The Imposter Syndrome

Posted by on Dec 01 2012


Do you feel like a fake? Are you waiting for the day that someone will discover that all your success was brought about by luck?

You’re not alone.

According to this article in Inc. Magazine, as many as 70% of all people feel like a fake at some time. Back in the 1970’s, psychologists studied this phenomenon, dubbed “The Imposter Syndrome.”

The Imposter Syndrome is divided into three sub-categories:

  • Feeling like a fake
  • Attributing success to luck
  • Discounting and downplaying success

And it isn’t just new entrepreneurs that feel this way. According to this article from CalTech, it’s the high-achievers and the already-successful who suffer the most. The CalTech article goes on to discuss ways you can overcome your Imposter Feelings.

This topic came up recently at one of my mastermind group meetings. A mastermind participant, a highly-successful and sought-after author and entrepreneur, said she was just waiting for someone to discover that she didn’t know anything, really, about her topic because she didn’t have a Ph.D. (although she’s written three books on the topic, has studied it for over 10 years, has major sponsorship endorsements from large corporations, and an education and product line to go along with the books). Her worst fear: that some interviewer will ask, “Who are YOU to write about this topic??”

In the end analysis, a reality-check is in order. Have you accomplished things because of your intellect, your creativity, your tenacity, your heart? For every failure you’ve had, haven’t you also had an equal success?

Each day, when you catch yourself in the bad habit of moaning about everything that went wrong, reach for “balance” and remind yourself of all the things you did right. And when you have a big success, reward yourself and celebrate this wonderful moment!

   

3 comments for now

3 Responses to “The Imposter Syndrome”

  1. Angie Hartford

    One of the best tricks I’ve learned is to list three things at the end of the day that went right. It makes a huge difference!

    16 Jun 2007 at 4:55 pm

  2. Nina EastNo Gravatar

    I actually write about this as the Imposter “Illusion”, because it’s an illusion we create (or accept), rather than a “syndrome”. To me “syndrome” always connotes illness.

    10 Jan 2013 at 4:00 pm

  3. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    Good distinction, Nina!

    10 Jan 2013 at 9:41 pm



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