The term “imposter syndrome” refers to a psychological phenomenon where successful people aren’t able to enjoy their success, because they view themselves as an imposter. Those with imposter syndrome typically think of themselves as an undeserving fraud, or as someone who just got “lucky” and didn’t actually earn their success. Due to low self-esteem, their self-image doesn’t align with the praise and external validation they receive.
The people who suffer with imposter syndrome tend to be high-achieving, successful individuals who feel unfit for the leadership role they’re in, unworthy of their high social standing, or undeserving of their accomplishments. These individuals often doubt their own expertise, even if they’re viewed by society as an expert. They often have an impressive list of achievements, but low self-confidence.The people who suffer with imposter syndrome tend to be high-achieving, successful individuals who feel unfit for the leadership role they’re in, unworthy of their high social standing, or undeserving of their accomplishments. Click To Tweet
Why is it such a problem to have imposter syndrome? It’s popular belief that imposter syndrome can be very detrimental to your success. I want you to imagine that your success is represented by a beautiful, lush garden. If you don’t believe that you deserve the garden of success that you’ve grown, you’ll be less likely to water your garden, and more likely to let it die.
A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science found that about 70 percent of the population has experienced imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. Successful men and women suffer with imposter syndrome all over the globe.
The term was coined in 1978 by two clinical psychologists, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes. They found that despite having external evidence of success and accomplishments, many people were unable to internalize their achievements. These people remained convinced that they don’t deserve the success they achieved.
The initial research focused on high-achieving women. However, since that initial research, studies have found that men also experience imposter syndrome, at almost the same rates as women.
Imposter syndrome is not a true psychiatric disorder, but rather a psychological phenomenon that happens when people’s internal beliefs about themselves don’t match the external recognition they are getting.
Imposter syndrome can arise only during a particular time period of your life. A time period of high achievement, for example. What’s more likely, however, is that it’ll be an ongoing pattern that follows you for years. Whenever it shows up, it limits not only your ability to capitalize on your success but also your ability to feel pride in the work you have done and enjoy your success.
Thoughts Commonly Associated With Imposter Syndrome
I don’t deserve the level of respect I’m being given. They have no idea how inept I really am.
I can’t let myself enjoy this success, because I didn’t really earn it.
I’ve tricked everyone into thinking I’m something that I’m not.
I’m such an idiot thinking I could handle this – who do I think I am?
What if they find out I’m a fraud?
I’m not an expert and I’m not brilliant. I just got lucky.
Any day now they’re going to realize that I don’t deserve to be here.
I won’t be able to keep this up for very long. I’m not cut out for this.
If any of the above thoughts sound familiar, you probably have a case of imposter syndrome. You’re not alone – many people struggle with this syndrome. Even people who have reached the highest level of power and success, can find themselves battling these internal demons of self-doubt.
The term “imposter syndrome” describes a range of self-limiting thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. A person with imposter syndrome often thinks things like: “I didn’t earn this,” “I just got lucky”, and “It’s only a matter of time before people will catch on to the fact that I’m unsuitable for this position.”
Those who feel like imposters sometimes dismiss their success as the result of good timing or a stroke of luck. Or, they might give all the credit to others. They’ll believe that it was colleagues or other supporters who propelled them to their position.
Maybe you’re thinking that these thoughts are normal, and that it’s not a big deal to think or feel this way about yourself sometimes. But this is not a trivial matter. Imposter syndrome can hold you back from going after your dreams, doing your best work and advancing in your career. It can prevent you from having the confidence to take risks, and becoming the most successful version of yourself.
Who Has Imposter Syndrome, and Why?
