New to me – Impostor Syndrome

This topic has just been in the news recently because a celebrity admitted she suffered from it. This is a multi faceted syndrome. Points from Wiki:-

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or impostorism) is a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.[1] Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon do not believe they deserve their success or luck.


Psychology Today
People who struggle with imposter syndrome believe that they are undeserving of their achievements and the high esteem in which they are, in fact, generally held. They feel that they aren’t as competent or intelligent as others might think—and that soon enough, people will discover the truth about them. Those with imposter syndrome are often well accomplished; they may hold high office or have numerous academic degrees.

Psychology Today – Why do people with imposter syndrome feel like frauds even though there is abundant evidence of their success? Instead of acknowledging their capabilities as well as their efforts, they often attribute their accomplishments to external or transient causes, such as luck, good timing, or effort that they cannot regularly expend. Whether in the areas of academic achievement or career success, a person can struggle with pressure and personal expectations.

Psychology Today –

What causes imposter syndrome?

Personality traits largely drive imposter syndrome: Those who experience it struggle with self-efficacy, perfectionism, and neuroticism. Competitive environments can also lay the groundwork. For example, many people who go on to develop feelings of impostorism faced intense pressure about academic achievement from their parents in childhood.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

Overcoming imposter syndrome involves changing a person’s mindset about their own abilities. Imposters feel like they don’t belong, so acknowledging their expertise and accomplishments is key, as is reminding themselves that they earned their place in their academic or professional environment.

People should stay focused on measuring their own achievements, instead of comparing themselves to others. Similar to perfectionists, people with impostorism often put a lot of pressure on themselves to complete every task flawlessly; they fear that any mistake will reveal to others that they aren’t good or smart enough for the job.

They perpetuate this excessive pressure because they believe that without the discipline they won’t succeed and, instead of rewarding themselves, they only worry about the next task ahead. This cycle can be hard to break, but part of doing so involves reminders that no one is perfect and that a person can only do their personal best.

Now I am adding links from Jane Travis (therapist) who covers this topic very well from a therapists point of view.

As I said at the beginning Imposter Syndrome is multi faceted. They include :-

  • Fear of putting yourself out there
  • Not good enough
  • Low self esteem
  • Self doubt
  • Feeling a fraud
  • Fear of getting found out
  • Fear of getting into trouble
  • and probably more

The next blog will be about how to handle your imposter syndrome and find ways to overcome it.

As usual if you choose to act on my experiences you must take full responsibility for your own health.


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