Suffering from Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter Syndrome can affect anyone, regardless of job or social status, but high achieving individuals often experience it.
The term was first coined by psychologists in 1978. In 2020, a meta-analysis of 62 studies that included 14,161 participants showed that the rates of imposter syndrome varied widely from 9% to 82% depending on the criteria (Bravata, et. al. 2020). Although it appears to disproportionately affect high-achieving people who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. For some people, the experience of imposter syndrome can be short-lived, such as the first couple of weeks in a new job. For others, the experience can be lifelong.
Symptoms of Imposter Syndrome include:
Impact on the workplace
- A sense of being a fraud
- Fear of being discovered
- Difficulty internalising their success
These feelings can impact job performance, job satisfaction, prevent people from taking on additional responsibilities, and create self-doubt, which leads to job dissatisfaction and burnout, avoiding promotion, overachievement, and mental health complications such as anxiety, and depression.
Some Tips for overcoming Imposter Syndrome
- Talk about it: Share feelings with a trusted colleague, friend or family member which can help the individual develop a more realistic perspective on their capabilities.
- Be aware of the symptoms: just knowing about imposter syndrome can help people recognise the symptoms.
- Accept that perfectionism is impossible: to have healthy self-esteem and self-worth we need to understand both our strengths and our weaknesses. Nobody is perfect, and we all make mistakes. Learning to accept this is important to our wellbeing and resilience.
- Swap negative thoughts for positive ones: celebrate current achievements, recall past success, keep a record of positive feedback from others.