Imposter Syndrome

Impostor syndrome refers to the phenomenon when an individual internalizes their accomplishments, due to fear of being exposed as a “fraud.”

Those with imposter syndrome are psychologically uncomfortable with acknowledging their role in their own success, but their negative thoughts (often referred to as “cognitive distortions”) are based on anxiety, rather than objective facts.

Although it was initially believed that imposter syndrome exclusively affected women, subsequent gender-related data on the subject has revealed this isn’t the case.

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Prevalence of imposter syndrome

While feelings of unworthiness can happen to anyone, anywhere, impostor syndrome is especially prevalent in the workplace.

Imposter syndrome isn’t limited to professional life, though; it can impact personal life as well.

Some instances where it may occur in your personal life include feeling inadequate in a relationship or as a partner, incapacity to accept personal praise, and going overboard on challenging, often ambitious, goals.

Symptoms of impostor syndrome

Symptoms of impostor syndrome can look different for different people, though there are some consistent and tell-tale red flags.

Symptoms might include:

In professional settings, typical examples include:

How to overcome imposter syndrome

Here are some small steps you can take to identify and overcome your unique imposter syndrome patterns: