Not so long ago, I would have had imposter syndrome writing about imposter syndrome.



I remember, with the bright eyes of youth, drinking wine out of a plastic cup at a department function (no glassware for parties in the academic money mindset!) and asking my head of dept when I would “grow out of imposter syndrome.” He nearly spat his wine out with laughter! 

I don’t remember every single word perfectly, but to paraphrase, he said this: “NEVER. It only gets bigger as you go level. It will be there waiting for you, forever, in every doorway and stairwell. It will be EVERYWHERE. And you will just have to learn to go on, regardless.” 

“Sh*t,” I thought “there’s no way I can cope with that.” 

Yet, here we are. He was right and here we are. 

Imposter syndrome is an issue of collective agreement. We choose to believe that people are giving us their belief in exchange for something and they can just as easily take it away, leaving us feeling like that “naked on the toilet in the middle of a really busy mall” dream. 

Moreover, they ARE giving us their belief for something. But it’s not what we are about to do. 

It’s who we have already BECOME. 

They believe in us for who they already see us to be


If we stay in integrity with that person, we will never truly be an imposter and actually people who know that often, have the worst imposter syndrome of all, because we know things about ourselves that others don’t and WHAT IF THEY FOUND OUT, OMG NO. *run screaming for the hills*   

Think about it, the very idea of an imposter is one of identity, not simply one of skill. In virtually every society on earth identities are not all created equal. To flog the dead horse just a little, we’re all by now very familiar with the idea that the white, cis-male, affluent heterosexual identity is the “standard model” for the western world. What does that mean for imposter syndrome? 

Well, for one thing, because said men are automatically qualified by society, just for being themselves, they’ll apply for any job they’re interested in – even if they only match around 60% of the job description. As women, we will only apply if we feel 100% qualified and even then we’ll feel less confident that we’ll get the job. Why? Because we’re conditioned into the notion that the world isn’t really made for us. It isn’t – just consider the very notion of the 9-5pm, 5 days a week and how it’s matched to the male embodied experience, not the female embodied experience which has variable energy throughout the month due to menstruation.  

Of course, it would be simplistic to think that imposter syndrome runs only along gender lines. The truth is, it’s fantastically intersectional. A white, cis-male, heterosexual man from who grew up in poverty is likely to experience far greater imposter syndrome than one who grew up rich, even if he’s the more qualified of the two. 

Imposter syndrome is definitely correlated with how aware we are that we don’t know everything


The complete beginner may harbour illusions about knowing more than they really do (called the Dunning-Kruger Effect), whilst the more advanced someone gets in a field, the more aware they are of the gaps in their own knowledge. However, there’s more to it than that. Imposter syndrome and Dunning-Kruger’s Effect are also correlated with western culture. It’s been said that is due to Eastern cultures being more oriented around humility. But it simply cannot be a coincidence that it’s deeply related to a cultural path that has literally build upon the world with impunity, based on the notion that “we’re the most valid people, so this stuff belongs to us.”

After that conversation with Jeremy, I tried something. I was so finished with continually being vigilant to hide all the things that were “wrong” about me as an academic, I just started telling people my imposter secrets as though they were my invisible super power. Instead of hiding things and thinking “OMG if people find this out, they’ll know I’m an imposter,” I started openly telling people who I am. We’re talking “Hey dude, nice to meet you. I’m Morgana. I used to be a stripper, before I was an academic” level sharing. 

Even although it fostered immediate conclusions that led people directly to my origins in poverty. Even although it showed people a window, through which they could see my history of trauma, mental health issues and body dysmorphia. Even although they might judge me, I took the secrets I was most afraid people would find out and I told them like they were the most normal things to talk about in the world. 

That’s when I found out that a great many people were so ready to talk back the exact same way


So many people who long for a world where we can be whole whenever and wherever we want. I learned so much about so many people. Somehow, through sharing, I became someone that people told things much to their own surprise. Almost every day for years now, I’ve heard from at least one new contact, “I can’t believe I’m telling you this! I’ve never told anyone.”

People talked to me, as if it was the most normal thing in the world, because it is the most normal thing in the world. Our capacity for communication and our inherent gift for storytelling are what make us human. As Lisa Cohn says, “we’re wired for story.”  We are here to talk and listen to one another, learn from one another and grow through one another’s experiences. That’s why we have mirror neurones – so we can do just that. 

