Understanding Imposter Syndrome

Although awareness of imposter syndrome is growing, it’s still largely misunderstood and often not taken seriously. If you struggle with feelings of not being good enough, can’t seem to accept your accomplishments or, often feel as though you’re about to be ‘found out’, this article is for you.

What Does Imposter Syndrome Feel Like?

Imposter Syndrome is a felt sense of not being enough. That often plays out not only in how you feel but also in how you think. Recurring thoughts like; “I’m not good enough” – “I’m not skilled enough” – “Others are better” – “I’m not talented enough”.

The root cause of imposter syndrome is often self-doubt. Now, all of us will be in situations where we feel out of our depth. Any time we start a new practice or hobby with others for example, but imposter syndrome is much more pervasive and affects even those activities that a person might be very familiar with.

One of the feelings to watch out for if you think you’re suffering from imposter syndrome is a sense of always being on the verge of being ‘found out.’ This can sometimes play out as a voice in your head constantly warning you that you’re about to be found out.

How To Start Challenging Imposter Syndrome

It’s important to note that imposter syndrome isn’t something that you’re born with. It’s not a diagnosis in itself either. It’s more likely that imposter syndrome is a learned behaviour resulting from excessive self-doubt and a lack of belief in your own abilities.

The good news is that you can start challenging imposter syndrome. The thoughts going through your head aren’t factual. When imposter syndrome starts affecting your thinking or even your relationships or work performance you need to start facing up to the negative thoughts.

Ask yourself questions such as; where’s the evidence that I’m not good enough? Where’s the evidence that I don’t have the talent to succeed?  It’s about learning to work with imposter syndrome rather than letting it dominate your thoughts. Start looking at things rationally and start viewing imposter syndrome for what it is: an entirely unhelpful learned pattern.

Accept that there are differences between individuals and that character traits such as ability in a given domain exist along a spectrum. Each of us develops at a different pace.

Don’t Let Imposter Syndrome Define You

When you start challenging imposter syndrome you start turning the thoughts around. It’s the process of challenging and asking questions that will help you put things in perspective and begin to see the progress you’ve made.

The process of challenging the self-doubt may even help you come up with plans for how to improve the areas that you feel you’re lacking in. Ultimately, it’s about viewing yourself from a different perspective; one where you replace the self-defeating negative narrative that comes from self-doubt with a more positive narrative that comes from a place of belief.

Patterns Don’t Always Reveal Truths

You can turn imposter syndrome around when you start building yourself up by first acknowledging that many of those thoughts that seem to come up automatically aren’t factual. 

If you take anything from this article, make it this: imposter syndrome is a pattern and those thoughts that arise aren’t factual.

I love hearing feedback from my readers and want to provide as much positivity as I can in what are such uncertain times. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, and if you want further advice and support, you can always read my books: Ten Times Happier / Ten to Zen.

Look after yourself and keep looking on the bright side. I’ll speak to you soon.


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fake face hiding showing imposter syndrome