Common Signs of Imposter Syndrome

imposter syndrome
Common Signs of Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a term coined in the late '70s by psychologists Dr. Clance and Dr. Imes. The term describes a feeling experienced among high achievers when they cannot recognize their success and fear being exposed as a fake. 


Yet how can one know if feelings of self-doubt or questioning their success is impostor syndrome or not? 


Here are some common signs of imposter syndrome:



Perfectionism as a function of impostor syndrome is when an individual struggles with the compulsion to be the very best by holding themselves to impossible perfection standards.

There is an expectation set for them to accomplish a given task they set out to do without any flaws or mistakes. If they cannot meet this standard, they consider this a failure which further feeds their need for perfection. 



Overworking is a common pattern of impostor syndrome. Typically, a person described as an overachiever tends to invest massive amounts of energy and effort into their work, long past the point where it would be deemed beyond acceptable by the average person. The individual often notices this pattern of behavior, but still, there is an inability to stop it. 


Inability to Accept Praise: 

Individuals who struggle with impostor syndrome find it difficult to internalize their success and thus deem any praise invalid. Opposite of false modesty, it's a genuine belief that they are not worthy or deserving of the credit being given. 



Paralyzing Fear of Failure: 

Individuals dealing with impostor syndrome cannot handle the thought of failing, let alone actually failing. Any failure (real or perceived) perpetuates a toxic cycle that controls the person’s thoughts and actions. Those dealing with impostor syndrome often avoid a task rather than possibly failing at it. 


Overemphasis on What Hasn’t Been Done:

Since the standards, people with impostor syndrome set are so high, it can be challenging for them to meet goals and milestones based on the expectations they set. This causes a tendency to focus more on what they haven't done than what they have accomplished. This is true even though what they have accomplished generally far outweighs what has yet to be done. 


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