What Is Imposter Syndrome?

If you tend to have hesitations about your own skills and accomplishments, in spite of what others think, you may be suffering from imposter syndrome. However, it’s not an actual mental health condition and this term (also known as imposter phenomenon, fraud syndrome, or imposter experience) describes a person who feels that they aren’t as capable as others think and fears they’ll be exposed as a fraud.

What Imposter Syndrome Feels Like

Imposter feelings represent a war between your own self-perception and the way that others perceive you. Even as others praise your talents, you will write off your successes to timing as well as good luck. You don’t believe that you earned them on your own merits and you fear that others will finally realise the same thing.

As a result, you pressure yourself to work harder in order to:

  • Keep others from recognising your shortcomings or failures
  • Become worthy of roles that you believe you don’t deserve
  • Make up for what you consider as your lack of intelligence
  • Alleviate feelings of guilt over “tricking” people

The work that you put in can keep the cycle going. Your further accomplishments won’t reassure you — you consider them nothing more than merely the product of your efforts to maintain the “illusion” of your success.

Any Recognition You Earn?

You call it sympathy or pity. And despite linking your accomplishments to chance, you take on all the blame for any mistakes you make. Even minor errors reinforce your belief in your lack of intelligence and ability.

Over time, this can fuel a cycle of anxiety, depression and guilt.

Living in continuous fear of discovery, you do your best to strive for perfection in everything you do. You may feel guilty or worthless when you aren’t able to achieve it, not to mention burned out and swamped by your continued efforts.

What Causes Imposter Syndrome?

Personality traits mainly drive imposter syndrome: those who experience it really struggle with self-efficacy, perfectionism and neuroticism. In addition, competitive environments can lay the groundwork. For instance, many people who go on to develop feelings of impostorism are faced with intense pressure surrounding academic achievement from their parents in childhood.

How Common Is Imposter Syndrome?

As with Australian open odds, the chances of having this syndrome are relatively good. Around 25 to 30% of high achievers may be suffering from imposter syndrome. And around 70 percent of adults may go through impostorism at least once in their lifetime, research proposes.

Difference Between Imposter Syndrome And Self-Doubt

There’s nothing wrong with sporadic self-doubt. The key, most experts are in agreement, is frequency. Most people feel like an imposter at some point in their lives, particularly in intimidating scenarios, whether they’re on a blind date, at a new job, or speaking in front of a large crowd.

Adolescence, for example, is a time that is characterised by self-doubt. The important questions to ask yourself are: Is your self-doubt developmentally appropriate? Is it a persistent, nagging, ongoing experience? Or is it a temporary, situational experience?