The people who work with me choose me for who I am, not my qualifications. They certainly don’t come to learn fancy stripper moves from 20 years ago, but they realise the imposter inside us can be tamed by stopping trying to strangle her quietly to death and honouring her instead. Getting back into integrity. Being who you really are, instead of operating from the belief that everything you are is wrong, nobody wants what you have and they’re all waiting to be your judge, jury and executioner. 

Sure, stripping might not be one of the most conventional stepping stones to success. But it was MY stepping stone. 

Self-taught? You’re not an imposter if you tell people your amazing experiences – that’s your ROUTE to success

Secretly IT illiterate? You’re not an imposter if you TELL people! If you tell people, you’re actually a savvy outsourcer empowering others to work to see beyond the illusion of a limitation there and that’s fantastic!    

Have three graduate degrees but feel like you’ve never done a day’s “real” work? You’re not an imposter if you TELL people, then you’re an applied theoretician and you make it work for you! 

Previous business was a bust because you were terrified to make money? Not an imposter, if you tell people and share those lessons so you and others don’t make the same mistakes.

We all actually KNOW this, so what stops us?


If someone else handed you your own CV with their name on it, the chances are you’d read it and think “wow, that’s pretty great!” Why is it so hard to see qualification in ourselves?

For most people, it’s shame and the fear of shame. Shame contracts everything about us, mind and body; even when we know what would be good for us, we just can’t take the steps. Where our desires require our expansion, shame is a huge energy of retreat that pulls us back into smallness.

Shame is also a collective agreement. To experience it is to believe yourself to be “outside” the collective and that doesn’t come from nowhere. Let me quickly hasten to add that I’m not implying you did something wrong – shame isn’t about what you did, it’s about what you are. It’s never specific to you, it’s painted with broad brush strokes across society, so that we pick it up by association, just by being near something or someone shameful. The ‘someone’ or ‘something’ is culturally constructed. For example, for a girl to have sex before marriage used to be deemed shameful, now it’s widely considered by young people to be more shameful to be a virgin. Debts are culturally constructed as shameful for the poor, but oddly leveraged heavily by the rich, without question. Everything we call “intersectional” (e.g. BIPOC, LGBTQ+, neurodiverse, disabled, low income experiences to name a few), has shame associated with it because there is difference associated with it, where difference means “not white, cis-male, affluent, heterosexual.” 

And the thing about that feeling of being ‘outside’ the body of the collective is that it’s REALLY hard to just walk back in carrying your shame and continue on like nothing happened. All of this deeply impacts our feelings of worthiness, capacity to show up for our success, and… [dramatic musical interlude] because it’s all unspoken and under the surface, when it finally comes up as “I don’t feel like I’ll be accepted here” we call all of it “imposter syndrome.” 

What can we do?


With the right support we can unburden ourselves of it. See the truth: shame is an artefact of invisible violences committed against us by culture and, internalised as beliefs about ourselves that aren’t founded in who we are as individuals, but in who we are not. That’s never ours to carry: we’re not responsible for who we are not born. With that weight put down and as much of the imposter syndrome with it as we can, we can more forward more powerfully. We can use our strength to create success for ourselves and others like us, through sharing our stories and who we really are. 

Then no more imposter syndrome? Eh… no. It will still be back… 

But next time you meet it, you’ll know it as the way marker. It shows when you’re going the RIGHT way, towards what is meant for you. It shows where you are finding your genius. Where to shine love and light onto the parts of life that need healing for growth to happen. Remember, imposter syndrome is about collective agreement. It’s time you get on your own side and start agreeing you are fully valid, valuable, magical and ready for the next step. Just. The. Way. You. Are. 


Dr. Morgana

Reference: Lisa Cohn; We’re wired for story. 

Dr. Morgana McCabe Allan


There’s always more to LEARN

And here’s just a few starting points…

“I’m sharing a win, I made more money this week in my business than on any other offer last year. And it was so easy. This money river is flowing today! I’m only $700 away from hitting my new monthly goal and it’s only the 2nd of the month!”

Elena Saxton

Coach for Artisans

Morgana McCabe Allan is incredibly wise yet personable, revolutionary yet relational, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to be coached through mindset calls with her. I will be hearing her words in my head for years to come!

Danielle Bettmann

Host of Failing Motherhood Podcast

“I signed my first client!! {…} I showed up on the call fully present, gave her everything I could and I told her I want to offer her a 3 month package where I will honour the free sessions I had posted about within the price point. And she signed up! 🙂 “