Do you often feel like you don’t deserve your achievements? Does it feel like you’re “faking it” and aren’t actually as competent as people think you are? Do you feel like a secret failure and that at any moment, someone is going to figure you out?

You may have imposter syndrome. 

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual has persistent thoughts of being inadequate or a “fraud,” despite accomplishments to the contrary. For example, someone might get a promotion based on their own merit in reality, but may constantly doubt their abilities and assume that they got it out of luck. 

Common Signs of Imposter Syndrome

If you have imposter syndrome, you might be familiar with these common thought patterns: 

  • I cannot fail. If you have imposter syndrome, you might put enormous pressure on yourself to succeed. This is because if you fail, it means you’ll be “found out,” even though failure is a normal part of life. This means you can never really feel satisfied by success. 
  • I’m a fake. People with imposter syndrome don’t believe that they deserve the accolades they have received. They believe that people think they are more competent than they truly are. When they receive a job or a promotion, they may have extreme anxiety thinking that it was a mistake. 
  • I’m just lucky. People with imposter syndrome tend to credit all of their accomplishments to luck. They may deflect this way to cover up the fear that they will not be able to succeed again. 
  • It’s no big deal. If you have imposter syndrome, you might tend to downplay your accomplishments and have a hard time accepting compliments. You might be more comfortable crediting your success to good timing rather than your own merits. 

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

If you identify with the characteristics of imposter syndrome, you can address the way it impacts you. 

Recognize Imposter Feelings

The first step to making any change is awareness. Pay attention when you notice yourself feeling like an imposter, and get curious about them. Take note of what they are and when they come up for you. 

Challenge Those Thoughts

Once you have identified your imposter thoughts, rewrite the script. If you think that you don’t deserve success because you don’t know everything, remind yourself that it’s normal to not know everything, and you will learn as you go. 

Talk It Out

It’s very common for people to experience imposter syndrome. Chances are, if you were to talk to someone about it, they would be able to empathize. At the very least, talking about things makes them feel less overwhelming. 

Practice Self-Compassion

No one’s perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. The more you can accept that you are human and won’t succeed all the time, the easier it will be to take the risks you need in order to be successful. Treat yourself the way you would treat a close friend — with compassion.

If imposter syndrome is holding you back, you may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy in Palatine. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment.