How to Stop Imposter Syndrome & Become a Great Leader

How to stop imposter syndrome

How to Stop Imposter Syndrome & Become a Great Leader

As a coach dealing in executive leadership skills, I have the privilege of working with many top executives across many sectors on how to succeed as a leader. I’ve discovered that, quite frequently, executives stop short of being as great as they can be. The reasons for this differ: “I’m comfortable where I am. It’s too much responsibility to get bigger. I don’t know if I’m capable.” One of the more interesting excuses is: “If I take on a higher position, someone is going to find out I’m a fraud.” 

Imposter syndrome is real—at least in people’s minds until they finally realize the Imposter Syndrome is itself an imposter! The fear of not being enough, not being good enough, or being a fraud—despite having amazing gifts, talents and experience—plagues a surprising number of people. And this is partly because as much as entrepreneurial leadership is admired, we come from a global society that tends to frown upon standing out. Which means that even highly qualified, intelligent people run away from opportunities to excel.

And yet the very people who are paralyzed believing they’re imposters are actually pioneers!

How to be an inspiring leader

Those who dare to be big have one clear differentiator. They embody what I call Pioneer Syndrome. They may not have the answers, but are willing to find them or create them. All are willing to forge ahead where others fear to tread. They’re people with amazing gifts, talents and experience who often mistakenly believe they’re imposters because they’ve been taught to doubt themselves and believe that thinking well of themselves and having self-confidence is egocentric!

Some of the best leaders in the world started very small. Many have gotten where they’ve gotten in large part based on the soft skills they’ve been willing to build. Skills like patience, persistence, the ability to listen, good communication, empathy and imagination. Skills they’ve been able to leverage to good effect.

They moved upwards, one step at a time, even in the face of feeling uncertain and, yes, unworthy. They went for it despite their fears—just like all good pioneers do.

Interestingly, great leaders use these skills to their advantage all the time. And the wonderful thing about that is, most soft skills don’t cost anything to learn. They simply require that you pay attention and be the best version of yourself that you can be. Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, is a great example. He started out way low on the totem pole. But he was willing to pitch in wherever he was needed and always treated people with kindness. Something he is known for to this day. 

We often call such people visionaries and self-starters. Some, less kindly, refer to them as takers and overly ambitious. And yet the world cannot advance without somebody being willing to be big. One of the advantages of visionary leadership is the ability to inspire many people to their best “Yes!” That is the way great teams and great companies are formed. Inspired by examples of visionary leadership, people unite in a dream bigger than themselves, yet still fulfill their own dreams within the bigger goal.

How to combat imposter syndrome

Being great doesn’t mean that every person must be a CEO. But, stop and think. Given how much time you spend at work, the bigger you can be, the more passionate you feel about what you’re doing, the better you will feel about yourself. And one of the advantages of visionary leadership is you’ll also have a much greater positive impact upon the world while having nicer adventures along the way!

Here’s quick exercise. Ask yourself: “What personality trait do I have that could be turned into a superpower?” It could be your smile, your willingness to put in extra time, your resilience, or your kindness. These are not things we are generally taught to believe are important. But they are no small things! You can actually begin to build a personal brand around kindness, imagination, and persistence and other such soft skills.

Become a great leader

Stop and notice how the one person in the office that everybody goes to for assistance tends to advance. Watch how far they go. It’s not about hard skills. “Heart eats hard for breakfast.”

There are people who seem to have the humblest careers and yet somehow seem to have a lot of impact on people. They also tend to make a lot of money. I’ve watched some waitresses and waiters do this. And taxi drivers. Why do they make more than others in the same profession? They use their people skills. They’re not afraid to be big. To put themselves “out there.” To be seen. To be noticed. They’re not afraid to be themselves. They’re not afraid to care.

You want to know how to become a great leader? How to combat imposter syndrome? Leverage your heart. Your interests. Your passions. Your truest self. Being big isn’t egotistical. It grows the world and creates abundance, one courageous person at a time. 

“How big are you willing to be?” It’s up to you to find out!

To find out more about your emotional DNA and how to move from limited to being big,  join me at one of my live events.

