Imposter Syndrome In CEOs

February 19, 2024

Discover how imposter syndrome affects CEOs and learn a practical 3-step framework to overcome it. Explore strategies for raising awareness, finding counter-evidence, and fostering accountability to break free from self-doubt. Enhance emotional resilience with supplementary methods like meditation, therapy, and peer support. Start your journey to confidence and success today.

What Is Imposter Syndrome In CEOs?

Every CEO, exec, musician, or artist I’ve coached experienced varying degrees of imposter syndrome. No matter what outward success looks like, it is a human condition that connects us all.

Imposter syndrome in CEOs is an experience where you are inadequate for the current situation despite evidence of success. At its core, it is a false experience where you feel fear from an earlier version of you. You can feel anxiety, fear, frustration, despair, nervousness, and so on. These feelings can be overwhelming and lead to sabotaging actions.

If you feel nervous, you may completely disregard your expertise in marketing. You hold back at a meeting with marketing execs even when you have a valid point to contribute.

If you feel anxious, you may take on more of your direct reports’ work to prove that you’re valuable, causing you to feel overworked and under-appreciated.

If you feel despair, you may take smaller risks and set more achievable goals. Therefore missing out on big opportunities.

How To Move Past Imposter Syndrome

Here is my 3-step framework to move past imposter syndrome in CEOs.


It can be empowering to recognize an experience as imposter syndrome rather than just the feelings you’re experiencing. Once you get there, you can get granular about the feelings that you’re experiencing and the limiting beliefs that are driving them.

Let’s take the example of:

  • Feeling - I feel nervous and inadequate.
  • Limiting Belief - I don’t have marketing expertise so I don’t know how to give feedback to the marketing team. People will see right through me.

Now that you’ve gained awareness, you can move on the the next step.

Finding counter-evidence

The second step is to find counter-evidence of the limiting belief. Grab a piece of paper and draw a line in the middle.

On the left side, write down your limiting belief.

On the right side, start listing counter-evidence in your life that makes the statement false.

For example, you may write:

  • I managed the marketing function when the company was smaller. I know all the foundational pieces.
  • I think the funnel can be improved by XYZ.
  • The last time I gave feedback, people found it insightful.

Writing down counter-evidence will start to produce different types of feelings in your body. When those feelings appear, become aware of them. You’re now ready for step 3.


Once you have counter-evidence of the limiting belief, you may start to feel more confident while still feeling a little bit nervous. It’s normal to feel a mixed ball of emotions. Even so, you are ready to write down an action and keep yourself accountable.

Repeated action is the only way to combat your imposter syndrome once and for all. Your brain has seen counter-evidence, and now you can show yourself you will follow through.

Following the same example, you may write down an action such as…

  • I will deliver my feedback about the marketing funnel next Tuesday at 10 am at the marketing meeting.

You can ask a friend to keep you accountable. It is important that you review how you feel after completing the action.

If you follow these 3 steps again and again, you will self-coach to get out of the imposter syndrome cycle.

Other things may help with imposter syndrome, and you are welcome to try them out to see what works for you.

  • Meditation
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as “tapping”
  • Exercise
  • Therapy or coaching will work directly with your imposter syndrome
  • Finding a peer group


Imposter syndrome is a common experience characterized by feelings of inadequacy despite evidence of success. It can lead to self-sabotaging actions and is experienced by individuals across all fields. Overcoming imposter syndrome involves a three-step framework: awareness of the feelings and limiting beliefs, finding counter-evidence to these beliefs, and holding oneself accountable for actions that combat these beliefs. Other methods such as improving emotional resilience through meditation, EFT, exercise, therapy, or coaching can also be beneficial.

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About Sabrina Wang

Sabrina is the CEO of Evergrowth Coaching for extraordinary leaders of Series A to Unicorn companies. She has quickly grown Evergrowth to over $500K ARR in sales in under 6 months of conception. Evergrowth partners with CEOs, founders, and C-suite execs of best-in-class tech companies. Her clients include CEOs and co-founders of Wayflyer, Synchron, Opswerks, Code States, Tread.io, Tribe, RevenueCat, and more. Sabrina has also coached partners of YC Continuity, General Catalyst, Left Lane Capital, and Innovation Endeavors.

Before starting Evergrowth, Sabrina was the Head of Coaching at Mochary Method, started by Matt Mochary (top CEO coach for Reddit, OpenAI, Coinbase....). She hired, trained, and managed a team that sold 0 to 3m ARR in under a year. Sabrina is well-versed in the engineering, product, and design side of building a tech company. At Headspace for Work, she worked in product management building B2B SaaS products that reached 1 million users.

Sabrina is driven by her mission to help people achieve high performance and find greater impact. Her coaching is heavily influenced by her mindfulness meditation journey, studying Reiki, energy work, and other spiritual modalities.

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