Impostor syndrome is defined as, “anxiety or self-doubt that results from persistently undervaluing one’s competence and active role in achieving success, while falsely attributing one’s accomplishments to luck or other external forces.” Now that you know what impostor syndrome is, how do you know if you are living with it?
Five Signs You Have Impostor Syndrome
Here are five common signs that you are living with impostor syndrome.
- You cannot assess your skills and abilities realistically because you are giving yourself unrealistic goals to accomplish.
- You connect your success to the outcome, giving no thought to the amount of work you put forth.
- You put down your own efforts and accomplishments by shrugging them off as if they were “not that good”.
- You live in constant fear of failing to meet your own expectations, but fail to acknowledge the goals you’ve reached.
- You engage in activities that self-sabotage potential success by choosing to deliberately procrastinate.
Many people with impostor syndrome look for ways to protect their ego and self-esteem when faced with tough situations. There are negative side effects to living with impostor syndrome, such as hindering your chance of success by choosing to create a barrier. Some individuals use their limiting beliefs, or feelings of impostor syndrome, for motivation.
External Proof versus Internal Thoughts
Impostor syndrome keeps you from internally accepting or believing your abilities or successes. The more you accomplish and succeed, the stronger the negative thoughts can become.
Do you struggle with thoughts or feelings of being a fraud in your career or at school? Have you reached a goal yet you don’t feel you did it well enough? These are examples of how individuals with impostor syndrome feel. Even though you accomplished the goal you set out to do, you can’t seem to internally believe it was good enough.
Internal feelings can increase the anxiety and could lead to intense feelings of being a fraud. This creates a vicious cycle and it may require the help of a psychologist or therapist to overcome this phenomenon. If the impostor syndrome is not correctly handled, it can lead to feelings of isolation or even feelings of dread.
Impostor syndrome is often passed down to a person from their family, unknowingly. It may not be evident until later in their teens or adulthood. Another potential cause may be from entering a new career field where you internally compare your skills to those who have been at the job longer than yourself. There could also be a number of external factors that could cause a person to be inflicted with impostor syndrome.
Once you realize you have impostor syndrome, you can take steps to overcome it. Some of these steps include sharing your feelings and fears with trusted individuals. Ask yourself if your thoughts are honest and rational. Assess whether you are comparing yourself to others without even realizing it. Keep in mind that successful people struggle with impostor syndrome and often relate their success to luck instead of hard work. Let your guard down and let others see you for who you really are.