Impostor syndrome is best described as the fear of being considered a fraud or doubting one’s accomplishments. Even those who have reached a level of success in their chosen field are often full of anxiety and crippling thoughts of being considered a fraud. According to the Journal of Behavioral Science, it is estimated that 70% of people in the U.S. experience impostor syndrome.
Impostor syndrome (IS) is an internal feeling that you believe you are not as qualified as others may think you are. This is often connected to thoughts of perfectionism and can be applied to your intelligence or achievement. If you have feelings of being a fraud or that you did not deserve that raise, then you could be dealing with impostor syndrome.
Four Characteristics of Impostor Syndrome
Those who suffer with impostor syndrome doubt their own skills and accomplishments despite the evidence of the success. Below are four common indicators you may be dealing with impostor syndrome.
- Deep-seated feelings of fear that you aren’t able to meet expectations.
- Undermining your achievements even when you worked diligently towards that goal.
- Setting unrealistic goals and then feeling disappointed if you do not meet those goals.
- Doubting yourself no matter what you’re working on or working towards.
If you recognize any of the above, there some things you can do to move past these feelings. Begin by confronting your feelings and any beliefs you hold about yourself. If you struggle with any of this, consider speaking with a professional or close friend. Confiding in someone can help you gain clarity on your feelings and beliefs.
Impostor syndrome can be ingrained in you as a child and continue well into adulthood. Struggling with feelings of being a fraud can happen to anyone but is seen mostly in successful women. According to research done with Psycnet.apa.org, “despite their outstanding academic and professional accomplishments, women who experience the impostor phenomenon persist in believing that they are really not bright and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise.”
Do You Have Impostor Syndrome?
So, how do you know if you suffer from impostor syndrome? One way to know if you are dealing with it is to take a free online test. Simply answer the questions that you can find through a quick online search, or try the free test on at Psycom.net.
You can remove impostor syndrome by first recognizing it in your life and seeing how it is affecting you. Progressively work towards breaking those limiting beliefs by thinking of the quality of work you are performing versus the quantity.
If someone pays you a compliment, remind yourself that it is a fact and that you deserve it. Begin to recognize your own successes and take time to celebrate the wins in your life. Eventually your inner voice will support your new positive thoughts so you can overcome the feelings of impostor syndrome.