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What Is Imposter Syndrome & Do You Have It?

What Is Imposter Syndrome & Do You Have It?

Your greatest fear is not being a fraud; it’s being discovered

 

 

Have you ever presented in front of an audience that afterwards congratulated and praised you, yet you still questioned your own abilities? Have you ever felt guilty for getting promoted ahead of your colleagues, even if your boss said you deserved it most? And have you ever passed a test with flying colors and still worried you might fail the class?

 

Congratulations, you’re part of 70 percent of the population that has (at one point or another) fallen victim to Imposter Syndrome AKA Imposter Phenomenon. And this, my dear, is for you.

 

imposter-syndrome-meme

 

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Forty years ago, psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes theorized the idea. At the time, their study focused mainly on the belief that women suffered from Imposter Syndrome, which is the thinking that all of one’s successes are the result of luck and not actual competence.

 

For five years, Clance and Imes studied 150 highly successful women. They were PhD-holders and respected professionals who constantly did well in standardized tests and were praised by their colleagues and superiors. But for some unknown reason, most of these women never experienced an internal feeling of success.

 

They were just bullshitting their way through

 

They saw women who got into a highly-competitive graduate course and reasoned a mistake of the admissions office. They got an outstanding mark on a test that most others failed and reasoned guessing their answers. These women held high-level positions and worried their skills were being overestimated. In their heads, they were just bullshitting their way through the entire process.

 

Over the years, it was (of course) discovered that Imposter Syndrome was not exclusive to the the female population. It turns out, even seemingly egotistical men sometimes doubt themselves.

 

What a lovely idea. But why does it happen?

Look, there’s no single reason why Imposter Syndrome exists and why people suffer from it. Psychologist have correlated it to personality traits like anxiety and neuroticism, while others believe it’s mostly rooted on family or behavioral facts.

 

imposter-syndrome-asian-parent-meme

 

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Valerie Young, who is considered an expert on the subject has categorized Imposter Syndrome into give different subgroups: The Perfectionist, The Superwoman/man, The Natural Genius, The Rugged Individualist and The Expert.

 

Simply put, this is what goes on in their heads:

 what is imposter syndrome the-superwoman-man what is imposter syndrome the-perfectionist what is imposter syndrome the-natural-genius what is imposter syndrome the-rugged-individual what is imposter syndrome the-expert

 

Is there a way to correct Imposter Syndrome?

The answer is yes, but—like most things—it’s easier said than done. Those in the know advice others to be conscious of their thoughts and ask: Is this helping me or hindering me? After all, Young explains that the only difference between some that experience and don’t experience Imposter Syndrome is how they deal with a challenge. As she said, it’s about learning to value constructive criticism and getting over the fear of asking for help.

 

We told you it’s easier said than done, but there is something easier. According to Young, talking with mentors and friends helps, too, especially if they’ve been through the same thing or were with you during the process. These people are capable of giving you the reassurance you need.

 

But how do you know if you experience Imposter Syndrome?  

Pauline Rose Clance put together a test to help you with this little head scratcher. Just remember, whatever your result is, it doesn’t mean the end of the world.

 

1. I have often succeeded on a test or task even though I was afraid that I would not do well before I undertook the task.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

2. I can give the impression that I’m more competent than I really am.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

3. I avoid evaluations if possible and have a dread of others evaluating me.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

4. When people praise me for something I’ve accomplished, I’m afraid I won’t be able to live up to their expectations of me in the future.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

5. I sometimes think I obtained my present position or gained my present success because I happened to be in the right place at the right time or knew the right people.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

6. I’m afraid people important to me may find out that I’m not as capable as they think I am.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

7. I tend to remember the incidents in which I have not done my best more than those times I have done my best.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

8. I rarely do a project or task as well as I’d like to do it.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

9. Sometimes I feel or believe that my success in my life or in my job has been the result of some kind of error.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

10. It’s hard for me to accept compliments or praise about my intelligence or accomplishments.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

11. At times, I feel my success has been due to some kind of luck.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

12. I’m disappointed at times in my present accomplishments and think I should have accomplished much more.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

13. Sometimes I’m afraid others will discover how much knowledge or ability I really lack.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

14. I’m often afraid that I may fail at a new assignment or undertaking even though I generally do well at what I attempt.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

15. When I’ve succeeded at something and received recognition for my accomplishments, I have doubts that I can keep repeating that success.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

16. If I receive a great deal of praise and recognition for something I’ve accomplished, I tend to discount the importance of what I’ve done.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

17. I often compare my ability to those around me and think they may be more intelligent than I am.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

18. I often worry about not succeeding with a project or examination, even though others around me have considerable confidence that I will do well.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

19. If I’m going to receive a promotion or gain recognition of some kind, I hesitate to tell others until it is an accomplished fact.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

20. I feel bad and discouraged if I’m not “the best” or at least “very special” in situations that involve achievement.

1 2 3 4 5
Not true Rarely Sometimes Often Very True

 

Results:

If you scored 40 points or less, you have a few Impostor characteristics.

If you scored something from 41 to 60, you have moderate Impostor Syndrome experiences.

If you scored something between 61 and 80, you frequently have Impostor feelings.

If you had a score of 81 and higher, you have intense IP experiences.

 

 

Art Alexandra Lara.

About The Author

Her Economics background is super helpful in her day-to-day life. She likes writing about film, television, hugot stories, drinks and people.

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