Imposter Syndrome: Signs, Causes, Effects, Tips And Treatment

Imposter Syndrome: Signs, Causes, Effects, Tips

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

What Is Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a term that was first coined in 1978 by Dr. Clance. It is a psychological phenomenon that is characterized by a person’s inability to believe that they are capable and competent in their work. This leads to the individual feeling like a fraud and constantly worrying about being exposed.

As mentioned, imposter syndrome can leave you feeling like a fraud in your job. This is often accompanied by feelings of inadequacy and constant worry that you’ll be found out as unqualified for your position.

There are things that you need to know about imposter syndrome. You might be experiencing this if you find yourself always trying to catch up with work, think you don’t deserve promotions or awards, and often feel like you’re not good enough for your job. It’s important to realize that this is common among many people in the workplace; there are ways to cope with it and overcome the feeling of inadequacy that comes with imposter syndrome!

Symptoms Of Imposter Syndrome

Symptoms Of Imposter SyndromeThe most common symptoms of imposter syndrome are-

  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • A lack of self-confidence
  • Constantly fearing failure
  • Not believing in yourself
  • Never feeling like you’re good enough

You may find that you’re always trying to catch up with work and that you don’t feel like you deserve the promotions or awards that you’ve received. Additionally, you may often feel like you’re not good enough for your job.

These symptoms can have a negative effect on your work performance and can lead to stress and anxiety. It’s important to realize that this is common among many people and there are ways to cope with it and overcome the feeling of inadequacy.

Cause of Imposter Syndrome

There is no clear cause for imposter syndrome, but there are several factors that may contribute to the development of this psychological phenomenon. These include:

1. Insecurity

One of the most significant causes of imposter syndrome is insecurity. Those who feel as though they’re not good enough in their position may be at risk of developing imposter syndrome.

2. High expectations

Another key factor that contributes to the development of imposter syndrome is having high expectations placed upon oneself by others. If you’re constantly striving for perfection and working towards setting higher standards for yourself, you may quickly become stressed when things don’t go as planned.

3. Childhood experiences

Early childhood experiences also contribute towards the development of imposter syndrome. If you were constantly told that you weren’t good enough, or if your parents had high expectations for you, this can lead to feelings of inadequacy and a lack of self-confidence in your teenage years and into adulthood.

4. Negative thoughts

Negative thoughts can also contribute to the development of imposter syndrome. If you constantly believe that you’re not good enough and that you’ll eventually be found out, this can create self-doubt and a lack of faith in your abilities.

Effects Of Imposter Syndrome At Workplace

Effects Of Imposter Syndrome At Workplace

Imposter syndrome can have a number of negative effects on the workplace. One of the most significant is that it can lead to stress and anxiety. This is because individuals who suffer from imposter syndrome often feel like they’re not good enough and constantly worry about being exposed.

This can lead to a decrease in work performance as well as a lack of motivation. Additionally, imposter syndrome can also cause tension among coworkers, as people may be competing for promotions or awards.

Another effect of imposter syndrome is that it can cause people to doubt their abilities. This can lead to second-guessing themselves and not wanting to take risks. As a result, their creativity and productivity may be hindered.

Lastly, imposter syndrome can cause people to have a lack of faith in themselves. This can cause them to feel as though they’re not good enough for their position and that they don’t deserve their job. They may begin to undervalue themselves and try to be someone else.

Tips To Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Tips To Overcome Imposter Syndrome

If you suffer from imposter syndrome, there are ways that you can work at overcoming this feeling of inadequacy. One way is by setting realistic goals and developing a flexible schedule. That way, if things don’t go as planned, you won’t worry about being exposed as a fraud or a failure.

1. Gain some perspective

One of the first ways to deal with imposter syndrome is to gain some perspective. While you may feel as though you don’t deserve your job or that you should be doing more, consider the fact that many other people go through this experience too.

2. Avoid overworking yourself

It’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself by overworking. By constantly pushing yourself too hard, you’ll only end up feeling more stress and anxiety. Give yourself time to relax, take breaks at work, and don’t be afraid to admit when you’re struggling.

3. Address the negative thoughts

You can also try to address the negative thoughts that stem from imposter syndrome by challenging them. When you find yourself thinking or saying things like “I’m not good enough” or “I should have done better”, stop for a moment and ask yourself if these are really true.

4. Reassess your expectations

Reassess your expectations by setting shorter-term goals rather than constantly focusing on long-term ones that are often unattainable anyway. This will give your more confidence, and it will help you to better appreciate the small successes that come your way.

