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Let's discuss Impostor Syndrome 

Impostor syndrome is also known as fraud syndrome or impostor experience. These thoughts convert into a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".

For example today you might be sat in your office; you decide to come in early to make a head start on your workload and boom there it goes, the thoughts, the feelings, that reoccur daily in your mind. Impostor Syndrome is harmful to our wellbeing. The negative thinking can distort beliefs and if a person does not seek professional support and coaching, imposter syndrome can have a very severe impact.

However, there is a resolution, and with persistence, the change will come. Early this year I spoke with a gentleman experiencing Impostor Syndrome; gradually, he would walk out of meetings or overspend long periods in the bathrooms. He would often over prepare for tasks and not ask for help, and if not achieving 100%, this would cause the feeling of failure. He disclosed feeling like he did not belong in his workplace and over time, this began damaging his career.

So, what is the solution? Let's dig deeper into the main types of Imposter Syndrome.

The Soloist.

Asking for help is not something soloists need.They cannot afford to have outside help this is problematic. Doing tasks alone is the only way to go, and if help is required, this creates an opportunity to feel like a fraud. Nevertheless it is essential to understand the benefits of team work and perhaps past experiences may be causing an issue here.


Setting extremely high standards and over-stressing about being perfect. When hitting 99% of goals that have been set, that small margin of error can cause a feeling of failure thus enough to develop into questioning ones competence.

Often in this case fear is playing a significant role and if not positioned accordingly it can get out of control.

The Expert.

Every piece of information is necessary especially before starting a project, and the constant need to have further certification or training is a must. The expert must know everything not to be a know it all but because that is the feeling highlighted based on the position they are in.

The expert is often hesitant to contribute in group settings or meetings and is relectant to ask questions as feeling stupid is not an option.The expert should only need to put in minimum effort to avoid feeling like a fraud.

The SuperHero Complex.

Overworking and continuously trying to prove they are not imposters. Often becoming so stressed and feeling as though they must succeed in every area of their life.

It is not because they want to but these strong feelings and internal thoughts drive these actions.

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©2020 by Psychologists At Work.

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