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ARTICLE: Introducing Impostor Syndrome

Woman wearing a disguise

“Of all the judgements we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves.”


How often do you find yourself…

  • Ignoring a lifetime of compliments.

  • Thinking you’re the only one who is still faking it till they make it.

  • Thinking that you have nothing worthy to contribute.

  • Ignoring praise and letting your insecurities grow.

  • Comparing yourself to others.

  • Thinking that you are the odd one out.

If you’ve ever worked hard to hit a goal or reach a big accomplishment only to be overcome by a feeling of, “You don’t deserve this,” or “You’re not going to hit this!” “You are not a buddy/a leader of the future/a manager/an innovator” you have experienced Impostor Syndrome.

Impostor Syndrome is the feeling of unworthiness for a goal or accomplishment or title and is a toxic mind-set that can sabotage some of the most high-performing individuals.

Man with censorship strip over his eyes.

In 1978 clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes coined the term "impostor phenomenon” referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalise their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud", or as it’s more commonly called, Impostor Syndrome.

Common symptoms include worrying that your success in life has been the result of luck or some kind of error and thinking that everyone around you is more intelligent than you.

For years, the scientific community believed that the phenomenon was largely confined to high-achieving women. But many of those same researchers are beginning to realise that feeling like an impostor is a more universal experience and that it could be even more problematic for men.

When you know other people feel like you do, it takes the pressure off (well, at least temporarily...) – the first step to overcoming ‘Impostor Syndrome’ being SELF-AWARENESS.

Almost everyone experiences ‘Impostor Syndrome’ – if you would like to understand more about how this phenomenon impacts YOU, score yourself according to the CLANCE IMPOSTOR PHENOMENON SCALE (CIPS)


POWERFUL COACHING QUESTION: How would you describe yourself if you were being as kind and generous to yourself as you are to your friends and colleagues?


Ready to stop being an impostor?

Find out how we can help you overcome impostor syndrome and other barriers by visiting the Work With Us page.

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