Impostor Syndrome (Phenomenon)

Three times this week someone has mentioned having impostor syndrome! So it must be time to talk about it!

Ever have the feeling you shouldn’t be included in a group and that someone will find out? THAT’s impostor syndrome. Actually it isn’t a syndrome at all. Suzanne Imes and Pauline Rose Clance coined the term Impostor Phenomenon as it isn’t actually a diagnosable syndrome. But we all have it at some point in our lives. Some of us feel it when we are new to a group or a career, or when we don’t trust our own abilities.

Having this phenomenon creates a lot of anxiety. We all experience it in a variety of ways and for some of us we may have it about one topic while the person sitting next to us is having about something else.

The antidote?

There isn’t an easy fix. For some of us it goes away once we are older and have some more experience.

As with most of these internal battles we have with ourselves, it helps to name what is going on. “I fee like an impostor” said out loud relieves some of the tension.

Have some compassion for yourself and take stock of what talents, skills and experience you bring to the situation. Make a list!

Make a note for yourself that social, racial, and gender cues make this phenomenon worse. Pay attention to the scenario you are in, even you don’t feel like the impostor!

Ask for help! I’ve posted about this before. The fear of asking for help prevents so many options for us in life. And finally, take a break when you recognize that your stress is high. By pausing it allows the fear to dissipate and creates the ability to shift your perception of what is going on.

Where do you feel you are an impostor? What evidence is there to suggest this isn’t true? How different would your experience be if you believed you weren’t an impostor? That sensation isn’t helping you! –

Impostor Syndrome - Rhoads Life Coaching

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