5. Seek support

If you constantly feel like you don’t belong at work, consider speaking with someone about this feeling. You can speak with a family member or friend about these feelings or chat with an online therapist who can provide support and guidance for what you’re dealing with.

6. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

We all tend to compare ourselves to others and it’s ok to admire what other people do and how successful they’ve become but we can’t let this comparison get in our way.  This is so important to remember especially when it comes to school, work, and life in general.  We are all on our own journey and comparison will only bring you down.

7. Stop Putting Pressure On Yourself

I am sure you have heard of the phrase “Imposter Syndrome” if not then let me explain what it is. Imposters syndrome is a term coined by psychologists Dr. Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978 to describe high achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud. They may accomplish this by continually seeking validation from others or sabotaging opportunities for success due to excessive self-doubt. Let’s be honest here, we all experience self-doubt, and imposters syndrome is not a reason to hold you back from achieving your goals.  Here are three tips on how to deal with imposters syndrome:

8. Plan Something Fun

Embrace the fact that we all struggle and live life in the trenches sometimes and it’s ok! What I like to do when I am feeling this way is plan something fun for myself, For example, Go see a movie, take a bubble bath, go shopping, visit family or friends. Focusing your attention on something else will help give you some perspective and bring your mind off of those negative thoughts. It will also make you feel good about yourself as well as boost your confidence.

I think one of the hardest things about being an ” imposter” is the fear of letting people down which only makes the situation worse. We all have to remember that we are not perfect nor will we ever be but what’s important is for you to believe in yourself and your abilities.  Have a positive mindset and never give up!

If you have experienced feelings of being an ” imposter” or not belonging, I understand the struggle.  I think many people experience it at some point in their life especially if they are doing something that they are passionate about. I have felt this way on more occasions than one but with time and practice, I have learned ways to deal with these negative thoughts.

How To Move Forward From Imposter Syndrome?

How To Move Forward From Imposter Syndrome?

Developing imposter syndrome is common among many people, especially those working in high-pressure jobs where expectations are high and they constantly fear failure or inadequacy.  However, there is no reason why you need to continue feeling this way and prevent yourself from reaching your full potential in life. If you struggle with imposter syndrome, try the following tips to help you move forward:

1. Break your goals down

Break your goals down so that they’re more manageable and achievable. This will help you gain confidence in yourself and build momentum towards achieving your goals. You can also remind yourself of all the hard work that you’ve already put in when feeling like a fraud.

2. Get active

One great way to deal with imposter syndrome is by getting active. Whether it’s pursuing an activity that interests you or sticking to a regular exercise routine, keeping active will improve your mood, help you feel confident in yourself, and increase self-esteem. When making any fitness plans, reference this list of fitness apps to guide the way!  There are great phone apps for tracking all sorts of fitness goals.

3. Set smaller goals

Another great way to deal with imposter syndrome is by setting smaller goals that you can achieve within a short space of time. This helps build your confidence and provides you with the momentum you need to continue working towards achieving your bigger goals.

4. Distance yourself from negative people

Negative people may contribute towards feelings of inadequacy and worry about whether or not you deserve success in life, so it’s important to distance yourself from them as much as possible. If certain family members or close friends tend to put you down, try spending more time with those who treat you well and encourage your dreams, achievements, and self-worth.  If necessary, consider speaking to a therapist about your experiences with negative people.

5. Don’t beat yourself up

Don’t ever be too hard on yourself as you’ll only end up feeling worse about the situation and preventing yourself from succeeding in life. If you do slip up, don’t put pressure on yourself by going over the mistakes that you made again and again – instead, learn from them and move forward. The sooner that imposter syndrome is dealt with, the better it will be for your mental health and well-being!  If you can relate to this article please share it with others so that they may also know they are not alone in these feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt.

Therapy For Imposter Syndrome

Treatment For Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome can be a difficult thing to overcome, especially if it is left untreated. Some common treatments for Imposter Syndrome include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which can help individuals learn how to deal with their negative thoughts and emotions, and group therapy, which can provide support and encouragement from others who are also struggling with Imposter Syndrome. If you are experiencing Imposter Syndrome and would like to seek treatment, please consult a therapist or counselor who can help you get on the road to recovery.


Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. It’s common for high achievers and experts, but it can be detrimental if not recognized. The good news is that there are ways you can manage imposter syndrome and stop the feelings of fraudulence from holding back your career advancement. To learn more about how to combat impostor syndrome with tips on boosting self-worth and confidence, download our free guide today!

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