Kim Avery Coaching

Impostor Syndrome: Stop Believing the Lie

by | 8 comments

Ring! Ring! I gulped it was time for the inquiry call. Not just any inquiry call, mind you, but a call with Michelle Weber*. “The” Michelle Weber.  ”Why would she be thinking about hiring me?”

Reviewing Michelle’s website was like reading the “Who’s Who” of the coaching world. Frequently quoted in Forbes Magazine, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post, as well as appearing regularly on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC, Michelle was riding the crest of an amazing career.

I picked up the phone and squeaked, “Hello. This is Kim Avery. Is this Michelle?”

Michelle responded. Quickly. Confidently. Eager to move ahead.

But I was not.


A maelstrom of self-doubt swirled in my head. Who was I to work with Michelle? What could I possibly offer her? Why in the world was she calling me? What if she discovered who I really was?

Impostor syndrome. That pesky, ever-present monster lurking in my miry depths, had reared its ugly head. Again.

Impostor Syndrome

What is impostor syndrome?

Identified by two American psychologists, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, they describe it as a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” Seemingly successful on the outside, these motivated, talented people live in fear of being exposed as frauds.

Over 70% of people will experience at least one episode of impostor syndrome in their lives [Gravois, 2007]. Frankly, I think that number is closer to 95%.

This is serious stuff.

While some nervousness is natural in any new situation, the consequences of believing the impostor syndrome’s lies are huge, especially for the Christian coach. That gnawing voice of self-doubt can lead to paralyzing fear, the inability to move forward, poor coaching, and worst of all, perpetually playing small in the game of life.

When the impostor taunts, “You are not enough; you don’t have enough, know enough, and can’t do enough to serve this person well,” we hold back, withdraw, and hide.

Not surprisingly, God’s Word says something different.

God’s Truth


God created, called, and equipped me to serve others.

I don’t have to be enough. He is.


Let’s examine each critical piece of God’s truth…

God created, called, and equipped me to serve others.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

It’s about God’s abilities, not yours or mine.


God created, called, and equipped me to serve others.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere;
but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is.

I Corinthians 12:6-7

God has already uniquely created, called, and equipped you and me. He has prepared good works (for example, a particular coaching relationship) for us to walk in.


God created, called, and equipped me to serve others.

 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.
Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others.
Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

Galatians 6:4-5, MSG

God had put this person in my path, so He wanted to use me. Not someone else. I was not to compare but obey.


God created, called, and equipped me to serve others.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others,
as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

I Peter 4: 10 NIV

It’s not about me. I exist to serve.

Living it Out

Which brings me back to Michelle. As her words slowly began to seep through the cacophony of self-accusation in my head, I began to hear a person. A real person who, along with her amazing accomplishments, had real needs. Her own insecurities. Challenges that were holding her back.

In that moment, I clearly saw my choice. I could continue to make that inquiry call all about me. My insecurities. My lack. My anxiety about not measuring-up. Or I could believe God’s truth. It didn’t matter whether I “felt” it to be true or not. It was true. I could lean into it, trust it, and act on it. I could listen, coach, and serve.

With God’s help, that what I decided to do.

I got a new client that day. And Lord willing, Michelle, got what she needed as well.

It’s Your Turn

How about you? In what ways is the impostor syndrome holding you back?

Will you join me today in believing and acting on God’s truth, not the impostor syndrome’s lies?


God created, called, and equipped me to serve others.

It’s about God abilities, not mine.

Give lavishly. Love deeply. Live boldly.


*Name has been changed


  1. Anthony Cull

    Oh yes I deal with this all the time with my clients and lots of people in the Photography Industry and its normally attaches its self to unsustainable product offerings and charges. Am I truly good enough to charge these rates to clients? Am I going to get clients?

    Being new to the industry its such a easy thing to pick up especially if you have people going… Are you going to get a real job? Oh X there is no real demand around here for that. And internally your screaming. What should I include? What do I leave out? People don’t want to know the real me (Which is a Lie).. This is also a good reason to have a Coach.

    The human brain at times is so silly in the way it picks something up and marks it as truth when it clearly isn’t. Just we never test it.

    I do appreciate that you took the time to link it back to the book that matters. We should use our talents and find ways to build apon them and not be afraid and hide them.

    Matthew 25:20,21
    And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

    • Kim Avery

      Hi Anthony, Love those verses in Matthew. May God give us the grace and courage we need to be faithful and faith-filled! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Linda Williams

    Oh my goodness Kim… this is so timely! I read it while have breakfast with Jesus in a lovely restaurant and served by the most gracious people as I embark on the four-day CCEF conference here in Chattanooga this year!

    The imposter syndrome shows up way too often in my life paralyzing me and keeping me stuck. Pointing me back to Scriptures was the perfect reminder Jesus wanted me hear, remember act on.

    I am encouraged, energized and equipped to do all that He is calling me to! 😃 Thanks for being His voice of Truth and reason for me this morning!!!

    • Kim Avery

      Thanks, Linda. I hope you have an amazing time at the conference.

  3. Pam

    Ty Kim! This was a very encouraging post for me, especially as a new coach!

    • Kim Avery

      You are so welcome, Pam. As a new coach, I hope you can jump right in with God-filled confidence.

  4. Carolyn Dunn

    Named changed? Good grief! I was looking her up on google.
    Terrific post Kim. The word of God is the only vaccination for Imposter Syndrome.

    • Kim Avery

      Hi Carolyn, Too funny. And I love that analogy with the word of God being our only vaccination. Thanks for that.


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