Impostor Syndrome, a term first used by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978, describes a psychological behavioral pattern in which people persistently believe they are unworthy of success and that they are frauds who have managed to deceive those around them, despite all evidence to the contrary. It affects both men and women, and while Impostor Syndrome isn’t considered a disorder, it can have a significant negative impact on the lives of those who experience it.
Wonder if you have it? Does any of this sound familiar?
If you do, you’re convinced that your accomplishments are merely luck.
Or even better, you’re convinced that your Impostor Syndrome is fake!
You have difficulty acknowledging any sort of personal growth or progress.
Creatives often feel like total impostors who will be found out at any moment.
No matter what field you’re in, or what stage of life, you think you should know what you’re doing and judge yourself harshly when it turns out that you don’t.
You question your intelligence.
You may suffer great anxiety.
You won’t even believe your friends and loved ones when they compliment you, which probably frustrates them.
But here’s the thing: your thinking is distorted. There’s something called the Dunning-Kruger effect which causes people to rate their cognitive abilities as higher than they actually are. Impostor Syndrome is the opposite of that. No matter how great your abilities, you perceive them as lower than they are.
Even the incredibly talented and successful author Neil Gaiman has experienced Impostor Syndrome. He had an enlightening encounter with astronaut Neil Armstrong, who, to Gaiman’s surprise, also felt that way.
One thing to remember about feeling like an impostor is that pretty much everyone does, at some point. You are not alone.
Accept yourself, just as you are.
Because Impostor Syndrome is real, but it doesn’t have to defeat you.