Imposter Syndrome, what are the causes? How to identify it.

What is Imposter Syndrome ?

Imposter syndrome is the overwhelming belief that you are not competent in what you are doing and the overwhelming belief that you are not as good as people perceive you to be. Imposter syndrome is not exclusive to our intelligence and triumphs it also associates very closely with our perfectionism in social frameworks.

Features of Imposter Syndrome

Simplistically speaking……. You feel like a phoney in all that you do, know and say!

  • Feeling unable to live up to expectations of self
  • Berating your performance, it wasn’t good enough or you have fallen under par and not met expectations.
  • Crippling self-doubt
  • Setting really high unrealistic goals and then when you fall short you take that as confirmation you are indeed the phoney you thought
  • Attributing your success to external factors, it was good luck or your achievements are down to the work of another and not you. 

The problem with Imposter syndrome is that it tends to be a vicious cycle of self-deprecating thoughts. Even though you may have got A* or a Degree, Masters and yes, even a Ph D you still feel it was down to some fluke rather than the reality of the blood, sweat and tears of your efforts!

How do I identify Imposter Syndrome?

Do you feel like one day the world and all who make it and abode will one day find out you have no clue on what you are doing and the headlines will be you are a FAKE, a FRAUD and a LIAR?

Well, chances are that if this is you then you are indeed struggling with a case of Imposter Syndrome.

How did this happen?

Research is now coming out and is thought that it is connected but not exclusive to our early family dynamics. Certain personality types are thought to struggle more such as those with perfectionism and neuroticism and low self-efficacy.

How do I start and deal with Imposter Syndrome?

  • Stop comparing yourself to others
  • When a thought comes into your mind ask yourself, is this fact of feeling?
  • Ask yourself what is the ‘EVIDENCE’……
  • Share how you feel, talk to others about your struggles and don’t hide them. You may find it’s more common than you originally thought.

Learn to take small steps, I once saw an illustration of 2 ladders side by side each with a person in front. The one on the left had bars beautifully spaced at regular intervals and were within reach. This enabled the person to travel the journey to the top as they could reach the first step. The image to the right showed a ladder with three bars across, they were widely spaced and the person in the image could reach the first bar as it was too big of a step. The moral of the story is that it’s the little steps that get you to the top, how could they possibly get to the top?

Remember that the most important dialogue you can have is the dialogue that you have with yourself. Keep a check on that!

Take Care!

Best Wishes,



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