People who suffer with imposter syndrome tend to be people who suffer with low self-esteem, and an ingrained sense of inadequacy. People who suffer with anxiety and depression are more prone to it. Imposter syndrome is often experienced by people whose low perception of themselves does not align with the high level of success they’ve achieved. Regardless of external evidence of success (such as awards or accolades) or objective facts that prove they are successful, their inner voice tells them they are an undeserving fraud.Imposter syndrome is often experienced by people whose low perception of themselves does not align with the high level of success they’ve achieved. Click To Tweet
If your self-concept is that you are unworthy, then you won’t be able to make sense of these accomplishments. You will feel the need to find some way to dismiss them or cut yourself back down to size. Now you not only feel bad about yourself, but you also feel guilty and fearful about getting success that you believe is unearned.
Imposter syndrome is also common in people who have a fear of success. The idea of being successful makes them uncomfortable. Being afraid of achieving success is much more common than you might think.
How Imposter Syndrome Affects Your Life
Negative thoughts about yourself, such as believing that you are an imposter, will negatively affect your life. There’s no doubt about that. Every single day, those with imposter syndrome will deal with very unpleasant and difficult emotions.
The fear of being found out or exposed as a fraud can permeate every day of your life, creating a persistent anxiety. This persistent, daily anxiety is very difficult to live with. As you can imagine, it greatly detracts from your ability to focus on your work and reach a higher potential. Imposter feelings are toxic.
The thoughts associated with imposter syndrome will also hinder your ability to feel pride in your work, or feel joy about your accomplishments. You’ll live with constant feelings of shame, self-loathing, self-doubt, anxiety, and sadness.
Imposter syndrome can also result in feelings of loneliness. If you believe you are hiding your true self, because your true self is someone who doesn’t feel deserving of their position, do you know what happens? You’ll start to feel like no one really knows the real you, or sees you. That could make you feel very alone. It could even make you start alienating yourself.
The burden of imposter syndrome can also lead to burn out. Psychologist Dr. Audrey Ervin notes how those experiencing imposter syndrome can attempt to overcompensate for their insecurities by working themselves even harder, which can lead to exhaustion and ultimately be counterproductive. She explains, “Imposter syndrome is damaging to people’s careers and relationships. It can lead to burn out when people over produce to prove themselves.”
Living with this condition could lead you to failure, because it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Imposter Syndrome Can Become a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
A self-fulfilling prophecy is the psychological phenomenon of someone believing, predicting, or expecting something, and it therefore comes true. In other words, many people who believe they will fail, do fail.
Those who have imposter syndrome have negative beliefs that come true simply because when you believe you are an imposter, your resulting behaviors act in accordance with those beliefs. You therefore act in a way that fulfills those beliefs. Your beliefs about yourself and your capabilities really do affect your actions.
Psychologist Dr. Audrey Ervin notes explains how those who don’t feel worthy of their position, often sabotage it or turn down opportunities. She explains, “People may miss opportunities because they do not feel worthy or capable, despite being quite competent.”
Examples of Imposter Syndrome
You might be wondering what imposter syndrome looks like, so I’m going to give you some examples.
Imagine a successful relationship coach with millions of followers and lots of clients, who feels like a fraud because she herself is terrible at dating and can’t make a relationship last. Perhaps she has accomplished a lot, including online notoriety and the fact that she’s helped save lots of relationships. Should she really feel like a fraud, simply because she herself has had some bad luck in love? The answer is no. She shouldn’t feel like a fraud. She should feel like a success.
Next, I’d like you to picture a successful psychologist with his own busy practice and a wait-list of patients who want to book a therapy session. He feels like a fraud because he himself suffers with depression and mental illness. He feels that he should be on the couch, instead of in the chair. Whenever he sits in that chair and counsels his patients, he feels undeserving of his position. He also feels unsuitable for his position.
Now, what about the successful writer, who wrote about the right topic at the right time, went viral, and feels like she just got lucky? Suddenly, everyone wants to hire her to write articles, because she went viral. Meanwhile, she feels undeserving of her newfound success, and attributes it that one stroke of luck – that one viral article.
Finally, imagine the successful entrepreneur who found a gap in the marketplace and pounced on it. He developed an innovative product that filled that gap. Business is booming, but he just feels it was a stroke of luck. He attributes his success to fluke or chance, instead of to his own creativity and skills.
