10 famous people who deal with Imposter Syndrome

If you’ve ever felt inadequate, like you don’t belong, or like a fraud, let out a sigh of relief because you’re not alone. In fact, some of the most famous and successful people in the world have experienced those same feelings. Take a look at these 10 surprising examples of celebs who’ve struggled with Imposter Syndrome

1. Sophia Amoruso

Sophia Amoruso at the "Girlboss" Premiere Screening at ArcLight Theater

Founder of Nasty Gal, Girlboss Media, and New York Times Bestselling Author, Sophia Amoruso, recently confessed in a Facebook post: “Is anyone ever 100% qualified for anything...HELL NO. I’m certainly not…How to go from total impostor to 99% confident (or, let’s be realistic, even 50%)? Homework. I hate it… Preparation breeds confidence — so bust out your textbooks and give yourself some homework.” 

If you’re feeling like Sophia, try giving yourself a personal SWOT analysis. This exercise can help you pinpoint what you’re truly qualified for and what could use some practice … er, homework! 

2. Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks at the People's Choice Awards 2017

In an interview with NPR, Academy Award Winning actor, Tom Hanks, explained that he felt particularly connected to his character in “A Hologram for the King” because he too has experienced self-doubt. Hanks said, “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 from me?' "

3. Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook CEO, at the Opening Ceremony, 67th IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt/Main

Sure, Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and epitome of a #boss, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t experienced feelings of Imposter Syndrome in her lifetime. In her book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” which helps women overcome fear of failure, among other things, she wrote, “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.”

4. Lady Gaga

 Lady Gaga at the premiere of the movie 'A Star Is Born' during the 75th Venice Film Festival

Pop icon, Lady Gaga, isn’t immune to Imposter Syndrome and she’ll be the first to admit it. In her HBO special she confessed, “I still sometimes feel like a loser kid in high school and I just have to pick myself up and tell myself that I'm a superstar every morning so that I can get through this day and be for my fans what they need for me to be.”

5. Howard Schultz

Starbuck logo

Businessman and former Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, knows exactly what imposter syndrome is and explained, “Very few people, whether you’ve been in that job before or not, get into the seat and believe today that they are now qualified to be the CEO. They’re not going to tell you that, but it’s true.”  

6. Maisie Williams

Maisie WIlliams at the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2019

“Game of Thrones” actress, Maisie Williams, better known as Arya Stark, battles Imposter Syndrome despite having starred in one of the most famous shows in television history. In an interview about her acting career she said, “I think even being an actress for over a decade now, I still have imposter syndrome. Where you're asking yourself, 'Oh, is this really what I'm supposed to be doing?’”

7. Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran at the "Shark Tank" Season 8 Premiere

“Shark Tank” judge and real estate mogul, Barbara Corcoran, knows the pressure of Imposter Syndrome despite having an insanely successful career. She wrote in an Instagram post :“Who doesn’t suffer from imposter syndrome? Even when I sold my business for $66 Million, I felt like an absolute fraud!” 

8. Tina Fey

Tina Fey at the Los Angeles premiere of "Muppets Most Wanted"

Tina Fey might be an actress, comedian, writer, producer, and playwright, but she makes no qualms about her struggle with Imposter Syndrome. In a 2010 interview she said, "The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania, and a complete feeling of: 'I'm a fraud! Oh god, they're on to me! I'm a fraud!' 

9. Matt Higgins

"Shark Tank" judge Matt Higgins
Photo courtesy of matthiggins.com

Entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” judge, Matt Higgins, explained that he felt like a total fraud on his first day on set of the hit ABC series. In comparison to fellow judges Kevin O’ Leary and Mark Cuban, Higgins said to himself : “You don’t belong here, this is completely nuts, you’re an imposter.” 

10. Awkwafina

Awkwafina at the Critics Choice Awards

Actress, comedian, and rapper, Awkwafina, is seriously hilarious. But just because she can crack a good joke, doesn’t mean she feels confident 24/7. In a recent interview she said, “When you see so many people gunning for the same thing, waiting for their break despite how talented they are. It really makes you think, why me? Why not this other person, when she could’ve done better?” 

The results are in, Imposter Syndrome affects some of the most famous and successful people in the world. If you’ve ever felt similarly, you’re in good company. One of the best ways to push past these feelings is to celebrate your successes and focus on what you are doing well, instead of where you fall short. When you learn how to overcome Imposter Syndrome, you can get out of your own way and really start to take your business to the next level.

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