Imposter - be gone!
Updated: Jul 5
To elaborate, Imposter Syndrome, be gone. Thanks to Hub Dot for allowing me to share a little of my story, in particular my experience of Imposter Syndrome, something that really affected me in my late 20's and early 30's. I felt like I wasn’t qualified and didn’t have the ability to be doing the job I was doing, that I was a fraud, and that it was only a matter of time before I would be ‘found out’. I worked excessively, checking and re-checking things, researching extensively, striving to 'complete' my skill set and knowledge base – I never switched off from work.
You can hear more about how my Imposter Syndrome affected me and how I later made a positive career transition here:
Imposter Syndrome can manifest in a number of ways. It can lead to stress, worry and anxiety (it's worth noting social anxiety as well as generalised anxiety), but it can also lead to rumination, low mood and depression, and it can negatively impact self-esteem. Not surprisingly, Imposter Syndrome is linked with impaired job satisfaction, impaired job performance and burnout.
It’s hard to estimate the prevalence of Imposter Syndrome, a recent meta-analysis found that prevalence rates varied widely from 9-82%. However, the sizeable amount of lay literature written about Imposter Syndrome gives us some indication that it is a common experience.
Is Imposter Syndrome affecting your life? Do you find yourself setting super high standards for yourself (that you would never expect of anyone else) that drive feelings of anxiety as you try to meet them, and feelings of failure when you can’t, because they're so high. Or do you find that you never finish anything because it’s not quite met your standard - there's always more to add or tweaks to be made. Perhaps you never get started on anything because the standards you’ve set are so high, it feels like you can’t even take the first step.
There can be many reasons behind why we might procrastinate or avoid things, or why we may develop perfectionist behaviours and beliefs, but they could be a signal of Imposter Syndrome.
If you resonate with this and need some support to challenge your Imposter Syndrome, there's loads of self help reading, here's a great free resource that you can start with. Otherwise, working with a cognitve-behavioural therapist can help you overcome your Imposter Syndrome. As I came to learn, it doesn’t have to be a permanent feature of your life.
You can find out more about Hub Dot and the great community that they are creating here.
Bravata, D. M., Watts, S. A., Keefer, A. L., Madhusudhan, D. K., Taylor, K. T., Clark, D. M., ... & Hagg, H. K. (2019). Prevalence, predictors, and treatment of impostor syndrome: A systematic review. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 1-24.