You’ve put in the work. You’ve made progress, and continue climbing the ranks, in your career. Other people perceive you as successful.
But still, you can't shake the feeling that you're a fraud.
Sound familiar? You may have symptoms of imposter syndrome, a psychological phenomenon that causes people believe they're inadequate and a secret failure, despite strong evidence otherwise.
Though imposter syndrome can come into play in all areas of life, it's especially common in high-achieving women at work. Here are seven strong signs that you may have it:
1. You're putting in 110% – all the time
To the point of exhaustion.
For example, you might go in early and/or stay late every day, work during your time off, or go to every optional meeting.
2. You beat yourself up for even minor mistakes
To you, only perfection is acceptable. Even when you're easy on other people, you can't "let the little things go" when it comes to yourself.
3. You constantly perceive yourself as unworthy of your position
You may fear being “found out” by your boss or co-workers, or have the sense that you’re fooling people by only seeming to do a good job.
4. You're convinced your colleagues have it all together
You feel like a fraud, but everyone else looks competent and successful in comparison.
5. You're unable to accept praise or compliments
You never think your work is good enough, even when everyone else says you’re doing great.
Every time you receive praise or a promotion, your inner critic is speaking so loudly that the accomplishments fail to register.
6. You've started neglecting self-care
If you’re too busy with work or too drained from your long days, you might not take the time you need to recharge. This is also a common symptom of burnout, which may accompany imposter syndrome.
7. You believe that your job or career status define you
Rather than bringing yourself to your job, you think your job brings you to yourself.
Imposter syndrome doesn't have to win
Your inner critic may seem like she's just looking out for you – keeping you in check, so to speak – but when that pessimistic voice starts bringing you down, rather than keeping you afloat, you can recalibrate.
To get you started, here are four ways to deal with imposter syndrome at work. And if you're open to it, consider working with a therapist (such as a career coach or CBT specialist) who can help you identify, understand, and overcome your symptoms.