Impostor Syndrome, Explained

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I ran into a post about impostor syndrome, where the author said you have the syndrome “because you’re comparing yourself to others.” It read “Stop comparing – impostor syndrome is then gone. POOF!”

So let’s set the record straight on impostor syndrome.

Impostor syndrome could be anything from minor feelings of inadequacy to crippling anxiety that ruins careers. It’s a global, institutionalized issue that’s believed to affect ** 70% of the population.**

Why institutionalized? Because it’s especially evident among marginalized groups and women.

People who struggle with imposter syndrome:

👉 Believe they are undeserving of their achievements
👉 Struggle with self-doubt and low self-esteem
👉 Feel they’re deceiving their friends and colleagues into thinking they are more intelligent or competent than they truly are.
👉 Feel the need to succeed in all walks of life, all the time
👉 Feel frustrated and inadequate when a new skill turns out to be more difficult than expected
👉 Attribute their success to external factors, such as luck or other people
👉 Fall into “The Imposter Cycle”: battling anxiety around simple tasks by over-preparing and over-planning. Once the task is complete, they feel relieved and accomplished, only to start the cycle with the next task.

Impostor syndrome is highly correlated with perfectionism. It stems from society’s expectations and our need to belong. Most importantly, it’s rooted in our childhood – parents who pressure their kids to succeed and/or criticize them plant the seeds of impostor syndrome.

There are numerous ways to combat impostor syndrome – but it starts with awareness. This is a very real problem, affecting people’s careers, academic achievements, and even relationships.