You may have heard high-achieving people like business leaders, actors, and others talk about how they sometimes feel like phonies. A part of them feels as if any minute, someone will realize that they aren’t good enough.
This is called imposter syndrome, and it is something many people experience. Imposter syndrome is a belief that you don’t really deserve what you’ve achieved.
This feeling can persist despite objective evidence that you’re well-qualified.
Signs of imposter syndrome
The following can be signs of imposter syndrome:
- You minimize your own expertise.
- You obsess over the smallest flaws.
- You think you’ll eventually be discovered as someone who is faking it.
- You are very sensitive to criticism or even helpful suggestions.
- You chalk up your success to luck or other external factors.
Overcoming imposter syndrome
Feelings of being a fraud are often deeply ingrained, but you can still move beyond them. These techniques may help.
- Talk about it. One of the best ways to overcome irrational beliefs is to talk about them with someone else.
- Challenge your thoughts. Ask yourself if your thoughts are logical—or if you are not giving yourself enough credit.
- Avoid comparing yourself. When we compare ourselves to others, we usually compare how we feel on the inside to how we perceive others on the outside. Limiting your use of social media will help you minimize comparisons.
- Keep going. Do not let your feelings hold you back. Recognize that just because you feel like you don’t belong, that doesn’t mean it’s true.
Therapy can help
If you have tried to overcome your feelings of inadequacy and are still struggling, consider therapy. A certified therapist can help you identify the causes of your beliefs, challenge those beliefs, and overcome them.