Updated: Jun 22, 2021
Impostor syndrome describes feelings of severe inadequacy and self-doubt that can leave people fearing that they will be exposed as a “fraud” usually in their work lives. It is an internal belief that you are not as competent as people perceive you to be and you are getting through by a stroke of luck. It is a constant fear of exposure, isolation and rejection.
Who can experience it?
The term Impostor Syndrome was first used by psychologists Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose, who first discovered it to be most common in high achieving women. However, men are also susceptible to experiencing this mindset. It is estimated that 70% of people will experience this phenomenon once in their lifetime. It is most common in high achievers and and career driven professionals who are aiming high. The higher you climb up the ladder, the more likely you could experience feelings of impostor. It is common when going through a career change especially with a new environment and new people around you.
What triggers it?
It can be triggered by feelings of self-doubt, and fears of failure, fear of success, self-sabotage or comparing yourself to others. Perfectionism can play a high role in it, one might believe that there is the perfect script for conversations and they are afraid to say the wrong thing and therefore put off sharing ideas.
How do you know if you are experiencing impostor syndrome?
You feel like a fraud and believe you are going be found out. This is common when starting a new job.
It's difficult to accept praise and acknowledge successes in your current role, focusing only on negative feedback.
You overwork or over prepare to ensure nobody finds you out as a fraud.
Failure isn't an option. This could also mean not asking for relevant training course or an opportunity to up-skill in case that might have a negative perception from others.
You are feeling dis-organised and procrastinating on your priorities.
Operating in your comfort zone and avoiding areas where you require more focus in order to succeed in your current position.
You are holding back on proposing ideas for fear of making a mistake.
You have a lack of healthy boundaries, not able to say no to extra workload, people pleasing tendencies resulting in a poor work/life balance.
Do you relate to feeling like an impostor?
Do you feel inadequate in your work, and is it causing great stress, and keeping you awake at night?
Do you need clarity and guidance to take the pressure off?
I help growth minded professionals overwhelmed with feelings of impostor or feeling stuck in their career, to become courageous, resilient and innovative leaders. Right now, I am launching my 6 week group coaching program in mid-July. There is only 3 spaces left. If you would like to join us, you can book a clarity interview here. This is a series of questions in a safe and confidential space. It will give you clarity and a taste of coaching with me. There is no pressure to sign up. I would love to meet you and find out what is going on in your work and life.