Imposter syndrome, also called perceived fraudulence, involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.
To counter these feelings, you might end up working harder and holding yourself to ever higher standards. This pressure can eventually take a toll on your emotional well-being and your performance.
The work you put in can keep the cycle going. Your further accomplishments don’t reassure you – you consider them nothing more than the product of your efforts to maintain the “illusion” of your success.
Living in constant fear of discovery, you strive for perfection in everything you do. You might feel guilty or worthless when you can’t achieve it, not to mention burned out and overwhelmed by your continued efforts. Over time, this can fuel a cycle of anxiety, depression, and guilt.
True imposter feelings involve self-doubt, uncertainty about your talents and abilities, and a sense of unworthiness that doesn’t align with what others think about you.
In short, you’ve fooled others into believing you are someone you aren’t.
But what if you find yourself in an environment where your peers or colleagues fail to make room for you or imply you don’t deserve your success?
There’s a big difference between secretly doubting your abilities and being made to feel as if your identity makes you unworthy of your position or accomplishments.
How to deal with it.
If you feel like a fraud, working harder to do better may not do much to change your self-image.
These strategies can help you resolve imposter feelings:
- Acknowledge your feelings.
- Challenge and reframe your unwanted beliefs.
- Build connections and create a network of coworkers for support.
- Avoid Comparing yourself with others.
- Address anxiety, depression, or other emotional distress.
Offering yourself kindness and compassion instead of judgment and self-doubt can help you maintain a realistic perspective and motivate you to pursue healthy self-growth.