Now that we’ve discussed what imposter syndrome is, let’s discuss some specific reasons why you might have this condition. Below are 10 reasons why you might be experiencing imposter syndrome:
1. Low Self-Esteem is The Leading Cause of Imposter Syndrome
It’s clear that the negative thoughts brought about by imposter syndrome reinforce themselves in a negative cycle. But how did you develop these negative thoughts in the first place? Did low self-esteem make you more vulnerable to imposter syndrome than others? Research has shown that self-doubt is the leading cause of imposter syndrome.
In other words, the people most at risk for developing imposter syndrome are those who have a negative self-concept or low self-esteem. This means that deep down you believe you are not good enough. You have negative belief patterns regarding yourself and your own potential.
You believe that you are not smart enough, talented enough, or hard-working enough. If these are your core beliefs, it is no surprise that when you get that promotion or land that high-ticket client, you mentally reject it.
Those of you with low-self esteem will push away or minimize anything that isn’t congruent with your inferior self-concept. If you think lowly of yourself, you will try cut yourself down – even as you rise. You will be suspicious when you are praised, and try to convince others not to give you credit. If you make it to a position of power, you will feel like a fake and a fraud.
Where does low self-esteem come from? Why are others around you seemingly full of confidence and healthy pride, while you can never seem to believe in yourself or take pride in your work?
Our self-concept – the way we see ourselves and who we believe we are deep down – is formed by multiple different factors. Experiences in childhood and adolescence can shape how we see ourselves as adults. How we were acknowledged and encouraged by our parents, teachers, friends, coaches, and peers has molded our sense of self in ways we may not even be fully aware of or remember.
Some personality types find it easier to accept praise and own their accomplishments more than others. However, what do you think influences imposter syndrome at work? You may have been heavily influenced by previous bosses or work environments that were unsupportive, toxic, or never gave positive feedback.
You might have a positive and healthy self-esteem in other areas of your life, but not when it comes to business or work. Why does this happen? Perhaps you had a boss that never valued you. He or she didn’t seem to recognize your contributions. You may have worked in an environment that didn’t encourage you to grow or meet your potential. Or you may have had coworkers who cut you down in a ruthlessly competitive field. If you were fired by a previous employer, you may have developed feelings of worthlessness.
2. It’s Common to Experience it During Times of Achievement
Did you know that there are certain times in your life when imposter syndrome is more likely to arise? Yes, it’s true that imposter syndrome tends to surface whenever we achieve something great. It seems to arise whenever really good things happen to us.Yes, it’s true that imposter syndrome tends to surface whenever we achieve something great. Click To Tweet
Do you remember a time when you achieved something incredible, but didn’t feel as happy as you thought you would? Perhaps you got a promotion, landed a huge new client, or surpassed a sales target. While your colleagues, clients or friends were praising you and congratulating you, you found yourself experience an unexpected, sinking feeling. You started thinking that you don’t deserve this, that it will all come crashing down, and you’ll be exposed as the failure you really are.
Nothing rains on your parade more than a case of imposter syndrome. It’s devastating when your greatest victory is the moment when your inner critic decides to scream the loudest.It’s devastating when your greatest victory is the moment when your inner critic decides to scream the loudest. Click To Tweet
A positive change such as an exciting opportunity can trigger imposter syndrome. It can also be set off by a change in role with more responsibilities, more pay, and more respect.
The feeling of being a fraud can arise when you gain recognition. Or, when you enter a role that positions you as an ‘expert’. You’re expected you to know all the answers, and everyone views you as an expert. But what happens if you don’t view yourself that way?
The imposter feelings can also show up during times of competitiveness. If you are in a very competitive environment, where you are comparing yourself to others and feeling pressure to be the best, it’s common to feel self-doubt. Or, maybe you won the competition, but you don’t know if you deserved to win. Perhaps you landed the promotion, but view those below you as people who should actually be above you.
