“I don’t belong here.”, “I only got Lucky.”, “I’m a fraud, and it’s just a matter of time before everyone finds out that I am not good enough.”
Does any of those sound familiar? If yes, then you are not alone!
Most successful people have experienced feelings of doubt and undeserving at some point in their lives.
We all have, but when your accomplishments are a result of your own proficiency, hard work, and preparation and yet you feel inadequate, then you are suffering from a phenomenon called impostor syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome is very common although it receives less attention compared to its counterparts. According to research, 82% of people have suffered from it at one point or another.
Individuals suffering from this syndrome often feel like cheaters, despite the fact that they are smart, experienced, and skilled high flyers who really deserve any accolades that are being given to them.
But instead of celebrating their achievements, they worry that they have somehow swindled people into thinking they are good enough. As a result, they live in fear of being “discovered” or “exposed” as incompetent or unable to duplicate past successes.
These feelings can contribute to increased anxiety and depression, reduced career risks, and career burnout.
At the initial stage, this may seem normal because the brain always wants to make sure we have all the boxes checked whenever we`re in an uncomfortable new setting.
In fact, it is natural to wonder how you measure up in a competitive environment. A bit of self-doubt can even be a wholesome way to adapt.
In some cases, the impostor phenomenon can also catalyze growth. By simply acknowledging that you don’t know everything, can open you up to new learning opportunities, even spurring positive contributions to society.
But here is the tricky part. high achievement can fuel impostor syndrome in self-doubting people, these feelings can also fuel high achievement, which would enhance one’s beliefs in his or her abilities and achievement.
However, the impostor phenomenon can interfere with a person’s mental health and overall functioning.
In general, this phenomenon can drain relationships and result in isolation. It can also interfere with risk-taking abilities. For Instance, when people fear failure, they might prematurely take themselves out of situations where they even have to make an attempt, including a career.
This feeling can also lead people to struggle with negotiating for a better salary, or even cause them to stay at a new job longer than they want to,
Over time, these factors can lead to career burnout.
People with impostor syndrome also often feel relief instead of pride after an accomplishment, which can cause them to keep pushing without taking care of themselves.
The first step in dealing with impostor syndrome is knowing and being able to identify the signs.
These signs often present themselves in our daily lives but we ignore them.
You may have impostor syndrome if:
- You are convinced that you are not good enough and can never be.
- You find it difficult to accept compliments.
- You feel ‘lucky’ when I actually prepare well and work hard.
- You have impossibly high standards sometimes.
- You apologize to yourself when you really haven’t done anything wrong.
- You have a terrifying fear of failure.
- You find it overcompensating or unpleasant to express confidence.
- You are always mindful of your language choices when conversing with others or talking to yourself.
- You feel that your success or the praise of others does not suit you.
If by now, you are beginning to identify with this phenomenon, know that there are healthy, proactive ways to curb this syndrome.
I will talk about how to tackle impostor syndrome in a subsequent article. In the meantime always have this in mind, you are enough and you deserve the best in life.