Whether you can label the feeling or not, chances are, you’ve fallen victim to imposter syndrome before. After all, if the incomparable Maya Angelou has admitted to feeling the weight of imposter syndrome, there’s no doubt that this odd little neurosis has clouded the minds of many others.
Also known as imposter phenomenon, this affliction was first described by psychologists Dr. Pauline Rose Clance, and Dr. Suzanne Imes in the 1970’s. At the time, the study on imposter syndrome concluded that it was more prevalent amongst women. A recent exploratory study, however, has made an important distinction: that whilst women were most certainly more likely to report that they felt a sense of imposter syndrome — particularly in male-dominated industries — men were just as susceptible.
The one thing that remains the same as when Dr. Clance first identified imposter phenomenon is that this syndrome tends to target perfectionists and high achievers who struggle to internalize and own their successes. They often attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to ability, and fear that others will eventually unmask them as frauds.
Although imposter syndrome isn’t officially listed as a diagnosis in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” a handbook used in the United States as an authoritative guide to diagnose mental disorders, psychologists have acknowledged that it is a very real form of self-doubt. By definition, most people with impostor feelings suffer in silence, says Dr. Imes. That’s where this video comes into play. What can we do to take a productive step forward in tackling this pervasive feeling of self-doubt and fraud known as imposter syndrome? This video provides a neat little summary of just that!
For what it’s worth, it is widely acknowledged that true imposters don’t suffer from imposter syndrome (*cough cough* Elizabeth Holmes), so if you do feel self-doubt creeping in at any point, know that this is probably a good sign! At the same time, also remember that life is a test of resilience, and resilience comes from overcoming that which we weren’t sure we could overcome. And that, friends, does take a certain amount of self-doubt and recalculation.