Reading “Becoming” by Michelle Obama recently, I was struck by one key phrase:
“Am I good enough?”
This rang out to me from the page.
So many of my clients struggle with similar questions:
am I worthy?
how do I avoid being a failure?
can I do this?!
And of course, the classic Imposter Syndrome question:
will they find me out?
It is comforting to know you’re not alone! 💖
So this blog brings together quotes from celebrities about their own self-doubt and Imposter Syndrome - illustrating that this feeling of unworthiness is not minimised by outward success.
Because it’s the INTERNAL change of perspective that matters.
Remember, it IS possible to change the way you think 💪
No-one needs to be stuck with Imposter Syndrome and that terrible undermining inner critic.
(Which is why I’ve included a couple of quotes about confidence at the end too 😊)
1. Meryl Streep - illustrating that lack of confidence can affect even Oscar winners…
"You think, “Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? And I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?”"
2. Jodie Foster - blaming success on luck, or a mistake (and crediting Meryl Streep, who also thinks she can’t act…)
"When I won the Oscar, I thought it was a fluke. I thought everybody would find out, and they’d take it back. They’d come to my house, knocking on the door, “Excuse me, we meant to give that to someone else. That was going to Meryl Streep.”"
3. Candice Carty-Williams (author of Queenie) - showing how feeling like you don’t fit in can exacerbate Imposter Syndrome:
“I didn’t really see anyone who looks like me doing what I did, and this whole imposter syndrome thing, it’s a real thing. Especially when I’ve come from rooms that are filled with just white people and me,”
4. Emma Watson - unable to recognise her own part in her achievements:
"When I was younger, I just did it. I just acted. It was just there. So now when I receive recognition for my acting, I feel incredibly uncomfortable. I tend to turn in on myself. I feel like an impostor. It was just something I did."
5. Sheryl Sandberg - talking about the catastrophic thinking of her inner critic (very common among my clients, where you think the worst thing is going to happen, every time):
"Every time I was called on in class, I was sure that I was about to embarrass myself. Every time I took a test, I was sure that it had gone badly. 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…"
6. Maya Angelou - illustrating that a proven-track record of incredible success doesn’t take away the self-doubt:
“Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great. I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.”
7. Zoe Sugg - with a brilliant example of “ruminating” thinking, where you go in circles of self-doubt:
"I have major imposter syndrome at the moment! I’m constantly doubting everything I’ve achieved, everything I’m working on business wise & everything I’m working on in my personal life! (Even down to second guessing if I should have said certain things, or ‘did I do that properly’…it’s bloody annoying haha). It’s such a peculiar feeling and nothing I do seems to make it ‘less so’."
8. Jennifer Lopez - with another illustration that external success doesn’t quieten the unhelpful internal thoughts:
"Even though I had sold 70 million albums, there I was feeling like “I’m no good at this.”"
9. Ellie Goulding - talking about how Imposter Syndrome can lead to self-sabotage:
"I know I chose this job but nothing could have prepared me for the ups and downs that come with it,” she wrote. “I know for sure that a lot of my anxiety has come from what they call ‘imposter syndrome,’ not believing in myself enough and thinking that I don’t deserve happiness, which results in wanting to sabotage my own success."
10. Joyce Roché (Board-level Executive, and CEO of Girls Incorporated) - illustrating the terrible impact of Imposter-based perfectionism:
"The impostor fears had a greater impact on me early in my career. As I entered corporate America, I faced many unknowns. Being a woman of colour in business at a time when very few women were in positions of power, I had to learn by trial and error how I was supposed to perform.
This made me so afraid of being wrong or ‘looking dumb’ that I stayed quiet in meetings. I wanted to make sure everything I said was perfect before I would chance saying anything, and often found myself hearing a guy saying what I had been thinking but was too afraid to say. I did learn fairly early on that my being quiet and not voicing opinions only served to create doubts in the minds of others about my abilities."
11. Natalie Portman - with a classic example of feeling unworthy:
"When I got to Harvard just after the release of Star Wars: Episode 1, I feared people would assume I had gotten in just for being famous, and not worthy of the intellectual rigour here."
12. Amy Adams - talking about how success can actually make your inner critic worse, and how it can then undermine your career:
"After filming Catch Me If You Can, I choked. I felt this pressure to suddenly be this level of actress that I wasn’t confident enough to be. I did a series of really bad auditions, I let the nerves get the best of me. And the couple of years after that it was, “I can’t do this. I’m not strong enough to continue with this level of rejection”. It was, “What am I going to do with my life?”"
13 & 14. Renée Zellweger & Penélope Cruz - both showing that Imposter Syndrome thought, “they’re going to find me out”:
"Sometimes I wake up at night and go, “Oh, damn! Here we go again! What were they thinking? They gave me this role; don’t they know I’m faking it?”‘" (Renee Zellweger)
"I feel every time I’m making a movie, I feel like [it’s] my first movie. Every time I have the same fear that I’m gonna be fired. And I’m not joking. Every movie, the first week, I always feel that they could fire me!" (Penélope Cruz)
15. Lady Gaga - illustrating how she overcomes those feelings of self-doubt:
"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."
And finally, some quotes about confidence to inspire you!