Updated: Sep 16
Imposter Syndrome: Why You May Feel Like a Fraud
Imposter syndrome is that uncomfortable feeling you experience when you think you're unqualified and incompetent. You might look around and assume everyone knows what they're doing except you. And if you achieve something good, you'll chalk your accomplishments up to “good luck.”
It’s normal to feel out of place or doubt yourself occasionally. But if you have these feelings most of the time, you may be experiencing imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome refers to long-lasting feelings of unworthiness that don’t match up with the facts or others’ perceptions. The key feature of imposter syndrome is a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.
- 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 & achievements
− missed opportunities − reduced productivity − - - low self-esteem - − burnout − loss of confidence - − social isolation - depression - − anxiety
In a Relationship
Keith just started a new job. Everyone was impressed by his application, but Keith agonizes over whether he can meet their expectations. He berates himself for any mistake, real or perceived, discounting anything he does well. He’s terrified he’ll be exposed as an incompetent fraud.
After several unsatisfying relationships, Roberta found someone who feels like a perfect fit. But she’s plagued by feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. Roberta goes out of her way to hide her imperfections. She’s convinced her partner will one day discover her flaws and leave her.
* toxic or hostile environment * experiencing discrimination or bias * first in family to take on a specific role * low self-esteem or self-defeating thoughts * achievement-oriented childhood * defining success based on job role * perfectionist tendencies * high need for external validation
Imposter syndrome is common in high-achieving individuals.
Women & underrepresented groups are more likely to experience imposter syndrome.
Around 70% of people have suffered from imposter syndrome at some point.