Blessings or shortcomings

Let’s face it most of us were taught to find what’s wrong with us do our best to fix it so we can suffer our way to transformation. It’s a centuries long tried and tested approach to advancing ourselves. Trouble is, it’s a bit shortsighted and frankly often unnecessarily painful. So, who can blame us if we are often blind to wants to serve us and see it as a shortcoming or failure on our part? Imagine the universe extending its hand to you only to be met with your fears and self-doubts. Your systemic blindness.

How often are you faced with a challenge that has you feeling like you’re somehow not equipped to deal with it or have success or fulfillment? How often do you buy into the meta myth of not being good enough? It’s as though thinking these thoughts puts us into good standing with that ancient need to struggle in order to belong.

The problem with that is that we can’t see the challenge for what it is. An invitation to grow. A blessing. So often we see the challenges presenting as evidence that we’ve done something wrong. Perhaps its time to look at it a little differently.

The other day a client of mine was in a state of panic. His line manager had given him a compliment and then asked him why he’d never shown up this way before. Instead of acknowledging that he was growing and consciously applying himself and the results were showing, he chose to think he’d been neglectful of his career. Just like his dad. He could not hear the compliment. His mother had taught him not to ever think he was too important. AKA don’t listen to the good news. Ouch.

How often do you think you’ve got it wrong when in fact you are growing?

Perhaps it’s worth considering that when you feel those inner doubts it may be a pull to the echoes of old patterns of struggle in your family system. However, if you start looking at what’s in front of you with a sense of curiosity and possibility you may just begin writing your own chapter. You could begin changing what you thought was fate into a destiny. How incredible is that?

There’s a saying that when the student is ready, the master appears. There’s another piece to that. When the student is ready, the challenge appears. It’s a blessing and an affirmation that you are ready to go to the next level.

When you hit a brick wall back up a few yards. You might just see that the brick wall is actually just the rise to the next step up. The next time you feel cursed, take a minute to realize you are being told that you are indeed enough and absolutely ready. Instead of doubting yourself, dare to look at what’s in front of you and then look beyond it to how you will feel and what you will have accomplished when you get to the other side.

Next time a challenge appears realize that you may just been blessed.. Don’t look down. Look ahead.

Leaders are created by their choices

Align Your Personal & Professional Life

Your level of leadership depends on where you came from and what you tell yourself about that.

By what they think, hear, feel and also by what they inherit from the generations that
came before them. Above all they are created by what they make that inheritance consciously mean in their lives.

Legendary coach Vince Lombardi once said:

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.

And that’s the price we have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”

He’s partially right but it’s not just about hard work.

It’s about consistent and conscious work.

It’s also about knowing what lives in your family system and how that’s affected you and
make no mistake it does.

Whether you know them or are closely connected or not at all.

At some point legendary leaders make the choice to be leaders.

They choose to have something to stand for and then they
dedicate themselves to being the best leaders and living the best lives that they can.

They understand that a great life isn’t about just drifting. It’s about crafting mindfully.

And if you ask them, they can generally tell you the moments or events that ignited that.

Quite often it begins early on in life. Many times, in reaction to an event and what they made that event mean for them.
Once that decision is made and accepted, it becomes their north star.

They explore, grow, and assimilate everything aligns them with their decision.

They continually add knowledge and insight to their inner world which in turn affects their outer world.

They teach themselves to be willing to look.

In terms of success in our lives, more than anything, it’s a matter of making a choice and then dedicating yourself to making that a reality.

To do that you have to able to pay attention to what lives in your mind and in your systems around you and your family system is rich with clues.

They live in your language, thoughts, feelings actions and reactions. In your leadership, success, relationships, finances.

In fact, just about everything around you.

You don’t just inherit physical DNA you also inherit your patterns of thoughts feelings and actions and the first place

they come from are your family systems. We are all constantly activating and wiring instructions to our brains.

Often not very kind ones either and changing that begins a process of success and fulfillment.

The most successful people know that they have to do this mindfully and consciously. They align everything they do, say,
feel or think with what they want and a set of instructions that keep them headed in the right direction.

