Imposter syndrome (IS) is a behavioural health issue characterized by high achievers doubting their own intelligence, abilities, or accomplishments. In this syndrome an individual is in the state where they feel well from outside but they are nervous and unsuccessful from within. People who have this illness frequently feel like a fraud or a phony and distrust their own talents.
When someone has imposter syndrome, they never feel competent or confident, no matter what they accomplish. They never enjoy the happiness that comes with achievement because they are constantly waiting for their deceit and inferiority to be exposed. Research indicates that both men and women can experience imposter syndrome, a condition that is commonly seen in professional women.
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But modesty is a virtue, isn’t it? Realizing that nobody understands everything is merely sensible. The world is subject to rapid change, and individuals may encounter situations or challenges that are more intricate than they initially appear. However, imposter syndrome is not the same as a healthy amount of caution combined with an open mind. A realistic evaluation of one’s own abilities in light of a complicated circumstance leads to humility and prudence. Despite being objectively competent, the imposter phenomenon is caused by a feeling of inadequacy in the context. It is noteworthy because the focus is on the individual rather than the circumstance. They feel as though they don’t belong there at all, feeling more inadequate than others in the same complicated scenario.
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People who suffer from imposter syndrome always feel their time is running out. It seems as though individuals have been performing, and they face difficulty in managing time to finish the show. Despite all evidence to the contrary, this is the case. Recall that these are common emotions and thoughts that people experience after accomplishing goals and conquering challenges in their lives. Why? In their careers, many top achievers come to the conclusion that they can no longer continue on. It seems dishonourable that they might not be able to continue at the same pace. People suffer silently and alone because of the embarrassment. Because nobody wants to come clean about their imposter syndrome, nobody is aware of how many other people experience it.
The causes of Imposter Syndrome:
- Family Environment: During one’s childhood, one may have experienced excessive criticism or an excessive focus on achievement from parents or other family members. An individual living in a particular environment will reflect his or her behaviour.
- Social Pressures: Being a member of a social circle or organization where acceptance or value are linked to accomplishment. Social circles and peer groups or neighbours will reflect one’s attitude.
- Sense of Belonging: The fear of being exposed and rejected is a component of imposter syndrome. The imposter phenomenon can be fueled by any situation, even from the past, that caused someone to feel different or excluded from the group: language, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, or variations in physical or learning abilities. The individual may continue to feel as though they don’t belong long after the situation is handled.
- Personality: Certain personality types are more prone to internalizing pressure, uncertainty, and failure-related sentiments. Stressful or transitional times, especially those unrelated to employment might exacerbate it.
It is worthwhile to address imposter syndrome because of its effects. People who experience fear or feelings of inadequacy may choose to shy away from chances or challenges that could help them develop and flourish. It’s possible that people don’t look for or thoroughly investigate beneficial partnerships at work or school. Even if they succeed, it takes a lot of energy to overcome the internal conflict. It may result in feelings of annoyance, guilt, melancholy, and confidence.
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Characteristics of Impaired Syndrome:
- Self-doubt: People who lack self-worth and self-efficacy are prone to ongoing concern over their chances of success. At work, people perceive success as an unreachable, dangerous ideal rather than something that can be attained with hard work and concentration.
- Undervaluing Contributions: Imposter syndrome sufferers downplay the significance of their accomplishments, which perpetuates a chronic feeling of inadequacy.
- Attributing achievement to external forces: People who suffer from imposter syndrome tend to attribute their accomplishments on uncontrollable external circumstances. When coworkers provide encouraging feedback in the form of compliments, pay increases, or promotions, individuals find it difficult to take ownership of their achievements. Alternatively, they can blame serendipity, coincidence, good fortune, or the efforts of their colleagues for the beneficial influence they produced.
- Destroying one’s own success: Feelings of inadequacy are reinforced by imposter syndrome. It somehow encourages people to make bad or dangerous choices. People who experience the imposter phenomenon often fear success. They think that no matter how hard or often they work, success is unachievable and that they are not destined for it. Psychosing oneself out is another effect of imposter syndrome. They convince themselves that their efforts will be careless, insufficient, or pointless. Their lack of effort, focus, inventiveness, and perseverance may result from this self-doubt, which could eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Setting Unrealistic expectations: The idea that our finest efforts are insufficient is brought on by imposter syndrome. It forces people to hold themselves to unreasonably high standards to make up for their feelings of inadequacy while achieving difficult but attainable goals promptly.
Ongoing anxiety of falling short of standards: Imposter syndrome makes it impossible for people to accomplish any objectives they set for themselves. It makes people feel as though, despite their best efforts, they are unable to live up to the expectations that they and others place on them. Instead of seeing these expectations as a challenge they are eager to conquer, many see them as a weight they cannot bear.
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Types of Imposter Syndrome:
In actuality, people occasionally discover that they suit more than one type. Check to see if you can identify any of these thought and behavior patterns with yourself. You can work to overcome them in this way.
- The Perfectionist: This type must ensure that everything is completed to the highest standard, as the name suggests. It’s never enough to accomplish a goal or finish a task. The perfectionist never stops craving greater accomplishments, superior results, and increased status. Perfectionism causes people to feel unfulfilled regardless of how hard they work or how far they can take their ambitions.
- The Superwoman/man: This kind enjoys bragging about how much work they can complete in a short amount of time. They are prepared to put in extra time at work in order to win over their supervisors and coworkers. They are attempting to demonstrate their ability to handle any situation.
- The Natural Genius: This kind of imposter thrives on moving quickly and deftly through tasks. They think that the first time they did it correctly. Critiques, feedback loops, and rework are dangerous since they indicate failure if the task is not done correctly. Despite putting forth little effort, they frequently succeed in their work. It’s possible that this trend of low effort and successful outcomes persisted throughout their lives. Until they do, they are never required to put forth the extra effort.
- The Soloist: This kind, like the Natural Genius, is not interested in receiving assistance from others to complete their tasks. But the soloist is completely resentful of others. In any case, the Soloist is unwilling to accept assistance. Seeking assistance may make them appear weak and reveal things they are incapable of doing or do not know.
- The Expert: Before one even consider applying for this position, they need to have all the necessary certifications. Before beginning work, this kind of imposter has an obsessive drive to acquire all the necessary skills and expertise. They might be judgmental of those in their immediate vicinity who adopt aspirational roles or work to learn, but they might also be unaware that certainty and possessing all the answers aren’t expected. Nobody knows exactly what to do next in an environment that is changing quickly.
Workers frequently experience imposter syndrome, especially those who have a strong work ethic. Although people tend to hide and persevere through it, it can be easy to underestimate the root reason of poor self-esteem. Workplaces that are narrow-minded, ruthless, or prejudiced exacerbate the situation. Surface-level diversity in the workplace can also exacerbate imposter syndrome. Whether on purpose or not, companies that practice this kind of diversity give the impression that they are inclusive by employing individuals from a range of demographic backgrounds.