116. Rising Above The Imposter Complex: Discovering Your Iconic Identity with Tanya Geisler

A lot of people struggle with what is known as the Imposter Complex (or imposter syndrome as you might know it) —the nagging feeling of not being good enough, doubting your abilities, or fearing you’ll be exposed as a “fraud”.

In this episode we’ll uncover the different types present, the impact it has on our perception of ourselves, our work, and how we can navigate it.

Tanya Geisler is a certified Leadership Coach, in-demand international TEDxWomen speaker, and writer who teaches leaders how to combat their Imposter Complex and lead with ICONIC impact so they can achieve their ultimate goals. Her clients include best-selling authors, heads of industries, MPs, public speakers, leaders, movement makers, entrepreneurs and legendary motivators.

What is the Imposter Complex?

The Imposter Complex consists of behavioral patterns that make us believe we’re not as competent as others perceive us to be. This complex can be several things; it can be perfectionism, people-pleasing, leaky boundaries, diminishment, comparison, and procrastination. In other words, it shows up as behaviors we adopt to avoid feeling like an imposter, but ironically, these behaviors make us feel more like an imposter.

Learn the 7 pieces of a sustainable business

Episode 53

Understanding Different Types of Imposter Complex Behaviors

There are typically six types of behaviors associated with the imposter complex. It is not uncommon for these behaviors to manifest together, and understanding them can help you alleviate feelings related to them:


Perfectionism indicates that we value excellence extraordinarily. For those who struggle with perfectionism, the focus should be on recognizing that valuing doing things excellently is a good trait.


People-pleasers value inclusivity and ensure that everyone feels included in their care. Finding balance and ensuring that people see and acknowledge your abilities and talents is key.

Leaky Boundaries

Those who struggle with boundaries often value generosity. Becoming a healer and ensuring that you put yourself in your circle of care is essential in dealing with this trait.


This behavior is often associated with the value of humility. The person diminishes their achievements and refrains from taking up too much space or appearing self-centered. Shifting perspective and becoming a visionary is crucial for these individuals.


People who often fall into the trap of comparison value connection. You constantly measure yourself against others, but focusing on connections with others instead can help mitigate this behavior.


Lastly, procrastinators often value discernment. They are careful decision-makers, and shifting the mindset into a sage can help them.

The key to dealing with the imposter complex is to recognize that these behaviors are borne out of positive values. Embracing them rather than shying away from them can make a significant difference.

How to Overcome Imposter Complex?

So, where do we start?

Identify Your Iconic Identity

Imposter Complex is linked to your identity, and how you see yourself. You could be a visionary, a CEO, a host, a maven, a sage, or a healer. Identifying your iconic identity is the first step. Check out Tanya’s test to find your identity.

Gather Support

Imposter Complex thrives on isolation. Therefore, one of the greatest steps you can take to navigate this complex is to build a support system. Have individuals around you that understand your journey and are supportive of your progress.

Take Action

One of the main ways the imposter complex paralyzes us is by keeping us from taking action. Therefore, overcoming this complex requires us to stay in action. This means evaluating the objections that stand in your way, eliminating constants that cause you to doubt your capabilities, and ensuring you’re not alone in the journey.

Learn how to use Pinterest to get new clients on autopilot with Kate Wilkinson

Episode 14


Contrary to what you might believe, the Imposter Complex isn’t all bad. Yes, it’s intimidating and often frustrating, but it’s a sign that what you’re doing matters to you. That you care about your work, your clients, your career. While all these traits might seem overwhelming, acknowledging their roots can provide a foundation for establishing a healthier, more productive mindset.

Take a moment to understand that all the experiences, successes, and even failures you’ve faced so far have shaped your journey. Every step you’ve taken has served a purpose and contributed to where you stand today. Embrace the journey, and more importantly, embrace yourself.

What Tanya wants you to know

The Imposter Complex does not need to stop you from leading the way you were intended to lead, and to share your gifts with the world.



Want more?

Ingvild Kolnes is the host of the Sustainable Photography Podcast, an educator for photographers, and is ready to help you with your photography business. 

Sign up for the mindset freebie

Follow me on Instagram

Join the Facebook group

Sustainable Photography
116. Rising Above The Imposter Complex: Discovering Your Iconic Identity with Tanya Geisler

hi, i'm ingvild

This podcast is all about education and inspiration for photographers. A sustainable business is profitable and lasting. Instead of short-term wins you want to make sure you’re doing things that matter. Both to yourself, and to create the business you want. The goal of this podcast is that it will help you build and structure your business around your life, instead of the other way around.

you might also like


131. Do the thing (and focus on what your clients want from you)


130. Setting Sustainable Goals: A Practical Guide for Photographers with Lin Pernille


129. Let’s talk about failures


128. Unlocking the Power of Facebook Ads for Photographers with Elana Schutte.