3. Trailblazers Often Experience Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome can also show up in people who are trailblazing in some capacity. What do I mean by trailblazing? I’m referring to individuals who are achieving a level of success far beyond what their family or peers have reached. A level of success far beyond what any of their close friends or family members would have expected. This can spark the thought of, Who do I think I am?
Trailblazers blaze a trail that wasn’t there. To do this, they have to take risks and silence the inner voice that tells them they cannot do this. Often, the reason why the trail wasn’t there, is because they have a family history of poverty, or no successful peers to mentor them. If they achieved success despite all of this, they have surpassed the expectations others had of them. At that point, they may feel uncomfortable on their throne, as though they don’t belong at the top.
4. When You’re a Perfectionist Who Never Feels Good Enough
Pauline Clance, one of the female psychologists who coined the term, believes that impostor syndrome and perfectionism often go hand in hand. Clance explains that so-called impostors think every task they tackle has to be done perfectly. Perfectionism can lead to procrastination. Why? Because you’ll put off an assignment out of fear that you can’t meet the high standards of your client. The anxiety about doing it perfectly only makes you procrastinate longer and longer. Being a perfectionist can also cause you to over-research and over-prepare. What happens then? You spend much more time on a task than is necessary. This becomes a problem when your desire to make everything “perfect” causes you to miss deadlines. It might be perfect when you deliver it, but you might have also pissed off your client. Most of your clients would probably agree that done is better than perfect.
Suzanne Imes, the other female psychologist who coined the term, agrees that being a perfectionist is often seen in those with imposter syndrome. Living in fear of being discovered as a fraud, people with impostor syndrome bend over backwards and torture themselves, to do a project perfectly. When they succeed, they begin to believe all that unnecessary effort paid off. Imes explains, “Unconsciously, they think their successes must be due to that self-torture.”
Those with imposter syndrome attribute their success to other factors, because their self-esteem is too low to take credit for their own success. Perfectionists, for example, attribute their success to the many hours spent perfecting their work. They don’t believe that they have raw talent. Instead, they believe in their ability to work extra-hard to perfect something.
5. How You Were Raised Has an Influence
How you were raised can influence your likelihood to develop imposter syndrome. Clinical psychologist Suzanne Imes says, “Many people who feel like impostors grew up in families that placed a big emphasis on achievement. In particular, parents who send mixed messages — alternating between over-praise and criticism — can increase the risk of future fraudulent feelings. Societal pressures only add to the problem.”
Imes explains that your self-worth becomes contingent on achievements if you were raised this way.
6. Your Birth Order Impacts Your Chances of Experiencing the Imposter Phenomenon
Your birth order can also impact your chances of having this experience. Renee Carr, a psychologist, told NBC News: “Impostor syndrome is often observed in first-born children who are expected to perform or behave in a certain way, or to be an example for younger siblings. First-borns who are pressured or punished for ‘not knowing’ can experience, during adulthood, guilt and self-blame for not achieving immediate success, greater success or for ‘not knowing’ how to avoid mistakes. They develop beliefs of being an impostor because they view themselves as not having done enough to be worthy of the approval or accolades.”
7. Specific People and Situations Might Make You Feel Like an Imposter
You might notice that you don’t feel like an imposter all the time. The feelings of inadequacy and incompetence may be isolated to particular situations. Or, imposter feelings might creep up the most when you’re in the presence of particular people. This could be confusing, right? You might be confused as to why you feel confident one minute, but feel like a total fraud the next.
For example, you might notice yourself feeling confident and capable when you’re with your mentees, only to have imposter feelings when you have to meet with a high-ticket client.
In other instances, imposter syndrome might surface whenever you’re with a certain friend or group of friends. If someone in particular is making you feel like an imposter, you may want to re-evaluate your relationship with them.
Sometimes it’s a particular situation, not a particular person, making you feel like an imposter. For example, some people feel like imposters whenever they are public speaking, or delivering a sales pitch.
