Do you sometimes feel like a fraud? Like you’re not good enough or that someone will find out that you’re a total fake?
If so, then you may be experiencing imposter syndrome.
The debilitating condition known as imposter syndrome is characterized by self-doubt and a fear of being exposed as incompetent. Unfortunately, imposter syndrome is widespread – especially among high achievers.
But what exactly does imposter syndrome entail? How can you overcome it? Let’s take a look!
WHAT IS IMPOSTER SYNDROME?
Imposter syndrome is a term that was coined in the 1970s by psychologists Suzanne Imes and Pauline Rose Clance. People with imposter syndrome often feel like they are faking it or don’t deserve their success. They may worry incessantly about making mistakes and doubt their abilities.
Imposter syndrome can be very debilitating and lead to anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem. It is pervasive among high achievers, entrepreneurs, executives, professionals, academics, and artists. However, it can affect anyone – regardless of age, gender, or background.
Here’s an example: A successful entrepreneur may feel like she doesn’t have what it takes to run her business and that everyone else around her is more competent than she is. These feelings can lead to anxiety, which affects the quality of her work and relationships with employees and clients. She may also avoid taking risks or trying new things due to fear of failure or embarrassment, which could ultimately limit her growth opportunities and the company itself.
HOW TO IDENTIFY IMPOSTER SYNDROME
It’s important to note that imposter syndrome is not recognized as a diagnosis in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, many people experience the phenomenon—it is not uncommon. Research estimates that 70% of the population will feel imposter syndrome at some point throughout their lives. You are not alone!
If you think you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, check the list below to see if anything applies to you.
- You doubt your accomplishments, even though you have evidence to support them.
- You think everyone else knows something about success that you don’t.
- You feel like a fraud and are afraid people will find out.
- You’re unable to assess your skillset realistically.
- You tend to self-sabotage personal success and criticize your performance.
- You can define yourself as an overachiever or people-pleaser.
HOW TO OVERCOME IMPOSTER SYNDROME
There’s no easy way to overcome impostor syndrome, but there are many things you can do to help yourself. One of the most important is not comparing your success with others’ successes – just focus on what makes YOU happy! Doing so is most certainly easier said than done.
Here are a few tips and tricks to overcome imposter syndrome:
- Seek Outside Support: Talk with a mental health professional, or even a loved one, about what you’re experiencing. When we keep intrusive thoughts of self-doubt to ourselves, they can end up entirely consuming us. Talking about how you’re feeling can help you better process your emotions and create an action plan for overcoming them.
- Stop Judging Yourself: While it may be easier said than done, do your best to stop judging yourself or comparing yourself to others. When interacting with others, focus all your attention on listening. Expressing interest in something outside of yourself can help you get out of your head.
- Question Your Thinking: Whenever a pesky self-sabotaging thought enters your mind, try to stop it in its tracks. Ask yourself, “Why am I thinking this way?” or “Why do I feel like a fraud despite the wealth of knowledge I hold?” Questioning your thinking can take practice, but it can help you better reframe your thoughts and build confidence over time.
Don’t hold yourself back from accomplishing everything you’re capable of! If you’re struggling with feelings of imposter syndrome, reach out today. Let’s get you back on track to feeling like the unique, accomplished person you are.