Imposter syndrome – the psychological phenomena that doesn’t allow you to own your successes and forces you to believe that you have succeeded only due to luck and not your talent, qualification, and hard work – is real and it’s harmfully affecting a lot of people worldwide.
In fact, an article in the International Journal of Behavioral Science has highlighted that an estimated 70% of people are affected by syndrome at different stages in their life, including Albert Einstein, Meryl Streep, Serena Williams and even ME! Yes, you read that right. Imposter syndrome is inter-linked with self-doubt and fear of failing. It involves a constant fear of alienation, rejection, and exposure. It usually strikes at moments such as: starting a new job or a business, receiving an accolade, and getting additional responsibility.
It can be extremely dangerous because it can lower your self-confidence, making you believe that you are not worthy and that you don’t deserve success. (Of course, success as defined by YOU and no one else!) What’s worse is that it can have a snowball effect that impacts your entire life. It can have you revising your goals and becoming less ambitious if the imposter syndrome cycle continues over extended periods of time. This, in turn, holds you back from reaching your true potential and prevents you from living a life in fulfillment.
Perfectionists often experience imposter syndrome. They set very high goals and then feel guilt, or sometimes shame when they tirelessly work hard to make progress against them. Then, they don’t get the satisfaction from what they DO achieve and thus are not content. Constantly chasing after something and missing just being present in the moment. Constantly thinking about their next goal.
For others the syndrome shows up through fearing judgment and being haunted by the feeling of being labelled as individuals who are just not good enough. People with imposter syndrome fight a constant battle against themselves. Even though they push and drain themselves, again not satisfied with the end result, it further makes matters worse for them and often leads to low self-esteem. This vicious cycle is a constant part of their life.
These are cases on the more extreme end of the syndrome and the impact can be felt a varying degrees, individual to each person.
The best part is that there are effective and efficient solutions to overcome imposter syndrome. A quick approach is:
- Understanding and accepting your feelings
- Talking to others about it, and
- Embracing your strengths as well as weaknesses
I look forward to exploring imposter syndrome this month to bring awareness and hopefully some healing to this issue.
More to come!