8. Social Media Contributes to the Condition
Millennials may be more vulnerable to imposter syndrome than other age groups, due largely to the impact of social media. The level of interpersonal comparison is far beyond the old days of keeping up with the Jones’ whose house you saw from across the fence. While older generations may have compared their lawn or their car to their neighbors and felt inferior, today’s generation has multiple levels of comparisons to battle. This is largely due to social media.
Today, we are comparing our awareness of all of our inner faults to the seemingly perfect lives that others present on social media. Not surprisingly, this can compound our insecurities. Social media also stirs up fears that others will find out our lives aren’t as great as we’ve portrayed.
9. You’re Incapable of Taking Responsibility For Your Own Success
Perhaps you have a bad habit of attributing your success and achievements to something outside of yourself. Were you were raised to be modest, and you attempt to avoid appearing conceited? If so, you may minimize your achievements. You may also be incapable of taking credit for your own work, or taking responsibility for your own success.
Do you always feel like your success is just a product of chance or a stroke of luck? This inability to recognize and take credit for your work is one of the foundational dilemmas of imposter syndrome. In her book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Valerie Young writes that “despite often overwhelming evidence of their abilities, impostors dismiss them as merely a matter of luck, timing, outside help, charm—even computer error. Because people who have the impostor syndrome feel that they’ve somehow managed to slip through the system undetected, in their mind, it’s just a matter of time before they’re found out.”
When you believe your actions had nothing to do with your success, the feelings of unworthiness and the fear of being ‘exposed’ will only intensify. You must learn to accept responsibility for your own success, and give yourself more credit.
Many of us, especially women, have internalized the message that we should not be selfish or conceited. The idea of taking credit for your work might conjure an image of someone egotistical and unlikable. Are you afraid that in letting go of your imposter beliefs, you might turn into a narcissist?
10. You Give Too Much Credit to Others
Feeling like an imposter means that you aren’t able to give yourself the credit you deserve for your role in your work. When you have a healthy and balanced self-esteem, you don’t switch over to taking credit for everything. Instead, you are able to see the big picture. You can appreciate your efforts, as well as all of the other people and factors that went into your success.
Are you great at identifying everyone and everything that could be given credit for your success, except for yourself? Most people who suffer with imposter syndrome are masters at this. You likely have experience in recognizing the work of your colleagues, mentors, employers, and assistants. Maybe you’ve also attributed your victories to your privilege or to being just plain lucky. And you aren’t entirely wrong – all of those things do factor into success.
Taking a 180 degree turn to become grandiose and take all the credit isn’t the solution to your woes. The goal is to find a balance between recognizing other factors while still acknowledging your personal contributions.What happens when you give too much credit to other factors? You will likely start minimizing your own work, your own skills, and your own gifts. You'll feed into the cycle of guilt and self-criticism. You'll feed the imposter in you. Click To Tweet
In order to truly feel confident that you have earned your position, you need to be able to accurately assess your role in getting there. This involves not only taking mental stock of your actions that brought you here, but also being able to allow yourself to feel pride in your accomplishments. If you suffer with imposter syndrome, you must learn to own the part you played in your success. Stop giving so much credit to others. You must start attributing your success to you. You are in the starring role.If you suffer with imposter syndrome, you must learn to own the part you played in your success. Stop giving so much credit to others. You must start attributing your success to you. You are in the starring role. Click To Tweet
What Imposter Syndrome Does to Your Brain
Have you noticed your imposter syndrome getting worse over time? Unfortunately, the negative thoughts can develop into a vicious cycle. This cycle perpetuates feeling stressed, anxious, and insecure.
According to clinical psychologist Dr. John Mayer, when negative thoughts flood our brain, they activate our limbic system, which is the part of our brain that controls our moods and instincts. The amygdala communicates to our frontal cortex where we interpret and evaluate information and data. Dr. Mayer explains, “If the data is perceived as something that causes angst, the adrenal gland produces a hormonal secretion that results in the release of catecholamines, especially norepinephrine and epinephrine. Then the body is brought into a state of stress.”
