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Impostor Syndrome: How to Recognise and Overcome It

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

What characterises the phenomenon known as impostor syndrome is that no matter how many evidence indicate excellent skills and deserved success, there is a strong underlying belief of being inadequate and incompetent.

Impostor syndrome comes in various forms, and many factors contribute to its development: individual personality, followed by family, friends, teachers and all personal experiences.

How do you know if the impostor syndrome impacts you? If you believe that all your achievements are due to fortunate coincidence and all your failings result from your incompetence, you most likely suffer from impostor syndrome.

Most people will find themselves experiencing these uncomfortable feelings at some point in life as the impostor syndrome tends to come and go. Unfortunately, knowing this doesn’t help when you feel a fraud, but it can help you understand what is happening.

Characteristics commonly shared by people experiencing this syndrome:

  • Continuous self-doubt

  • Inability to truly appreciate your achievements

  • Underestimating of your performances

  • Considering your success as fortunate events.

  • Constant worry of being exposed to the truth

  • Overachieving

  • Self-sabotaging

  • Setting very high standards to confirm your incompetency.

"Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what?"

Mark Victor Hansen

In some cases, the impostor syndrome can push you to achieve more, but most of the time, it leads to endless anxiety.

You might find yourself over-preparing to something just to ensure that nobody finds out you are a fraud.

Beginning to appreciate yourself for who you are and acknowledge abilities will take effort; these beliefs are firmly embedded in your mind.

They won’t change even when there is cle