Impostor syndrome

Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one’s accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck or interpret it as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be.

Impostor syndrome is known to affect both men and women.

Building upon decades of research, Valerie Young further looked into fraudulent feelings among high achievers. From her book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From the Imposter Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, she was able to identify five subgroups this syndrome often falls into:

  • The perfectionist
  • The superwoman/man
  • The natural genius
  • The soloist
  • The expert

Studies suggest that more than 70% of people experience the impostor syndrome at some point in their career.

By identifying the above competency point, steps can be taken towards addressing it. The feeling of being a fraud that surfaces in impostor phenomenon is not uncommon. It has been estimated that nearly 70% of individuals will experience signs and symptoms of impostor phenomenon at least once in their life.