meet your expectations

Do You Struggle To Meet Your Expectations?

If you’re reading this, I’m willing to bet you are constantly striving to meet your expectations. The ones you set and are in control of. And the ones that drive you crazy.

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about impostor syndrome. That’s when you don’t believe you’re as good as you say you are or that other people think you are.

You feel like an impostor.

Here’s the good news: So do 70% of us! You are not alone.

Did you know that 80% of your

  • self-talk—that chatter that goes on constantly in your head—is negative
  • thoughts are criticizing you, calling you names, labeling you an impostor
  • thoughts are telling you that you will never meet your expectations

What’s a body to do?

First, recognize you are not alone. Impostor syndrome is very common, even among big name stars. See what Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lopez, and others say in this article from Marie Claire.


meet your expectations
Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. Photo: NASA

Author Neil Gaiman relates an anecdote that even the first man to walk on the moon gets impostor syndrome. Talk about meeting high expectations! (I couldn’t resist.)

Do you set the bar too high to meet your expectations?

Psychology Today offers a more clinical look at impostor syndrome than Marie Claire. Are you really a fraud or are you an overachiever?

“Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg drew a cultural spotlight to the term (impostor syndrome) with the publication of her 2011 bestseller, Lean In, in which she admits to having felt like a phony as a student at Harvard and then in the corporate world.”

Is Sheryl Sandberg an impostor? What do you think?

Before giving you expert advice on how to deal with impostor syndrome, I’d like to share this column that presents the positive side of things. Mike Cannon-Brookes posted this on his blog.

“By this time in my life, I knew I was an imposter. And I knew how to use that feeling. I couldn’t get out, but didn’t let myself be paralyzed. Understanding my own impostor syndrome motivated me to turn my fear of looking like an idiot into a force for good.”


meet high expectations
In Steven Spielberg’s movie “Catch Me If You Can,” Leo DiCaprio played Frank Abagnale, an impostor extraordinaire. Photo: Dreamworks.

Not sure you suffer from impostor syndrome? Do you meet your expectations or do you set the bar too low? Here’s advice from psychotherapist and author Amy Morin, published on Forbes.

“Studies consistently show people with impostor syndrome worry they won’t be able to meet other people’s expectations. People who feel like impostors likely exaggerate how much is expected from them and underestimate their ability to perform. “

Author and coach Melody Wilding has solid ideas about dealing with impostor syndrome on her blog Unstuck. Does the example below sound like you?

“Yet nearly every day she (Mandi) goes to battle with her inner critic, the voice in her head that says she’s not good enough or smart enough. She worries that someday soon she’ll finally be exposed as unqualified for her job. In an attempt to control her fear, she’ll stay up all night perfecting projects before submitting them.”

When you finish the blog, definitely check out the app Unstuck. Really good advice, and the app is fun and easy to use.

meet high expectations
The wonderful Lucy Van Pelt from Peanuts by Charles Schulz. See more at

Let me meet your expectations with these tips

Kyle Eschenroeder starts off his blog on 21 tips for imposter syndrome with this:

“I’m a fraud and everyone is about to find out. I feel that every time I am about to share something. I feel that right now writing this: I don’t even have impostor syndrome. That’s how bad my impostor syndrome is. I even think I’m faking that. “

I really like his tone, his humor, and his suggestions. Maybe they will help you.

Finally, since I’m not a psychologist, I turned to Psychology Today for more help on impostor syndrome. Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D., writes about the three types of impostor syndrome, why we have it (“Thanks, Mom!”), and offers nine suggestions for combatting impostor syndrome.

I really like tip #6: “It’s OK to not know what you’re doing.” I often feel like that.

Feature photo by Daniel Burka on Unsplash

For exercises to deal with your inner critic, click here.

© Pamela A. Scott,, 2017

Thanks to all the authors, photographers, and publishers above for sharing their work. I have attempted to honor your copyright.

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