Their self-talk, choices, goals, and commitment keep them on track.

It’s all about consciously choosing and then dedicatedly and repeatedly
growing strong patterns or changing limiting ones, that takes them to success.

Mindful patterns require, passion, a clear goal or driver or both and the willingness to look at and invest in themselves.
Often I ask the leaders I work with what they stand for and why that is so important and most of them can tell me what started
the ball rolling for them and what pulls them to keep going and growing.

What many of them don’t consciously connect with, are the dots between what started them on their path and what may
have happened in generations prior to them.

Or as the result of a significant event in their own lives and their response to

multi-generational patterns of thought, feelings, and actions they used to react to the event.

You see great leaders don’t happen in a vacuum.

They use the thoughts, feelings and actions that live in their family or
organizational systems too. And when they do so consciously, it enables them to elevate from being good leaders to legendary

Let me explain and then give you an example:

Who we are as leaders is based first on our primary pattern makers. Our family
system. We watch listen and tell ourselves what is right or wrong and then act accordingly.

By the way we do that throughout our lives in our day to day world.

Society is a large meta system and different parts of it also have their rules and regulations that we obey to belong and disobey
at our risk.

Every family has a unique pattern of language, thoughts, feelings, and actions to which we are constantly responding.
We move either in reaction to, or in collusion with, our family systems.

And for those of you leaders who are not connected to your families, even you are responding to them in their absence or
presence: “I will never be like them.” “I will show them all.” “If they knew me they might be impressed” “I will make a family of
my own through my company.”

As I said you are evolving in reaction to or collusion with them. Know them or not.
Some of you will tell me “I don’t even know them, so how can I be like them?”

Research suggests that these patterns are passed down to us through the generations. Mostly quite unconsciously.

In life with respect to the systems of which we are a part we have two choices. To repeat the patterns or to do it differently.

A phrase you will hear quite often in systemic work and constellations.
The most intriguing aspect of systemic work is perhaps to realize that our family and indeed all other systems are geared
towards our evolution. Waiting and wanting for us to change.

Hoping we will add to or change the history or stuck-ness that lives in our family line. The minute we start looking at our
patterns and/or the patterns of those who came before us we are no longer flying blind. And when we embrace the gifts that
those patterns offer us in terms of growth everything changes.

Now the world and our families are always in service of us and we can see it.

Sometimes pieces of our past or childhood are painful, and we get stuck there. It’s when we can look at those places and
notice their gifts waiting for us to grow them that things begin to shift for us.

We have been so conditioned as human beings to suffer our way into transformation that we have no idea that we have
success and fulfillment in our very own hands.

But how?

It’s all the wiring that we do in reaction to what’s around us and what came before us.
Our brains and systems are truly magical (alright ‘remarkable’) collaborators when we use them wisely and consciously and leaders who do this become visionary leaders. They use what they have to create what they want.

We are the creators of our world around us. We tell ourselves things, have feelings in response and then believe those
feelings and tell our brains this is what’s happening and wire it in. We believe what we are telling ourselves about ourselves
and the world around us all the time!!

And then we make that the truth only it’s really just our truth!

Leaders do this all the time and systemic work and constellations teaches good leaders to become great leaders by
exploring those patterns in their family and organizational systems and choosing what they wish to make them mean in
their own lives and leadership.

They are astounded to see how much of who they are begins in the family system and even more amazed to see how their
family systems have contributed to who they are as leaders.

I teach an entire module of work that I teach devoted exclusively to leaders and organizations and how to explore and
evolve both.

Once leaders know what lives in their systems, they are able to see what has held them back and what has elevated them.
They learn to explore obstacles and limitations and reframe them into the gifts and strengths they were meant to be.

I recently had a client who went into a high state of anxiety because she thought she had messed up her entire career by
neglecting to take good care of it. She was under the mistaken impression that just ‘being a good
soldier’ would get her noticed and result in rewards including promotions.

Life doesn’t work that way. We have to take good care of those careers and grow them like children.

As we started working together I was curious to understand why she hadn’t gone all the way to the top?

