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  • Writer's pictureDrew Kellough

What is Imposter Syndrome and Can You Fix It?

Around 70% of people have experienced Imposter Syndrome at some point
What is Imposter Syndrome?

It's totally normal to feel out of place or doubt yourself sometimes. Thoughts that you don't deserve an opportunity or that you aren't capable of something are experiences that most people have. But if you find yourself feeling like this most of the time, or about most experiences in your life, you may be dealing with Imposter Syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome refers to long-lasting or consistent recurrent thoughts of unworthiness that don't match up with facts or others' perceptions. The most notable factor with Imposter Syndrome is a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.

You may experience these traits if you have Imposter Syndrome:

  • Having unrealistically high standards

  • Dreading being "found out" as a fraud

  • Hiding deficits rather than addressing them

  • Consistently feeling out of place or unworthy

  • Dwelling on negative feedback while ignoring praise and achievements

The Consequences?

  • Missed opportunities

  • Low self-esteem

  • Loss of confidence

  • Depression

  • Reduced productivity

  • Burnout

  • Social isolation

  • Anxiety

Examples of Imposter Syndrome:

Jonathan just started at his new job. Leadership was impressed by his resume, but Jonathan laments over whether he will be able to live up to their expectations of him. He berates himself over every mistake, whether real or perceived, ignoring anything that he does well. Jonathan is terrified that he'll be exposed as an incompetent fraud.

Val has had several unsatisfying relationships in the past, but finally feels like they have found the right fit. However, they feel overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. Instead of communicating, Val goes out of their way to hide the imperfections. They are terrified their partner will one day find out their flaws and leave them.

The following risk factors tend to increase the chance of Imposter Syndrome:

  • You experience a toxic or hostile environment

  • You are the first in your family to take on a specific role

  • You experienced an achievement-oriented childhood

  • You have perfectionist tendencies

  • You have experienced discrimination or bias

  • You have low self-esteem or self-defeating thoughts

  • You define success based on a job/role

  • You have a high need for external validation

The Silver Lining: You're Not Alone!

  1. Imposter Syndrome is common among high-achieving individuals

  2. Women and underrepresented groups are more likely to experience Imposter Syndrome

  3. Around 70% of people have experienced Imposter Syndrome at some point

You can manage Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome can have a significant impact on your well-being. It can affect your overall self-perception, it can impact your relationships, and impact your work life. The good news is, you can get guidance on how to manage Imposter Syndrome. If you would like to begin counseling services to focus on managing Imposter Syndrome, contact me through the form below.


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