What Is Impostor Syndrome and How to Get Rid of It?

What is Impostor Syndrome

Do you ever feel like a fraud? Like the people around you are going to find out that you don't really know what you're doing and tell everyone about it? 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.

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 quite successful but believed that their success was not deserved because they were just lucky. 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.

The good news is, if this article post can help just one person realise that they're not alone in feeling insecure, then we'll be happy!

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 to receive the reward and do not see what's wrong with it. Their lack of self-confidence prevents them from receiving any credit for their success.

The second most common cause of low self-confidence is the praise or lack thereof received by your 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 isn'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 that 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: "No, I am the same as everyone else; I just happened to be in the right place at the right time"?

If you have noticed such thoughts and feelings behind yourself, 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. Former USA first lady Michelle Obama felt impostor phenomenon. Many believe, only women suffer from it. But in fact, anyone can experience the imposter phenomenon.

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. Most people with impostor phenomenon feel secret thoughts of high standards success. The syndrome can reduce the confidence of high achieving women. According to behavioural science, impostor phenomenon can be also destructive to successful women and men with natural genius.

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

Such people have a normal level of self-esteem and aspirations; it is easier for them to overcome the impostor syndrome. People with low self-esteem will have to do a lot of serious work to figure out the reasons for the low level of claims and self-esteem.

How to deal with 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. Hardly any of the successful people from the very beginning knew how to act - they become professionals along the way.

The roots of the problem are different for everyone; the treatment, respectively, is the same. In my opinion, the most effective methods for overcoming impostor syndrome are methods from the field of cognitive psychology. Their central idea is awareness of the problem, analysis, and observation of the current situation. Here are some of these methods:

  1. Analyse your success, write down everything that you have done on the way to it, make a list. It is important to realize and prove that success did not come by magic but became a logical continuation of purposeful efforts.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Hire a coach: When you're feeling like a fraud, it can be hard to take on new challenges. But there is help! Get matched with your perfectly suited coach: an expert who will work with what makes sense for YOU and find the best way forward so that nothing gets in the way of success--all while managing impostor syndrome at its roots (and creating plans accordingly). Click here to answer a few questions to see your best suited credible coach 

When you succeed in something new, the feeling that comes with it can be overwhelming. It's important to catch this negative emotion early on so as not get paralysed by defeat before trying your best has even started!

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. If you're tired of the negative self-talk and want a more effective strategy for managing your feelings about what others think of you, then claim your free coach match today with one of our certified coaches. They will help you develop new habits so that every day feels better than the last!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the 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 work?

According to an international journal, it can affect your work in many ways. It can be harmful to your own success and own abilities.

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.

Click here to claim your free instant coach match.

The recommended coach will have a proven track record of success in the areas that we identify you need the most support with.  

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