Imposter Syndrome: What Can You Do To Overcome It?

Ever feel like you just don’t belong? That the only reason you’re here is because of luck? Don’t worry, thousands of people feel the same way every day. These feelings can be attributed to something called Imposter Syndrome.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome can be loosely defined as “Doubting yourself and feeling like a fraud.” Many people experience Imposter Syndrome when it comes to teaching others, starting a business, or even just in their workspace. According to a review article published in the International Journal of Behavioural Science 70% of people experience at least some form of Imposter Syndrome during their lifetime.

Imposter Syndrome was first discussed in a paper written by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978. Initially, it was thought to only affect women in professional working environments but since has been discovered to affect both genders in many different working classes.

Is Imposter Syndrome a mental illness?

Imposter Syndrome is not recognized as an official mental illness according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, if you suffer from existing mental health conditions such as any form of Anxiety, these can overlap with Imposter Syndrome.

Are you experiencing Imposter Syndrome?

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Common attributes of Imposter Syndrome can include:

  • Doubt in either yourself or your abilities.
  • Attributing success to external factors.
  • Criticizing your performance.
  • Fear of not living up to expectations.
  • Being unable to realistically assess your performance and skills.
  • Overachieving.
  • Damaging your success.
  • Setting goals that are unrealistic and becoming disappointed when you do not achieve these goals.

If you feel that you are doing any or all of these things, don’t worry. There are many ways of overcoming Imposter Syndrome as discussed later in this article.

What causes Imposter Syndrome?

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Many aspects can contribute to Imposter Syndrome, most of which can be traced back to childhood. A lot of people find that they experience Imposter Syndrome if their parents:

  • Pressured them to do well in school.
  • Were overprotective or controlling.
  • Over-emphasized their intelligence.
  • Harshly criticized their mistakes.
  • Compared them to their siblings.

There are of course many other contributors to Imposter Syndrome some of which may include: a sudden and unexpected promotion, falling behind in your grades, or being thrown into an environment where others have more experience than you.

How to overcome Imposter Syndrome:

Take a step back: Stepping back and analysing where you are compared to where you were a year or even a week ago can help to put things into perspective and realize how far you’ve come.

Talk to someone: Sharing your feelings with an important person in your life can be crucial when dealing with feelings of self-doubt. This one is very hard to do for some but I can guarantee you it will be one hundred percent worth it.

Focus on the little things: Make sure you are making yourself feel good about the little things in your life. Every time you finish a task make sure you reward yourself whether it’s with a break, a nice lunch out, or something else.

Please, please, please stop comparing! When you compare yourself to others you are unwillingly being overly critical about your abilities. Just know that if someone is slightly better than you at something it is because they have had more experience in that one thing. This means when you’ve spent the same amount of time working on whatever skill it is, you will be at the same level.

Keep moving forward: Don’t ever stop doing the things you love, make sure you understand the reason you’re doing something, and let that propel you onto the next thing. Keep going and never let any sort of doubtful feelings hold you back from achieving your goals.

Bottom line:

Imposter Syndrome comes down to “Doubting yourself and your abilities and feeling like a fraud.” Unfortunately, 70% of people are estimated to experience feelings associated with Imposter Syndrome within their lifetime. There are however multiple ways of overcoming Imposter Syndrome. If you feel like you might be experiencing Imposter Syndrome remember, where ever you are in your journey don’t let feelings of self-doubt drag you down. Strive to achieve your goals with all you have and never stop doing the things you love.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. I hope you found something useful that you can apply to your daily life. I would appreciate it if you shared this with your friends and family. Also if you feel inclined to do so I would really appreciate it if you subscribed to have new content delivered straight to your inbox.

4 thoughts on “Imposter Syndrome: What Can You Do To Overcome It?

  1. I’ve not experienced imposter syndrome myself but have heard about it through the years so this added information was really interesting and helpful (I know some people who deal with it so this will help me understand them better). Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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