Understanding Imposter SyndromeAug 02, 2021
Do you often feel like the person you are at work is not the person your coworkers know you to be? Is the ideal version of yourself in a professional or personal setting always unaligned with how you truly feel when you look in the mirror? If so, you may be experiencing a cultural phenomenon known as Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that your abilities, either professionally or personally, are not as accomplished or capable as how others view them to be. This dilemma can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or income status, and it can be quite difficult to deal with.
To fully understand Imposter Syndrome and how it can impact your life and the lives of others, it's good to know the history of it, and how it manifests.
Where It Began
The concept known as "Imposter Syndrome" was identified by two psychologists, Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanna Imes, in 1970. Initially, thy syndrome was thought to be only recognized in women, however, it is now understood as a dilemma that can affect anyone.
Resource: Listen to this podcast on Imposter Syndrome
What It Looks Like
The signs and hints that someone is suffering from Imposter Syndrome are recognizable by understanding a few key behaviors.
- Obsessing over tiny mistakes and mess-ups while working or doing other tasks.
- Being “too humble” or underselling your skills in situations where you may be extremely competent and capable.
- Always looking over your shoulder wondering when someone will label you the phony you believe you are.
- Reacting negatively to small or relevant criticism.
- Playing down and reducing your success to simple luck and fortunate circumstances.
How Does It Start?
To successfully move forward from dealing with Imposter Syndrome, finding out the causes as to why it can creep up in your life can be paramount. What exactly begins the potentially damaging cycle of Imposter Syndrome can be determined with many different factors in mind.
- Family background of high parental expectations.
- Finally receiving a promotion or a new professional opportunity built up in your mind.
- Coming from dysfunctional or low socioeconomic conditions may contribute.
- Having social phobias and/or social anxiety can induce Imposter Syndrome.
- Lacking a strong sense of self, and not understanding who you are or why you are doing what you do.
The Bottom Line
Imposter Syndrome can make anyone feel like they don’t belong or are unworthy of improving their lives or striving for new heights. It can be classified as an inability to see yourself and your skillsets similarly to how other people see them.
This phenomenon can have a damaging impact on the personal and professional lives of many. This is why understanding what imposter syndrome is and how it begins can be vital to overcoming its effects.