The ironic yet motivating truth about imposter syndrome

Everyone feels like an imposter

  • The workplace: Imposter syndrome causes us to consider our achievements and success to be the result of luck, not our ability or work ethic.
  • As leaders: When we feel like a fraud, our attempts to lead will be half-hearted and indecisive because we have no confidence in our abilities.
  • Our relationships: When we feel unworthy of another person’s love, we may self-sabotage or live in constant fear that they’ll discover our flaws and no longer love us.
  • In school: As students, we can let imposter syndrome silence us and keep us from asking questions that we think others will see as dumb or unnecessary.
  • While parenting: At all stages, we can often feel self-doubt and a sense of being unfit as parents because we make mistakes while raising our children.

The 5 manifestations of imposter syndrome

1. Perfectionists believe failure is fatal

2. Experts never feel ready

3. Geniuses stay on ‘easy mode’

4. Soloists think help is weakness

5. Supers try the impossible to prove they’re not frauds

How you can turn imposter syndrome into your advantage

Know that imposter feelings are misleading

  1. Working with supervisors at an investment advisory firm, Basima compared the interpersonal relationships of staff who struggled with imposter syndrome to those who did not. Basima found that ‘imposters’ were much more collaborative than their peers.
  2. In the second experiment, Basima tasked medical students with diagnosing actors who were trained to exhibit certain symptoms. Students who struggled with imposter syndrome had a superior bedside manner, demonstrating more empathy and asking patients better questions.
  3. For the final experiment, Basima compared the performance of job-seeking ‘imposters’ during an interview to other candidates. As with the medical students, the ‘imposter’ interviewees demonstrated better interpersonal skills, asked engaging questions, and provided excellent answers.

Understand that awkwardness is necessary for growth

Use self-doubt as motivation to keep trying

Find a community that supports you

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Cassidy Jakovickas

Cassidy Jakovickas

Cassidy Jakovickas is CEO of MBS Accountancy, an outsourced accounting firm that improves client profitability with prudent accounting & authentic partnerships.