Psychologist Dr. Audrey Ervin points to the negative feedback loop that imposter syndrome creates in the brain. She explains, “A person with imposter syndrome has an internal experience of persistently feeling like a phony, a fake or a fraud.” As you can imagine, believing that you are a phony, a fraud, and undeserving will likely bring about feelings of depression. Anxiety will likely follow the constant fears about failing or being exposed as a fake.
Not taking advantage of opportunities due to self-doubt, will only continue to erode your self-confidence. Imposter syndrome can actually prevent you from accomplishing further success with which to objectively challenge your self-criticism.
Famous and Powerful Influencers who Struggled with Imposter Syndrome
While imposter syndrome can be seen across all professions and levels of success, it is most perplexing when there is a dramatic contrast between the extraordinary success of an individual and their shockingly low perception of themself. That’s why we are so intrigued by imposter syndrome in ultra-successful, powerful influencers or in successful celebrities.
We’ve seen imposter syndrome in the billionaire Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonja Sotomayor, and prolific author Maya Angelou. We’ve also seen it in celebrity actresses Meryl Streep, Tina Fey and Natalie Portman.
In an issue of Oprah Magazine, Meryl Streep shared that she was afraid people would find out she really couldn’t act. That seems impossible given that she’s been nominated for over 400 awards, and won over 150 times. Three of these were Academy Awards.
Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, said that when it comes to leading a major company, he admittedly often felt undeserving and insecure. In an interview with The New York Times, Schultz said, “Very few people, whether you’ve been in that job before or not, get into the seat and believe today that they are now qualified to be the CEO. They’re not going to tell you that, but it’s true.”
Pulitzer-prize nominated writer Maya Angelou admitted that at times, she often felt like a fraud, once saying, “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'”
Photo credits: Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com
Billionaire and COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, has often admitted to feeling like an imposter. In her book Lean In, she shares that when she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society at Harvard, she didn’t feel like she deserved to be there. She wrote in her book: “Every time I took a test, I was sure that it had gone badly. And every time I didn’t embarrass myself — or even excelled — I believed that I had fooled everyone yet again. One day soon, the jig would be up.”
In a later interview about her book, Sandberg shared that even today, she still sometimes suffers with imposter feelings. She explained, “There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.”
Mike Cannon-Brooks, Australian billionaire and co-founder of the software company Atlassian, faced feelings of imposter syndrome. These imposter feelings were happening even while his company was winning award after award. He explained that imposter syndrome is, “Feeling well out of your depth, yet already entrenched in the situation; internally feeling that you’re not skilled enough, experienced enough or qualified enough to justify being there. But you are there, and you have to figure it out because you can’t get out. It’s more a sensation of getting away with something and the fear of being discovered.”
Imposter Syndrome in Women
The original research by Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, back in 1978, led people to assume that Imposter Syndrome is a phenomenon mostly seen in females. The fact that their research only included women lead to this mistaken assumption that imposter syndrome was a female-dominated issue.
Also, back in the 1970s when research on imposter syndrome began, do you know what was true about men? Back then, culturally, very few men would have admitted to struggling with Imposter Syndrome. The truth is that many men struggle with imposter syndrome.
Some female influencers still believe that women are more susceptible to imposter syndrome than men, though. Billionaire Sheryl Sandberg explained the problem of imposter syndrome among women in a Ted Talk. She asked the audience, “What are the messages we tell the women that work with and for us? What are the messages we tell our daughters?”
Alluding to the fact that women often feel that they must take a step back from their ambitious career goals in order to have children, Sandberg pointed out, “Women face harder choices between professional success and personal fulfillment.”
According to Clare Josa, leadership consultant and author of Ditching Imposter Syndrome, men are more likely to push through the syndrome while women tend to give in to their self-doubt. She says imposter syndrome is “the single biggest block to success” and that it contributes to the gender pay gap. Josa explains, “When we look at the gender pay gap, you see that many senior women don’t put themselves forward for pay rises because of IS; they are scared they will be found out.”