She certainly had the capability. We looked at ways that she could step up and gain more visibility and within a short while

one of her leaders told her they were impressed and surprised and wondered where she had been all this time?

What a compliment! Well not for my client! She went into shock, thinking she had neglected her career somehow.
So, we took a look at her father’s career and she realized that he had always said: “Always look after your career, work hard
but don’t stick your neck out too far.

She had faithfully listened to not sticking her neck out too far and made that her mantra and in doing so she had yet another insight.

He once told her he wondered what might have happened if he’d taken some bigger projects or chances that he had been

offered but his father had said family first and turned down a large promotion of his own.

Notice the multi-generational effect?

When she could see that she had built a solid framework like her dad had she was pleased!

She’d done what the family system said was right.

At the same time, she realized that not sticking her neck out and
promoting herself was hurting her.

Yet here was the opportunity… her father had also said I wish I had taken a few more risks but… family first.

She was able to see that by making herself more visible and showing who she was and what she stood for she could

put herself in a great position to excel. It wasn’t taking a chance it was investing in her growth.

When she pointed out to her father that he had always said family first just like her grandfather, he showed her how
furthering her own career afforded her family more chances. So, she could be at ease with that too.

Later when she spoke with her mother, her mother told her that she had always wished that her father would have gone as
far as he could and that settled her even further.

But take a look at how that language that lived in her family precluded her at first from taking a compliment

from her boss and instead turning it into self-doubt and shock.

We all do that. We do what I call toilet talk.

Leaders learn to move beyond that and wire their brains differently and consciously.

They invest in what grows them not what slows them.

Systemic work and constellations show you where and how you set yourself up for failure and how to flip that around and use
the multi-generational patterns in your system for success.

Neuroscience will tell you that you are re-wiring your brain.

Systemic work and constellations use a multidimensional process called a constellation to explore where your patterns
came from, how they serve or limit you, and how to reframe them into patterns of success.

As leaders, this is a powerful tool for taking your leadership to the next level.

Moving you from good to great.

I work with a number of Fortune 500 leaders around the world and with leaders at all levels in all walks of life. I am honored to
be able to watch everyday people elevate their internal leadership and shine.

I look forward to meeting you too and watching the leader in you emerge.

Now it’s your turn.

Please share below so we can learn from each another in our community!

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us on our contact page if you have any questions or need support. We are here to serve your leadership!

Is Systemic Work and Constellations Transformational?


I am often asked is constellations work transformational?

Will it unleash the power within me as other disciplines offer?

Can it rewire my brain?

Can I use this approach as a practical way to change my life?


The simple answer is yes. Just like other approaches, the results depend on the client and that’s good news. If you are ready to take charge of your life and if you want more, than yes this is an approach that may help you to achieve the shifts that can facilitate change. 


Unconscious Loyalties

Imagine discovering that you are unconsciously loyal to hidden patterns in your system and that they may be running your life. Now, what if you could actually see them and explore your thoughts, feelings and decisions about issues, events, relationships, money, leadership and then consciously do something different? How might your life change? Systemic work and constellations facilitate that journey.

Constellations illuminate those hidden patterns and unconscious loyalties, they reveal obstacles, limitations, possibilities. Engaging multiple senses, this dimensional approach enables deep insights and lasting shifts and we know that by changing thoughts and emotions you are indeed capable of rewiring your brain. And when use those changes to break multi-generational patterns, your life can change too.


Have I seen careers rise and lives change? Yes. Too many times to count at this stage. Once people understand the framework of this approach and they are committed to change, they are able to leverage their insights, change their feelings from reactive to creative, and harness the power of their choices to create “the remarkable” in their lives. 

Fortune 500 companies use this approach to solve complex problems with high engagement and success. Individuals report amazing shifts in increasing numbers and the field of human potential recognizes that we are quite capable of life-changing breakthroughs. Some people call it magical – we call it unlocking your natural abilities to create a destiny rather than settling for fate.


