Think of an achievement. Do you think it was all because you got lucky? Do you doubt your abilities? This may be indicative of the Impostor Syndrome.
Around 70% of people will experience at least one episode of impostor syndrome (IS) in their lives, most commonly when they are in their youth. Let us understand Impostor Syndrome, a psychological condition with high prevalence in young people.
What Is Impostor Syndrome (IS)?
Impostor syndrome (IS) refers to a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being incompetent or getting exposed as fraud. Despite having adequate external proof of accomplishments, people with IS remain convinced that they don’t deserve the success they have.
What Are The Possible Symptoms?
-Constantly feeling that you will not live up to the expectations
-Fear of failure
-Avoiding extra responsibilities and new tasks
-Going overboard on tasks and eventually experiencing burn-out
-Undervaluing your skills, abilities, and intelligence
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Is It Bothersome?
Yes. Dealing with IS can be debilitating. It can cause extreme stress, anxiety, low self-confidence, guilt, shame and in some cases, even depression. Many people experience symptoms for a limited time, such as in the first few weeks of a new job. Others may battle with feelings of incompetency their whole lives.
Impostor Syndrome: Types To Know About!
The Perfectionist: “I should deliver perfect work 100% of the time. There can be no flaws in my work.”
The Expert: “I don’t know everything about the subject. I can’t do this task.”
The Superhero: “If I were really competent, I would have done every bit of it- all by myself.”
The Natural genius: “I judge myself on ease and speed. If I were really competent, it would come out easily and quickly.”
The Soloist: “I must do each and every thing on my own. Taking help means being weak.”
Tips For Overcoming Impostor Syndrome
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: Whenever you experience feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy, try explaining it to yourself why you’re feeling this way. When you do this, the positive side of you will always counter the negative feelings.
2. Own Your Successes: When things go well, appreciate yourself, not the good fortune. When things go wrong, investigate internally before blaming yourself. When you meet a goal or finish an important project, acknowledge that it was your skill and talent that made it happen.
3. Develop a Quick Response Plan: It takes long-term effort and tactics to deal with particularly stressful moments. When the negative self takes over, try to confront it. Avoid being reckless.
4. Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses: Once you have a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, you won’t have to spend so much time worrying that you’re not qualified for certain tasks, projects or roles.
5. Overcome Perfectionism: Set realistic, challenging but achievable goals. Treat your mistakes as learning experiences.
6. Talk and Talk: Reach out to people you trust and let them show you how your fears are unfounded. Try to spend more time with positive people.
Many people believe that the alternative is to become boastful and self-important, but this needn’t be the case. If impostor syndrome is pulling you down, get better guidance by discussing with an expert. Fight it out like a true hero!
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. International Journal of Behavioral Science. 2011, Vol. 6, No.1, 75-97. https://www.sciencetheearth.com/uploads/2/4/6/5/24658156/2011_sakulku_the_impostor_phenomenon.pdf
2. Modified from Clance Impostor Syndrome Self-assessment tool. https://www.lcldnet.org/media/mce_filebrowser/2018/04/17/Leader-Within-VKC-Impostor-Syndrome-Self-Assessment-Tool_030118.pdf