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6 Things I Learned About Impostor Complex from Tanya Geisler



“The good news about the Impostor Complex is that if you feel it, you’re doing something big.” – Tanya Geisler

I cheekily Instagram stalked Tanya Geisler before meeting her officially at the Beautiful You Inspiration Day in New York in June, commenting on one of her posts about looking forward to hearing her speak.

Her reply? “I’m a hugger, consider yourself warned.”

I liked her instantly.

I was already familiar with her Tedx talk (check it out here) and, as a result, her presentation on the day, but there were so many juicy lessons in it, I have to share just a few of them with you.

The Impostor Complex is kind of another name for the ego. And it tells us lies, constantly.

Tanya has done the hard work for us, identifying some of the biggest lies and countering them with the truth, as well as developing her own special step-by-step system for working with the Impostor Complex and stepping into your starring role.

She’s amazing. And she’s an awesome hugger.


1.  You have the solutions, but you don’t think you have what it takes

This is the first and, I think, the biggest lie the Impostor Complex tells us. And this lesson is a reminder that everything we need, we have inside us or within our reach. We just have to keep dodging that nagging feeling that we don’t have what it takes in order to keep moving forward and actually find the solutions.

Put down the book, close the shopping cart, unsubscribe. That voice in your head that’s telling you that you have to buy another book, sign up to another course, subscribe to another email, it’s lying to you.

You already have the answers. And constant learning, stretching, and growing is essential but not when it’s coming from a place of not thinking you can do this.

Trust that you’ve got this. Because you do.


2. You can challenge the Impostor Complex with one word


Although it would seem the Impostor Complex is, as Tanya describes it, a ‘travelling companion for life’, you have the ability to question it. Every time that cheeky monkey pipes up to tell you another lie, to try and keep you playing small, to talk you down before you leap into the next level of greatness, you can pause and simply ask yourself, ‘really?’

Try it next time you have a grand idea and instantly begin to doubt or tear it apart.

One question, one word, six letters. Bam!


3. You’re ready enough

Of all the lies, this might be one that I see crippling more introverted souls the most.


It’s not good enough. I’m not ready, I’ll just wait until…


This is probably my favourite quote of the day from Tanya:

“Everything you have been doing your entire life has been leading up to this moment AND no one is truly ready for anything. Do it. You’re ready enough.”

Write that on a post it note and stick it on your desk. Next time you feel reluctant to hit publish, launch or share something, or put yourself out there, remember the words of Lady Geisler and do it trusting that even if you’re not so sure, she believes in you (and I do too).


4. You can be entirely grateful and still want more (preferably in that order)

How does one be a highly evolved human, both grateful and humble for all that they have, while still aspiring to be and do more with their life?

Exactly like this.

Our ego is so black and white about things. We tell ourselves we can’t be spiritual or serve others or help the world AND earn six figures or live in a fancy house. We tell ourselves we’re ‘supposed’ to be grateful in this moment so we shouldn’t want more.

But what if you can have both? Stop and smell the roses and then continue walking down the garden path. Bask in the glory of a big win, and take that with you as you move towards the next one. Help or serve others and feel the joy of your favourite material comforts.

Play a little more in the grey and you will realise that you can have both.


5. Your shine is my shine

This is a direct quote I wrote down during Tanya’s talk but, the proof of her walking her talk was in the toilet line later that day talking about Julie Parker.  Her excitement beamed out of her like sunshine as she said to me, “Is there anything better than seeing a woman living her dream?”

The energy from the Beautiful You Inspiration Day was out of this world, but the joy of one successful woman celebrating another did exactly what Tanya said. It cast a light on all of us.  And the more we celebrate, champion and support each other, the more we all shine.


6. Our message may just choose us

My favourite lesson from Tanya was one of the first things she said when she stood up. She made a joke about how unjust it is that Danielle LaPorte gets to talk about desires all day long while she is stuck talking about the less sexy Impostor Complex.

It was such a fascinating, offhand comment that made me realise that our life’s work may not be entirely in our hands.

That our message or our greatest ability to teach could, in fact, choose us. And with that comes a bit of a love/hate relationship with the message we are meant to share, but also be constantly challenged with.

As Loki says in The Avengers, “I am Loki of Asgard and I am burdened with glorious purpose.”

The reason I’m so passionate about helping introverts is because, at the heart of it, I’ve come up against it my whole life as a lesson I apparently needed to learn in this lifetime. It’s taken 30 years to understand that there is nothing wrong with me and it’s now likely that I will spend the next 30 years empowering others to realise the same thing.

What we most need to learn and what we teach others is so often exactly the same lesson. The burden of glorious purpose indeed (and does anyone else melt when Tom Hiddleston busts out that line? No? Just me then?)


If you’d like to read more about the Impostor Complex, you can find it on Tanya’s website.


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  1. Lisa Reynolds

    Great post – I love the breakdown and simplicity. I think the ‘post it’ reminder on the desk is a great one to whip us back into ‘passion and purpose fuelled’ line too! Thanks 🙂

  2. Chloe | One Infinite Life

    I came back and reread this after our conversation on Monday and so many incredible insights, thank you for sharing. Oh and “You can be entirely grateful and still want more (preferably in that order)” is a total game-changer love it!

    PS. Absolutely love the website changes!

    • Katherine Mackenzie-Smith

      I don’t know how I missed this before! I’m so glad you found it helpful, I loved that quote SO much.

      Thank you xxx


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