How to Free Yourself from Imposter Syndrome

Enzan Azari
|
June 6, 2024

“It’s only a matter of time before my company fires me. I’m not as good at this job as they think I am.”

“As soon as we spend more time together, she’s going to see that she deserves better and discard me accordingly.”

“I have no business being at this party. I’m not interesting, attractive, or funny enough to captivate anyone. Why was I even invited?”

If thoughts like these sound familiar, it’s likely you’re one of the MILLIONS that experience imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome (IS) is the feeling that you’re fooling everyone around you into believing that you are more worthy, competent, or valuable than you actually are.

People with IS essentially believe they are frauds living a fake life. That the version of themselves the world sees and the version that actually exists are two completely separate people.

They are tortured by the fear that it’s only a matter of time until the house of cards  violently comes crashing down and they are exposed for the liar, fraud, and failure they ultimately are.

What makes imposter syndrome noteworthy is that it affects everyone, regardless of the amount of objective success they’ve achieved.

If anything, the more you achieve, the more likely it is you’ll feel like an imposter.

Because the higher you are, the harder you’ll fall. Especially if you aren’t supposed to be up that high.

Right now, there are millionaires struggling with the belief that they know what they’re doing.

Professional athletes who have routinely been deemed world class..

Mental health professionals with a deep understanding of human psychology..

Ivy league students and graduates with the most prestigious of titles..

They all share this experience. So the root can’t be externally validated.

Imposter syndrome is a stressful reality to experience and manage. 

Imagine believing you aren’t good enough while simultaneously managing the elaborate charade required to navigate your way into the upper echelons of education, employment, entertainment, and entrepreneurship.

Kind of ridiculous when put into perspective, huh?

As a man who recently entered his third decade of life, I am no stranger to imposter syndrome and have reflected on my experiences enough to want to help anyone reading this avoid any unnecessary suffering.

So here’s a story to accomplish just that.

The date was April 4th, 2022…

I was preparing my outfits for a Dallas weekend experience that I was somehow talked myself into paying for & attending.

For housing, I split an extravagant AirBnB (there was literally a tv installed in the bathroom mirror for context) with a bunch of strangers from a men’s community I entered about four months prior (The Affluent Standard, if curious).

I took the Friday and Monday surrounding the event off of work to give myself time to prepare and rest.

There was an entire itinerary planned involving a penthouse party, networking seminars, a branding photo shoot, and a section at one of the best nightclubs in Dallas.

My plan was to wear a black suit at the penthouse party (John Wick vibes), a grey suit for the seminars, and a sweater and slacks combo with some Chelsea boots for the club.

The community prided itself on its members dedication to the pursuit of excellence physically, financially, spiritually, emotionally, and socially.

And as excited as I was about the weekend of luxury ahead, I was by no means a man in excellence in any of those domains.

In fact, I was probably average to below average in all of them.

Come Friday night, I walked into the lobby of the condominium as the receptionist called the room to let the host know I had arrived.

After an elevator trip up to the top floor, I entered the penthouse and immediately felt it.

I had no business being in this room.

The guys there all did interesting work as successful entrepreneurs, creatives, freelancers, and working professionals…

I remember hearing someone say that $15k/month was small-town money.

The women were all successful and established as well as intimidatingly beautiful.

The penthouse itself was beautiful and had an AMAZING view over the city of Dallas… 

(I mean the rent was apparently $13k/month from what I heard)

Nighttime view of Dallas skyline with glowing lights and contemporary buildings.
Dallas Penthouse View

Looking back, it might’ve been impossible for me at the time to feel anything other than out of place. Like an imposter. 

No matter how hard I tried to rationalize my insecurities and make the thoughts go away, I found myself thinking…

“Once these people know how lame I am, the gap between where I am and where they are in life will be exposed and highlighted as I’m thrown back in my lane.”

I eventually secluded myself upstairs on the balcony and saw a couple other guys up there.

We talked about the work we did, how we joined the group, our values, and over the course of the conversation, that feeling of being an imposter mysteriously vanished.

That feeling of being out of place and the pressure to perform was something we all felt.

We were just too in our own heads to notice it wasn’t just us going through it.

It took me almost two years to be able to articulate what it was that dealt with my imposter syndrome, and I believe it all came down to this insight…

If you know who you are, it is impossible to feel like an imposter.

The more I shared about myself and the kind of person I would like to be, the less out of place I felt. And the more connected to others I became because every emotion I conquered soon became a tool for connection.

We often give other people so much power in determining our value. We conflate our competence level with our worth as human beings.

That if our performance isn’t good enough, then we don’t belong unless people decide that we do.

As if our existence needed to be justified to people we barely know.

Once we are HONEST about who those people are in our lives, we can then reverse-engineer how and why they’ve been given that power.

It was this awareness and insight that little by little broke the cycle I was trapped in and ultimately led to my identity strengthening.

Needless to say, I met many great friends that day. Men that I would soon grow to consider brothers.

A group picture of men in suits standing in front of a pool, with a mansion behind them.
Atlanta Standard Experience

Now in January 2024, I am working with many of the brothers I met that day to plan upscale socials in the Florida region.

And to become a man of excellence in all of the ways that matter.

Overcoming how I felt in that penthouse and using it as a vehicle of self-discovery has allowed me to maintain congruence whether I’m working with high-schoolers or high-performers.

Whether I’m navigating rooftop bars, supercar garages, or mansion parties.

I know who I am and what I contribute to the spaces I enter. And it’s that level of clarity that erases imposter syndrome.

Key Points

  • Imposter syndrome is the belief that you aren’t competent, qualified, or valuable enough to justify your position in a space.
  • Imposter syndrome affects all of us. Especially ambitious high performers because the perceived stakes of not being good enough are heightened. Kind of a “bigger you are, harder you fall" scenario.
  • My experience in the penthouse taught me that the issue with imposter syndrome wasn’t about how valuable I actually am. It was the power I gave others in deciding that for me.
  • Once we are honest with ourselves about who holds power over our value and why we gave it to them, we can then use that awareness to break the cycle and move forward with a sense of congruence regardless of the space we are in.

Thanks for reading!

Enzan Azari

P.S. I am wrapping up the final pieces of a coaching offer soon to help people with issues like imposter syndrome, self-doubt, etc. I’ve overcome many emotional hurdles and want to help others do the same. Some people spend decades of their lives before they receive the insight to break the cycles they perpetuate. Stay tuned!

Written By
Enzan Azari
Who Is Enzan Azari? Simply put, a performance coach for high performers interested in reclaiming their emotions and attention in a world designed to exploit them. With slices of success in education, employment, and entrepreneurship, Enzan is an educator at heart and an entrepreneur in spirit with current ambitions to become a licensed psychotherapist.