Exeleon Magazine

What is Imposter Syndrome and How to Overcome it?

Imposter Syndrome

Imagine earning that promotion you’ve wanted for years. Or publishing your first book. Maybe you’ve just won a prestigious award or have been recognized in some way. You must be ecstatic! Right?

Perhaps not. Statistics show that about 30% of high achieving adults suffer from imposter syndrome; but what is imposter syndrome and why does it happen?

Imposter syndrome is a feeling of inadequacy or the belief that one is undeserving of success or recognition. Put simply, you feel like a fraud. Studies show that women in particular are prone to experiencing imposter syndrome, especially those with character traits like perfectionism. Ironically, your attention to detail and quality can also trigger that feeling of inadequacy upon achievement!

The term “Imposter Phenomenon” was introduced by Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes in their article examining the issue, which they described as, “an internal experience of intellectual phoniness.”

This phenomenon has been noted in high-performing individuals of various backgrounds, though the initial study subjects were women. Research since indicates a relationship between Imposter syndrome and underlying poor self-esteem.

Not surprisingly, research suggests that over 70% of people will experience Imposter syndrome during their lifetime. This phenomenon is linked to new duties, responsibilities, expectations and/or environments, and can occur in social, professional, and personal settings.

The real question is, how to manage it?

How to Manage Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome

The first step is a simple one: acknowledge the feeling. Recognizing that imposter syndrome is a common and recognized issue can be comforting when it comes to the way you are feeling about your own success.

Understanding that your peers are likely experiencing the same emotion eases the stigma and can help you build a supportive community by networking with others who understand what you’re going through. Researchers suggest that among the various treatment resources available, mentorship is a successful means of validating individuals experiencing feelings of inadequacy or imposterism.

The second step is networking. Joining groups on social media with similar interests can provide you with information and support and help you grow into your comfort zone. Are you an author? Link up with other authors in author groups on social media. There are groups for just about every hobby and interest, so you’re sure to find your tribe!

The third step is to talk it out with trusted and supportive friends. Though the feeling of inadequacy is normal, it’s unpleasant, and venting your frustrations can relieve that inner turmoil and offer perspective.

Stress management is key to managing imposter syndrome. As with any other form of stress, don’t forget to take time away for yourself! Indulge in your own stress-relief techniques to balance your life and get away from the pressures of performance. Be intentional about reserving time for yourself apart from the expectations associated with your newly gained status.

Remember to differentiate between the different types of stress. Not all stress is bad! Eustress is a moderate form of stress often associated with positive life changes and can be beneficial in the long run. Eustress can be motivating under the right circumstances. Soak up your achievements and cherish the minor bumps in the road… because YOU DID IT!

About the Author

Guest Post Written by Ashley Brandt. Ashley is a paramedic and an author living in North Texas. Ashley is a proud healthcare provider and an author on her off days. An avid reader, Ashley has been writing stories since she could hold a pen. Her hobbies include swimming, hiking, reading (of course), and fostering kittens!

Ashley’s Website – https://www.ashleybrandtbooks.com/

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