Imposter syndrome: What is it and how do you overcome it?

Imposter syndrome: What is it and how do you overcome it?

Do you ever feel like you don’t know what you’re doing whilst everyone around you does? Or do you worry that your boss is suddenly going to realise that you are totally unqualified for your job? Unfortunately, these unjustified feelings of inadequacy are very common… so much so that it’s now recognised as ‘imposter syndrome’. In this blog, we’ll be looking at what imposter syndrome is and how to overcome imposter syndrome for good.

What is imposter syndrome?

Feeling like you are a fraud or don’t deserve to be where you are is often part of what’s called ‘imposter syndrome’, which is far more common than you might think. Even highly skilled people who have a job with a lot of responsibility can sometimes feel like they don’t belong. However, when this takes up a significant part of your emotional energy, it can become very draining and stressful.

There are many ways that imposter syndrome can manifest itself. Some of the most recognised factors that might be identified in an imposter syndrome test relate to how you behave at work. For example, you might display perfectionism or find yourself over-committing to work to try and avoid being exposed. Other behaviours might include procrastination or avoidance, which can be a coping mechanism to justify why things might go wrong.

Why do people experience it?

Having feelings of self-doubt is quite normal. However, if you spend large portions of your time feeling like you are about to be caught out and exposed as a fraud, then you may well be suffering from imposter syndrom. As the University of Tasmania, clinical psychologist Kimberley Norris explains, imposter syndrome itself isn’t a diagnosable mental illness, but the feelings associated with it are often linked to conditions like anxiety and depression.

How imposter syndrome can affect your work

If you are starting a new job, imposter syndrome might be a real worry. Even if you are well established in your career, imposter syndrome can still have a noticeable impact on your behaviour. For example, it might mean you lack the self-confidence to apply for promotions or seek pay rises. In addition, suffering from imposter syndrome may make it harder for you to feel comfortable challenging others who perform poorly or do not pull their weight.

Even if you run your own business, feeling like a fraud can really hamper how well you market yourself. It might cause you to under-charge because you are worried that what you are offering is inferior to your competitors. Having imposter syndrome can contribute to high levels of stress, burnout, or other mental health issues in the long term.

Who is likely to experience imposter syndrome?

Almost everyone has feelings of insecurity from time to time. Imposter syndrome can affect anyone, but it is quite common in positions with high levels of responsibility. It can also manifest more for people in creative careers where success is entirely subjective. So if you’re wondering how to conquer imposter syndrome, the good news is there are ways that you can overcome it.

  • Record your successes regularly, as this can help reassure you that you are meeting goals and performing well.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Regularly write down your good qualities and the reasons you have got as far as you have.
  • Seek support from a psychologist or therapist if you are worried that you might have deep-rooted anxiety or other mental health condition.

By following these simple tips, you can conquer imposter syndrome for good and meet your full potential.