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Imposter Syndrome: The Not-So-Hidden Reason For Your Self-Doubt

Updated: Feb 23

Have you ever thought as though you didn't belong or that everyone would discover that you didn't deserve your accomplishments?

If you identify with those feelings of chronic self-doubt, you have almost certainly dealt with imposter syndrome.

You are not alone; research indicates that approximately 70% of people experience imposter syndrome at some point during their careers.

Imposter syndrome, in general, is caused by a high level of self-doubt. Rather than crediting your success to your abilities, you may downplay it and attribute it to luck.

Imposter Syndrome Symptoms

Are any of these patterns familiar to you?

  • Perfectionism. You may set lofty objectives for yourself. Because perfection is your goal, even the most trivial errors can make you feel like a failure.

  • Assign success to chance. You minimize your success because you believe you do not deserve it or that you are simply fortunate.

  • Incapable of recognizing success. Rather than celebrating your accomplishments, you are concerned that others will discover "the truth" about your abilities and skills.

  • Apprehension of failure. You may set challenging goals out of fear of failure and then be disappointed when those goals fail. Additionally, you may take on limited tasks out of fear of failure.

  • Difficulty soliciting assistance. You may have difficulty asking for help because you believe that doing so will demonstrate that you are unskilled or unqualified.

Imposter syndrome can make you fearful of pursuing new opportunities because you believe you do not deserve them. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to begin giving yourself more credit and overcoming your self-doubt.

Imposter Syndrome: How to Overcome It

1. Recognize imposter feelings.

Recognize when you begin to feel as if you are an imposter. Rather than engaging with your self-doubt thoughts, acknowledge that they are a natural response.

2. Recognize the source of the problem.

  • Why do you believe that you are unwelcome?

  • Is it a fear of failure that motivates you?

  • Do you think that you are unworthy of success?

3. Concentrate on facts rather than emotions.

When you begin to feel like an imposter, focus on the positive. For instance, you may have been selected for a job interview based on your qualifications.

4. Determine whether the thought is serving you or detrimental to you.

  • Is feeling fraudulent beneficial or harmful to you?

  • Is that the type of person you wish to be?