Over the coming months and throughout the book I am writing, (it may take a while) I will be sharing practical ways for you to use this powerful approach to create the life you want and yes you can do it. You can do it!  You are going to find out how capable you are of doing the incredible. And if you want to accelerate your own life change within a growing community then you are welcome to attend one of our workshops where we work with you to facilitate those insights and changes.

Start Today – Don’t Wait for January 1st! 

So today, your first shift begins. It may seem small at first but pay attention. That’s one of the first rules in any sort of transformative work. Pay attention. Notice small changes – and big ones. They aren’t a coincidence. There’s no such thing. Transformation relies on you being a partner in the process. 

  • Write down one limiting thought on a piece of paper e.g. I’m not good enough.
  • Write down one feeling that you have that limits you on a separate piece of paper– I feel scared or angry or sad or hopeless.
  • Place them on the floor in front of you and back away a bit.
  • Now notice what happens for you as you walk towards each one. Use as many senses as you can (No tasting the paper please????)
  • Notice what happens in your mind and your body.
  • That’s you using multiple senses to connect with what’s going on inside you! These senses and abilities to notice are going to take you places!

We are tuning into your ability to feel and notice things. It begins with knowing yourself and understanding your ability to perceive and shift. Now ask yourself:

  • When did I first think this thought, or feel this feeling?
  • Who else in my family thought or felt this way?
  • Does it serve me? Does it belong to me or have I inherited or borrowed it?
  • Is it mine to change? Am I the change agent? Is this the chapter that is mine to write my way?
  • Am I ready to look at it?


For the next month, I want you to explore the sentence and the feeling you wrote down. 

  • See if you can identify their origins.
  • Notice everything that they are costing you.
  • Step towards those pieces of paper and then away from them and notice how your thoughts and feelings change as you move closer or further away. 

We are building your ability to sense and feel what is going on around you so that you can use it to understand yourself and then create your biggest life!  Here we come 2020!  

And as always, How big are you willing to be?

Sentenced to Number Two


Leadership styles don’t just happen in a vacuum.

How we are as leaders begins with who we are in our family system coupled to events, and decisions we make about those events. Often unconscious loyalties can lead us to be smaller versions of ourselves.

Jake was well-respected in the global company he’d been part of for the last ten years. He had a real flair for understanding difficult bosses and translating their needs into jobs well done. In a few years he might retire, he said. Life was good. 

He came to see me because his current boss was retiring, and he wanted something different. He was great at getting others promoted without ever getting the credit for the work he did behind the scenes. I asked what stopped him from being a leader in his own right and he said he’d always been told he was a great number two. I asked where that had started, and he said it began way back as a kid when his mother had told him he was a great number two man in the house and that had stuck. He’d developed a real talent around that. Then he remembered that his father had also been a great number two at his own place of work. 

Hidden Loyalty:

Through work we did together Jake began to realize that he had a hidden loyalty to his father. If number two was good enough for his dad,  it was good enough for him. He also remembered that a manager at his first job had told him that he would go far if he didn’t settle for less and now he wondered what might happen if he explored that possibility. We worked on thoughts, patterns, sentences, and mindsets that kept him limited, seeing what was true and what was simply something he had told himself.

He even asked his father’s blessing to go as far as he could and be a number one, a conversation that moved them both. He reported several times that he could feel his thoughts and emotions changing. He found himself stepping forward and saying yes to all sorts of things. He even volunteered to travel abroad to facilitate goodwill between his company and a new partner. He’d been interested in the culture for a long time and fit in really well.  

Within six months Jake had taken an overt lead in company projects and made suggestions that were so helpful to the organization that he was promoted to be an international team lead.

He says that life is no longer good,  it’s incredible and that being fully himself is unbelievable!

He has developed a real flair for being number one too. 

Systemic coaches with a background in constellations understand the multi-generational ties that bind us and the treasure that lies in our thoughts, words and actions. Once clients understand this simple yet effective framework for changing their lives, they are creating their own lives, not repeating the history of their ancestors. 

In our leadership DNA workshops, we explore patterns in leadership, their origins and their effects. Then we look at the hidden gifts, events, thoughts, emotions and mindsets within your leadership style and help you to break through your own barriers and elevate your ability to become an inspiring and visionary leader.