow others’ responses (when you view them as useful) to help you grow and learn.

If none of that happens—and your saboteur rears its protective head—then so be it. Use that as a chance to reframe your limiting beliefs, explore more about what you believe to be true and want, and get more connected with those people who cared enough to share their voice.

You are the author for your life. Aim to bring the truest form of you to others. The more authentic you are, the more inspired people will be, and the more they will feel safe to be themselves. No syndromes…just the real YOU, doing brilliant things in your world.

This Week’s Challenge: Pick one opportunity in the coming week to play with feeling unworthy or unseen, whichever may be challenging for you. The goal is to bring more of the real YOU to the situation. This might look like speaking up more with your point of view and/or acknowledging yourself for what you created despite how others respond (or don’t). After the experience, give yourself credit for being authentic, and reflect on what you learned and what’s important to you.

Subscribe to

Impact Your Leadership

Terms and Conditions checkbox is required.

If you'd like to dive deeper into leadership and all that it means, we invite you to sign up for our insights and tools (they're free).

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Please leave a comment or suggestion for a video you love so others can be impacted by your leadership.


  1. Doug Brady on October 26, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Nice Jen.
    Not always easy but certainly important to be the true you. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Comment