What Is Generating Your Imposter Syndrome?

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Ever feel like you’re faking it? Does it seem to you that you have made surprising progress? Have you wondered why they promoted you into a leadership role despite having flaws?

These feelings are normal and once we understand what is behind them, we can begin to quiet that negative mind chatter. One of the key sources of this negative mind chatter is also one of the most amazing things about you – your superpower.

If you are in a leadership role, you have an amazing superpower; in fact, you probably have more than one. They noticed your leadership potential because of this superpower, and it is what led to your promotion. It is what your organization loves about you. Some common superpowers include having a high orientation towards results, being amazingly analytical, wonderfully visionary, having a keen ability to find gaps and potential problems, and being an incredible listener.

Don’t miss this intriguing
webinar from HRDQ-U

Don’t miss this intriguing webinar from HRDQ-U

Avoiding the Hulk Effect: Knowing When Your Superpower Has Become Destructive to Your Team and Career

When stress occurs, your fight-or-flight response amplifies your superpower. At this point, it becomes Hulk-worthy destructive. You don’t mean any harm, but there it is, becoming too much for the situation. Your intensity rises, and with that superpower comes judgment. It frustrates you, and you get impatient. You don’t understand why others can’t do what comes so easy for you. People pick up on your frustrations and feel that you are judging them as less – less dedicated, less concerned, less capable, less intelligent.

It’s not intentional. In a leadership position, you don’t want people to perceive you that way. You want them to see you as a caring, understanding, and patient leader who coaches rather than dominates, and as someone who is reasonable instead of harsh.

The glaring contradiction between your core values and the realities of what you just created creates a gap between how you want to be perceived. This then leads to guilt and shame. And, this guilt and shame undermines your self-esteem and confidence, which leads to imposter syndrome, second guessing, replaying past mistakes, trying harder to be perfect, and other forms of self-doubt.

leadership self-esteem graph

This can become a vicious cycle – unless you can uncover the behaviors, beliefs, and fears at the core. However, this is not easy because your sub-conscious doesn’t want you to know what those are. It thinks these behaviors, beliefs and fears are there to keep you safe. It thinks these are things that will make you successful.

Your superpowers are connected to those behaviors, beliefs, and fears, and they have kept you safe. They have made your successful. But they have also derailed your self-esteem and confidence when they have become too strong.

Stopping this negative cycle can start with uncovering your superpower. This requires:

  1. Finding your Superpower and understanding the wonderful advantages it brings to your team and company.
  2. Understanding the type of destruction your superpower creates.
  3. Uncovering the fears that trigger your superpower.


These three steps are what we are going to cover in my webinar, Avoiding the Hulk Effect: Knowing When Your Superpower Has Become Destructive to Your Team and Career. Join me to uncover your superpower and a key to those self-sabotaging beliefs that undermine your leadership.

Headshot of Carlann Fergusson
Carlann Fergusson

Carlann Fergusson is an executive coach, behavioral change expert, and owner of Propel Forward LLC. Her guidance is based on coaching, training, and selecting hundreds of executives across diverse companies, and her own journey through the executive ranks. Carlann is also honored to influence future executives as an adjunct instructor for Northwestern University’s Leadership Program, where she received Northwestern’s School of Professional Studies Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award. Her book, The Insightful Leader: Find Your Leadership Superpowers, Crush Limiting Beliefs, and Abolish Self-Sabotaging Behaviors, received endorsements from Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times #1 Best-Selling Author, and Jack Stahl, former CEO of Revlon, and The Coca-Cola Company.

Carlann has been a featured guest on ABC News Radio, Wharton Business Radio, The Mel Robbins Show, and iHeart Radio. Carlann resides in Orlando, Florida with her husband, who works for Disney. They shamelessly lure their children and grandchildren into family visits with free park tickets.

Connect with Carlann on LinkedIn.

Recommended Webinar
Avoiding the Hulk Effect: Knowing When Your Superpower Has Become Destructive to Your Team and Career

Discover your leadership superpower and how to harness it for incredible results, and learn how to stop it from becoming a source of destruction.

What Is Generating Your Imposter Syndrome?
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