What is Imposter Syndrome?

By Ladies Get Paid Founder & Author Claire Wasserman. Follow Claire for more career tips, or purchase The Ladies Get Paid book. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

Imposter Syndrome: Understanding and identifying the signs

Do you have a nagging voice in your head that says that you’re not good enough? If despite all of your success, you still feel as if it were a fluke, and that you’re not really the confident person you appear to be, you’re not alone, and you may be experiencing a phenomenon called imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome might be what’s standing in your way to achieving greatness. By combating it, we can then build a strong foundation, upon which everything else will grow. The first step to overcoming imposter syndrome is to understand how it works, and how to identify the signs.

Wondering if this is you? If you experience any of the following, congrats!

  • Dismiss your success as a result of luck or timing
  • Find yourself overworking or over-preparing
  • Undermine your own achievements
  • Suffer from an extreme fear of failure
  • Discount praise
  • Give the answers you think others want to hear
  • Dwell on mistakes and negative feedback
  • Strive for perfection
  • Struggle to speak up and/or self-advocate

I’ve talked about my personal experience with imposter syndrome often. When I traveled across the country talking to women about their challenges at work, I would get the same email after every event, which was, “I thought I was the only one struggling with this.” More often than not, women in the workforce find themselves to be one of the very few or the only woman in the room. Although this is improving, progress is slow and being the only person like you in the room adds the pressure to be perfect. Perfection becomes the baseline expectation—anything less feels like failure.

While imposter syndrome can affect anyone, women disproportionately suffer from it. This is in large part, due to how we’re socialized. We’re brought up to be the “nice girl”, to not disrupt, to be a people pleaser, and to accommodate others, sometimes even to the detriment of ourselves. This then can lead to self-doubt, to staying quiet, and sitting back.

This phenomenon can have serious consequences for your career. Suffering from imposter syndrome means you’re more likely to get burnt out, miss opportunities for career growth, and lose out on raises and promotions. And you know what? We don’t have time for that!

It’s time to say ENOUGH! Want to learn how to overcome imposter syndrome? Check out our course, taught by Ladies Get Paid Founder Claire Wasserman.

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