Corey Wilks, Psy.D.

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Imposter Syndrome: Why You Feel Like a Fraud

Imposter Syndrome, fundamentally, is when you feel like you don’t belong in the room.

Because when you have the audacity to put yourself and your ideas out there, it feels like you’ve crashed a masquerade ball.

You’re wearing your masque, desperately hoping no one recognizes you weren’t invited and don’t belong.

People—clearly thinking you belong in the room like them—keep coming up to you and talking to you like an…equal? And they want to know what you think about…things?

Surely, you’ll say something to tip them off, your masque will fall off, or any number of other pitfalls will clue them to your fraud.

As the music plays, they all seem to dance in sync—swaying with a rhythm you can’t quite keep up with. You’re just a peasant playing pretend amongst real royalty.

It feels like a fever dream—like Alice, you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and plopped right into a surreal world.

And everyone is about to find out you’re a fraud any minute…

Because you don’t belong in the room.

There are many rooms you don’t belong in, but today, we’re going to talk about the two most common rooms you don’t belong in…

•••

The First Room You Don’t Belong In

The first door leads to a room full of people who inspire you.

Your favorite writers, entrepreneurs, creators, whoever—this room is full of people you’ve looked up to for years.

There’s no way you belong in this room—because what have you done to inspire others?

You bring down the average awesomeness of the room just by entering it.

Please, don’t enter this room, because you don’t belong.

If you enter it, you’ll be an imposter—just like a few other people who’ve crashed the party.

Here’s what I mean…

Danny Miranda is an imposter.

Danny Miranda wearing a mask symbolizing imposter syndrome

Danny Miranda is most known as a podcaster.

Danny isn’t a celebrity or business mogul. He’s not even in his 30’s.

Yet, he had the audacity to start a podcast.

For the longest time, he didn’t even have a proper podcast studio set up—he just interviewed people through Zoom.

Why would anyone give him the time of day to listen to his show, let alone agree to be a guest on it?

Important people only want to talk to important people. And Danny just isn’t important enough yet. Otherwise, he’d have millions of followers and revenue, right?

Since he doesn’t, he clearly doesn’t deserve important people’s attention or time.

It doesn’t matter that he obsesses over being the best interviewer possible.

It doesn’t matter that he does insane amounts of research for every episode.

It doesn’t matter that he deeply wants to give value to the world through having deep conversations with inspirational people all over the world.

Some people might say he’s attracting the very people who inspire him because inspirational people are attracted to inspirational people. And Danny’s inspirational af.

But what do those people know?

I mean, he’s only had people like Alex Hormozi, Andy Frisella, Sam Parr, and Sahil Bloom on his podcast because he’s so inspirational and dedicated to his craft…

Come on, Danny, you don’t belong in the room.

Lex Fridman is an imposter.

Lex Fridman wearing a mask symbolizing imposter syndrome

Lex Fridman hosts one of the most popular podcasts today.

But he’s just a robotics and AI expert. He has no business entering a room filled with people who inspire him and are real thought leaders.

But he’s somehow amassed millions of subscribers for his podcast where he…explores his curiosity, connects through compassion, and tries to spread love???

He should stay in the lab where he belongs. No one cares what he thinks, especially when he strays away from his area of expertise.

He’s just a research scientist for MIT. He has no business being a podcaster.

Why would people like them ever want to give a robotics expert with a microphone the time of day?

It doesn’t matter that he has an incredible talent for deep, analytical thinking.

It doesn’t matter that he genuinely wants to understand what it means to be human.

It doesn’t matter that he has a profound humility and desire to connect that instantly makes people feel heard and psychologically safe.

Some people might say world-changers are attracted to authentic generosity, deep compassion, and genuine human connection, which is why Lex is the perfect person to do what he’s doing.

But what do those people know?

He’s only had some of the most influential people in the world like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Joe Rogan on his show to discuss deeply human topics that help us feel connected to each other and understand what it means to be human.

Come on, Lex, you don’t belong in this room.

Let’s say you heed my warning and don’t enter this room—congratulations! No one wants you here because you don’t belong.

But there’s a second room you don’t belong in either…

•••

The Second Room You Don’t Belong In

The second door leads to a room full of new territory.

You’ve never been here and have no idea what you’re doing in this room.

Everything is new and you’re just bumbling through the crowd.

You should leave and just stick to what you already know.

After all, being new also means you’re going to absolutely suck for a long time.

Probably best if you just stick with what you’re already kind of good at—no point venturing into all this new territory.

Otherwise, everyone will know you’re a fraud.

Just like these party crashers…

Ali Abdaal is an imposter.

Ali Abdaal wearing a mask symbolizing imposter syndrome

If only Ali Abdaal would’ve listened before he decided to enter this room and write a book.

Silly Ali. Arrogant Ali. Downright entitled Ali.

Who is he to write a book? He’s never written a book before—it’s new territory for him. He should just stick to YouTube.

And how dare he write a book about productivity.

He’s only been studying productivity for years.

He’s only attracted an audience of a few million people interested in productivity.

He’s only somehow used productivity principles to grow a business and YouTube channel to millions of subscribers and revenue while also working through medical school and as a physician…

Who is he to write this book?

An imposter, that’s who…

He should just stick with what he already knows and never venture into new territory.

It doesn’t matter that he’s passionate about helping people lead happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives.

It doesn’t matter that he’s spent years learning everything he can, experimenting, and refining the best concepts related to productivity.

It doesn’t matter that if he doesn’t write this book, no one else has his specific insights, passion, and trust with his audience.

How dare he even try.

Some people might say he’s the perfect person to write a book on productivity, because he’s living proof of the transformative power “feel good productivity” can have on your life.

But what do they know?

Come on, Ali, you don’t belong in this room.

Leila Hormozi is an imposter.

Leila Hormozi wearing a mask symbolizing imposter syndrome

A couple of years ago, Leila Hormozi decided to start creating content on business topics.

She’d never created much content before, so it was new territory.

She isn’t super feminine and her voice isn’t high-pitched, which people might expect in her content. And her personality isn’t super agreeable, so she could put people off.

And I mean, she’s a woman who wants to create content talking about business? Psshh. Nobody wants that. Everyone knows business content should only come from bros.

It doesn’t matter that she’s the co-founder and CEO of acquisition.com, a holding company that generates $85M in yearly revenue across a variety of industries.

It doesn’t matter that she’s founded and scaled companies to $120M+ in cumulative sales across four different industries.

It doesn’t matter that she’s passionate about advancing equal access to education and encouraging entrepreneurship in underprivileged communities.

Up until a few years ago, she’d never made content.

She should just stick to running businesses instead of teaching others how to start, run, and scale a business.

Some people might say Leila’s the perfect person to talk about business because she isn’t trying to be a vapid influencer who spouts motivational platitudes but is genuinely passionate about making business skills accessible to people and deeply wants to inspire a generation of women (and men) to pursue entrepreneurship through lessons she’s learned the hard way building highly valuable (and lucrative) businesses.

But what do they know?

Come on, Leila, you don’t belong in this room.

Please, don’t be like Ali or Leila. Don’t enter this room—they don’t belong in it, and neither do you.

Unless…

Well…

There’s something I need to tell you…

•••

Here’s the Secret

If you enter either of these rooms, you will feel like an imposter.

Danny’s an imposter because he punches way above his weight class with the quality of guests he gets on his show.

Lex’s an imposter because he’s “just” a research scientist who decided he wanted to explore what it means to be human through a long-form podcast.

Ali’s an imposter because he’s never written a book before.

Leila’s an imposter because she’s a woman kicking ass in business and inspiring a generation of men and women entrepreneurs through her content.

I’m an imposter because I grew up on food stamps, have no business background, and just sit around thinking of ideas and sharing them on the internet. Yet, I do deep dives into psychology, online business, and content creation. And for some reason, you’ve decided the ideas I share are worth your most precious resource—your time.

But allow me to let you in on a little secret of this grand masquerade you’ve found yourself in…

Image of cheshire cat saying "We're all imposters here."

None of us knows what the hell we’re doing.

We’re all terrified and we’re all winging it.

Yet here we are, day in and day out, in these rooms where it feels like we don’t belong.

Because we’ve realized…

These are the only rooms where we can make the world a better place.

These are the only rooms where we can explore our growth edges.

These are the only rooms where we can reach our potential.

We belong in the room.

And so do you.

So join us.


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