Clare Josa’s 2019 Imposter Syndrome Research Study found that men and women are affected by imposter syndrome at similar rates. 52% of female respondents and 49% of male respondents said they struggle with Imposter Syndrome ‘daily’ or ‘regularly’.
Women experience imposter syndrome at a slightly higher rate than men, but the rates are pretty similar. Why would it be higher in women, though? Women are more likely than men to be internalizers. People who internalize criticism are more likely to feel like impostors.
According to the American Psychological Association, women are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders and depression than men. Since both depression and anxiety are linked with imposter syndrome, it was once thought that more women would naturally be prone to imposter feelings than men.
Clare Josa’s 2019 Imposter Syndrome Research Study found that 30% of female respondents chose not to volunteer for opportunities in the past year that would have allowed them to shine. 45% of female respondents had not applied for a promotion they felt they deserved, due to fear of failure. 61% were less likely to speak up with their best ideas or controversial opinions, due to fear of being criticised.
Imposter Syndrome in Men
Imposter syndrome affects about the same number of men as it affects women. However, it does affect men and women differently, as confirmed by Clare Josa’s research. For example, imposter feelings tend to go down for men when they reach more senior levels. When men achieve major success or a big promotion, for example, their imposter feelings will dissipate. In contrast, imposter feelings increase in women once they’re promoted. Women tend to feel that they now have to prove themselves even more, since others will be expecting them to fail.
In a recent research paper, Are all impostors created equal? Exploring gender differences in the impostor phenomenon-performance link, a team of US and German researchers found out that imposter syndrome hits men harder than women, in some instances. They found that under pressure, imposter syndrome manifested and triggered more anxiety and worse performance in men compared to women.
Back in the 1970s when this concept was new, almost no men would admit to imposter feelings. Today, men are more comfortable admitting it, but they still don’t confess to it as readily as women do. Josa’s research found that women are twenty times more likely to open up to friends and family about their imposter feelings. This might be why people mistakenly assume that imposter syndrome affects more women than men.Women are twenty times more likely to open up to friends and family about their imposter feelings. This might be why people mistakenly assume that imposter syndrome affects more women than men. Click To Tweet
Can Imposter Syndrome be Overcome?
Many psychologists confirm how negatively imposter syndrome can affect a person’s life, and why overcoming imposter feelings should be the goal. Suzanne Imes said, “Perhaps the most limiting part of dealing with imposter syndrome is that it can limit our courage to go after new opportunities, explore potential areas of interest, and put ourselves out there in a meaningful way.”
Are you starting to realize that you might have imposter syndrome? If so, don’t let that realization make you feel self-loathing. On the contrary, understand how common these feelings of self-doubt are. Know that this awareness of your own imposter feelings is the first step toward fixing the problem. What you are experiencing is something that most of us go through at some point in our lives.
Imposter syndrome can be overcome. Your confidence can be improved. Whether it’s from learning a new high-income skill, closing more high-ticket clients, or just becoming less of a perfectionist and remembering what makes you unique.
Just because imposter syndrome is common, doesn’t mean you have to accept it or allow it to be permanent. What I’m trying to say is that imposter syndrome doesn’t have to be a life sentence. If you’re feeling bogged down in a cloud of self-doubt, guilt, or a fear of exposure, there’s a way out.
The best way to change your thought patterns is to build your self-confidence. Once you believe in yourself, and start internalizing your achievements, you can overcome imposter syndrome. Stop giving external factors all of the credit for your accomplishments. You are successful for a reason, and what’s most likely is that the reason for your success has a lot to do with who you are.
Overcoming imposter syndrome will require some self-reflection, courage, and an investment in yourself. But the payoff in your business and personal life will be well worth it.
Build Your Confidence and Invest in Yourself to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
If you read this article and realized you have imposter syndrome, you’re probably very motivated to overcome it. Many people invest in themselves by taking my High-Ticket Closer Certification Program. This will improve your confidence, and help you become a master at the high-income skill of closing. If you want to be a High-Ticket Closer, register for my free training here.