While it might sound a bit crazy, sometimes even the most successful people feel as though nothing they do is good enough. If you’ve never heard of ‘impostor syndrome’ you really need to check into it.
In the past, this phenomenon or ‘syndrome’ was thought to be specific to women but research has shown that men go through it as well. Common symptoms associated with this issue according to Business Insider include worrying that your success in life has been some kind of mistake and that you are not worthy of it or that somehow everyone else in the world is more capable than you are.
Many people who feel like impostors grew up in families that placed a big emphasis on achievement, says Imes. In particular, parents who send mixed messages — alternating between over-praise and criticism — can increase the risk of future fraudulent feelings. Societal pressures only add to the problem.
“In our society, there’s a huge pressure to achieve,” Imes says. “There can be a lot of confusion between approval and love and worthiness. Self-worth becomes contingent on achieving.”
Other factors can also boost the odds that you feel like a phony. The experience seems to be more common among minorities, according to Clance, a clinical psychologist in Atlanta.
That’s not terribly surprising to Frederick Hives, a fourth-year PsyD candidate at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, Calif. Hives has struggled with impostor feelings throughout grad school and says he often feels like he’s progressed not on his own merits, but due to sympathy from others. As an African-American student, Hives says, “I was taught I would need to ‘work twice as hard to be half as good.’ While this instills a goal-oriented approach within me, it also keeps me feeling as though my efforts will never be enough.”
Some minority groups may be especially susceptible. A 2013 study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin surveyed ethnic-minority college students and found that Asian-Americans were more likely than African-Americans or Latino-Americans to experience impostor feelings. Interestingly, the researchers also found that impostor feelings more strongly predicted mental health problems than did stress related to one’s minority status (Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 2013).
If you are someone who seems to ‘have it all’ and still you feel like you’re just not competent enough you could be dealing with Impostor Syndrome without realizing it. Impostor Syndrome comes with chronic doubt and is much more common than you might assume. According to the Harvard Business Review, some researchers have linked it with perfectionism and the more you dive into research on it the more sense it makes that lots of people would be facing it.
To learn more on Impostor Syndrome and what it entails please feel free to click here or take the time to check out the video below. Could you have this without realizing it? I for one think it is something that we should all work to be more aware of.