What Is Imposter Syndrome?

Have you ever found yourself wondering ‘what is imposter syndrome’? The phrase is quite widely used, however it is often misunderstood. Read on to learn more about this increasingly common phenomenon.


What Is Imposter Syndrome?


In the simplest terms, imposter syndrome (IS) is characterised by feeling like a fraud, when this is not the case. It describes the belief that an individual’s success (such as a promotion or new job) is the result of external factors, as opposed to their talent and skills. Those suffering from IS may feel out of place and as though they do not deserve what they have.

When the term was first coined in the 1970s by Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose Clance, it was almost exclusively used to describe high-achieving women. This period saw more women entering the workforce and taking on traditionally male-dominated positions, so it is clear how this may have led multitudes of women to feel out of place.

Since then, the term has been applied much more broadly. However, mainly due to patriarchal, societal and cultural influences, it is more frequently experienced by women. IS can result in psychological distress, constant fear of failure, excessive self-regulation and crippling self-doubt. These are all things that Dr Jan’s life coaching can help with.


Do I Have Imposter Syndrome?


It is unwise and potentially damaging to seek a diagnosis online. To get a proper understanding of your well-being, you need to speak to a clinician directly. If the above description has resonated with you, it may be advisable to book in a discovery call with Dr Jan. This complimentary 20-minute appointment will allow you to discuss any concerns you may have and to ask a professional, what is imposter syndrome?


The Danger Of Misunderstanding Imposter Syndrome 


It is important to stress that we cannot offer a diagnosis online. We urge you not to self-diagnose because misunderstanding the question ‘what is imposter syndrome?’ and misdiagnosing yourself can cause further problems. 

In the most extreme cases, IS can be debilitating. It can destroy an individual’s self-esteem, and result in anxiety problems. The incorrect belief that you are struggling with this disorder may lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Should I Be Concerned?


At some point in our lives, everyone has moments of self-doubt, this is a normal and universal experience. It’s important to note that these isolated incidences should not leave you concerned and questioning ‘what is imposter syndrome?’ or whether you have it unless it is causing you emotional distress. 

In the words of psychologist Tomas Chamorro Premuzic, ‘arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent’. Feeling positive about yourself and your skills can be a good thing but hubris is negative and often misplaced. As with most things in life, it is all about finding a balance. If this is something you struggle with, Dr Jan’s 5-step BrainTuning System® can help.


Let Dr Jan Help


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