What is Impostor Syndrome

Do you feel like you're not worthy of your success?

Do you think it's nothing more than luck and that, one day, people will realise how mediocre you are?

Welcome to Impostor Syndrome.

It's a phenomenon where high achievers struggle with feelings of not being good enough-- even though they have the credentials and achievements to prove otherwise. It can be called fraud syndrome. Many people experience impostor syndrome, it's estimated to be at least 70% of the population has, so you're not alone!

The term "Impostor Syndrome" was coined by clinical psychologists Drs. Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978 . They noticed this psychological phenomenon in women who were successful believed that their success was purely down to luck. For a long time, it was believed that this syndrome is inherent only in women, but later in the 90s, signs of the syndrome were noticed in men. Modern research suggests that there is no gender difference in the manifestation of this syndrome when they experience impostor feelings.

Impostor Syndrome is extremely common, yet rarely discussed. That’s not surprising; it’s difficult to tell; occasionally serves us well; and above all, it affects those who fear being found out, so why would anyone draw attention to it?

What Causes Impostor Syndrome?

A craving for perfectionism can cause this syndromeSuch people always strive to do something at the highest level; just a good result is unacceptable for them. They are very critical and tend to compare themselves with others who are more successful and knowledgeable. Therefore, their expectations are very high.

When perfectionists succeed, they cannot consider themselves worthy of their success. Their lack of self-confidence prevents them from receiving any credit for their success.

Another common cause of Imposter Syndrome is the praise or lack thereof received by their parents. If you never felt like your achievements weren't recognised, this could lead to a belief that you're not good enough at what you do and will always be an imperfect version of yourself no matter how hard you try. On the flip side, if you received too much praise, you might know that the praise wasn't really deserved. It's then easy for our mindsets to slip into self-defeating patterns where we don't believe what others say about us.

The causes of such self-doubt vary from person to person but there is no one single cause. Our life experience, beliefs, attitudes, perceptions of other people, and your ideas about yourself are all causes. Therefore, the causes of impostor syndrome are unique in each case. Many internal and external factors are behind it.

Symptoms of the Syndrome

Does it happen when you are congratulated and praised for the successes to which you have worked hard, and you feel a sense of emptiness inside you?

The feeling that these praises are not deserved were you just lucky, and anyone else could easily achieve the same?

Do you ever have a fear that at any moment you may be beaten, and all your achievements will collapse, and your reputation will crumble like a house of cards?

Is your response to praise to say: "I just happened to be in the right place at the right time"?

If you have noticed such thoughts and feelings surface, you may be prone to impostor syndrome. And it is worth figuring out how to cope with these feelings, stop blaming yourself and prevent negative thought patterns.

It is important to understand that the syndrome can turn into much bigger issues if not dealt with early. In the most severe cases of the manifestation of this syndrome, a person experiences a strong sense of anxiety due to the fear of being revealed. The syndrome can reduce the confidence of high achieving people.

The "impostor" is afraid to act and cannot continue to move on, take on new tasks. The feeling of anxiety forces them to abandon higher goals, as there is an even greater fear of not being able to cope.

How To Overcome Impostor Syndrome?

Many famous people have admitted to the impostor syndrome, for example, science fiction writer Neil Gaiman and famous actress Emma Watson. If you start asking the people around you if they have experienced similar feelings at least once, you will find that almost everyone has encountered similar ones.

The roots of the problem are different for everyone; the treatment, respectively, is similar. Their central idea is awareness of the problem, analysis, and observation of the current situation.

Here are some of these methods:

Analyse your success:  Write down everything that you have done on the way to it, make a list. It is important to realise and prove that success did not come by magic but became a logical continuation of purposeful efforts.

Listen carefully to yourself: Do you feel fear of the greater responsibility that lies ahead for success? Perhaps you consider yourself incompetent to win another award, an excellent mark, just because it will bring more responsibility into your life?

Accept new challenges: Keep walking - it will always seem to you that you know less than you should, but this is the essence of personal development. We need to make, admit, and correct mistakes. This is the process of personal learning.

Don't dismiss the praise. Learn to accept gratitude and compliments, sincere support of loved ones will help you quickly believe that you are really worthy of success, that you are valuable.

Speak to a coach: Coaches are trained in human behaviour change, they will work to understand your belief systems, values and purpose so you can shift those negative beliefs that are holding you back and replace them with empowering ones.

We all feel like imposters at some point in our lives. The feeling of not being good enough or qualified to be where we are is common for many people, but it doesn’t have to stay that way forever.

Imposter Syndrome Coaching: The Successful Person's Gain

For many people, just being in a room with other successful people can bring on feelings of Imposter Syndrome. This is often something that plagues business owners, leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives because they feel as if their success doesn't compare to those around them. For many, the solution to finally put an end to this toxic mindset has been found in coaching.

Imposter Syndrome Coaching 

Imposter Syndrome is a powerful, manipulative and pernicious disorder. It has an impact on work performance and self-esteem. You need to put your self-worth and feelings of success at the forefront - you will thank your future self for it. Coaching can assist clients who wish to explore and remove these negative beliefs and feelings of loneliness, go from feeling isolated to feeling empowered and confident, and be clear on the super strengths they possess.

How Coaching Benefits You

One of the many benefits of coaching is building self-worth. As a result, you can create realistic goals and address any non-productive internal dialogue. We also examine the ways in which your experiences have shaped who you are in an effort to move towards an authentic self.

Final Note..

This cognitive bias can lead to stalled success and insecurity, as you strive for perfection. With the use of the aforementioned coaching methods, you can debunk this destructive mindset and increase your confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is imposter syndrome a mental illness?

Imposter syndrome is not recognised as an official disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and it isn't a psychiatric diagnosis. Imposter syndrome is a pattern of self-doubt that can lead to anxiety, stress and missed opportunities.

How does it affect my work?

When they are unable to meet their high standards, imposters often feel exhausted, burdened by the task, and see themselves as failures. A cycle thus emerges in the workplace that causes imposters to refuse positive feedback, creating an even larger gap between expectations and reality.

Does it need a diagnosis?

It isn't a diagnosis or a medical problem but rather a pattern of thinking that can lead to self-doubt, negative self-talk and missed opportunities. A credible coach can help you to gain clarity on the underlying issues and reframe your thinking so you never feel like an imposter again.

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