Imposter Syndrome – you are not alone

Imposter Syndrome – that feeling that you are a fraud, that you don’t deserve your success, and that any minute now you are going to be found out – is a subject that lies close to my heart. Delivering presentations and workshops on this topic is one of the most rewarding parts of my work. It is wonderful to see the nodding heads and knowing smiles of those in the audience who are only too familiar with the term, and to witness the wide-eyed and open-mouthed expression of surprise from those who have suffered the feelings but had never heard the term before.

“Wait, you mean this is actually a thing? It’s actually a syndrome?”

How great it feels to know you are not alone!

Every Imposter Syndrome experience is unique

What I love about presenting on Imposter Syndrome is how unique and different every experience is. For a start, who I am is different. I am and always will be on an Imposter Syndrome journey – my relationship with those feelings growing and evolving all the time. So every time I tell the story of how I have suffered from Imposter Syndrome my whole life and of how it has gone from being a weakness to being my strength, it is as if I am telling it for the first time. My audience, too, are different each time. Each member, as a result of their own life experience, brings a unique perspective to the question “What is your experience of Imposter Syndrome and how is it holding you back?”. I learn something new every time.

How do you overcome Imposter Syndrome?

How do you overcome Imposter Syndrome? There is no shortage of advice presenting solutions to this problem, ranging from “fake it ‘til you make it” all the way to “just focus on your breathing”. I think I have tried them all! But while these solutions provided some relief, the effect was always temporary. The next time I had to walk into an important meeting, lead a big project or was presented with a golden opportunity for advancing my career, there it was again – that inner voice that told me I was a fraud, that my successes to date had been sheer luck, that this time for sure I was going to be found out. Faking it and breathing weren’t enough for me. I needed something more. I needed something transformational.

How do you overcome Imposter Syndrome? Following years of self reflection, I finally came to realise that I’d been looking for the answer to this question in all the wrong places. The answer wasn’t out there – beyond me. It was here – within me. I didn’t need to overcome Imposter Syndrome. I needed to own it. When I found a way to do that, everything changed.

How to own your Imposter Syndrome

In my presentations and workshops I show my audience how to own their Imposter Syndrome so they are never held hostage by self doubt again. I share the powerful technique I have created for transforming their Imposter Syndrome from a pain source into a power source. That technique is The Gladiator Speech and it is taking the world by storm.

What is a Gladiator Speech?

A Gladiator Speech is a powerful statement of intention that builds resilience, inspires courage, nurtures authenticity, boosts motivation and ignites a sense of purpose. It is inspired by the movie Gladiator, by Brene Brown’s powerful book “Daring Greatly” and by my brother, Calvin Heath, who embodies the power of both.

Gladiator the movie tells the story of a Roman General called Maximus. After being betrayed, stripped of everything he cared for, and left for dead, he is imprisoned as a slave and made to fight as a gladiator for the entertainment of the Emperor and people of Rome. There is a powerful moment in the movie when he comes face to face with his nemesis Commodus, Emperor of Rome, and obliterates the Emperor’s power with these words:

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

The Gladiator Speech – it’s the way you say it

But it isn’t just his words, it’s the way he says them – his slow deliberate movements, his unflinching eye contact and the cocktail of confidence and emotion in his voice. Click on the link below to watch closely and see:

“My name is Gladiator”

imposter syndrome and the gladiator speech

As a slave, Maximus is in a position of weakness. He is vulnerable and powerless. And yet through his actions, his honesty and his courage he wins the respect, loyalty and admiration of those around him, and so turns the wheel of fortune in his favour.  He is the quintessential leader, the irrefutable master of his own fate.

The power of a Gladiator Speech

How does he do it? How does he overcome obstacle after obstacle, setback after setback? How does he find the motivation to keep going when all seems lost and when his goal seems so utterly beyond his reach? How does he stay true to his values in a valueless world of cheats, betrayal, abuse and treachery? And from where does he find the courage to pursue such a bold, audacious goal, one with so little likelihood of success?

The answer to all of these questions can be found in his Gladiator Speech: Resilience, Motivation, Courage, Authenticity, Purpose. Watch the Gladiator Speech again. You will find all of these here.

If you stood up and delivered your own Gladiator Speech, what would it sound and look like? How would it make you feel? How would it change you?


Coming soon: How do create your Gladiator Speech


To book Caroline Flanagan as a speaker on Imposter Syndrome and The Gladiator Speech, contact her directly on +44 (0)7585 971 519