Imposter Syndrome: 10 Surefire Signs You’re Suffering

By amandaalexander | Career

What do Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Sheryl Sandberg and Michelle Pfeiffer have in common?

…They all suffer from Imposter Syndrome!

Each of them has been quoted as saying that they fear that they aren’t truly deserving of their success, that they are somehow not qualified and that, at some point, they are going to be found out as a fraud. Michelle Pfeiffer responded to a question about how she’d developed her acting talent with:

“I still think people will find out that I’m really not very talented. I’m really not very good. It’s all been a big sham.”

When Sheryl Sandberg attended a Harvard University speech called “Feeling Like a Fraud,” she came to the conclusion that they were speaking directly to her.

Oscar-winning Actress Kate Winslet said,

“I’d wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and think, I can’t do this; I’m a fraud.”

And highly accomplished Actress, Producer and Director Jodie Foster said,

“I always feel like something of an imposter. I don’t know what I’m doing.”

If the rich, glamorous and famous suffer from Imposter Syndrome, what the bleeping hope do we have?!

What is Imposter Syndrome, anyway?

I like this description, borrowed from the Caltech Counselling Centre:

“Impostor syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence.”

Notice the phrase “even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true.” This is the curious thing about Imposter Syndrome – the sufferer doesn’t believe the evidence in front of her (or his) own eyes.

I’m wondering if any bells are ringing already.

Here are 10 surefire indicators that you are suffering from Imposter Syndrome. You might not have all of these, but one thing is for sure, no. 10 is true, although you might deny it!

1. You tend to admire and overrate the abilities of others and underrate your own ability.
2. Others may see you as competent, but you still see yourself as incompetent
3. You have a hard time acknowledging objective measures of your competency
4. You have a hard time accepting compliments for your accomplishments
5. You discount the value of your abilities and talents.
6. You believe that everyone is capable of doing what you do, if only they tried
7. Despite repeated successes, you view each new challenge as your undoing. You believe you will be found out.
8. You attribute your successes to luck or “fluke”
9. However, you take full responsibility for all your failures!
10. You are likely to be highly capable, competent and successful in your field.

Now you have an idea of what it is and how it shows up, what’s the next step? How about a quiz?… You can download my “Imposter Syndrome Quit Kit”, where you can take a test to see if you are suffering from “Imposter Syndrome”. You’ll also learn 3 incredibly simply strategies to diminish the voice in your head that says you’ll be “found out” as a fraud!

And feel free to share the Imposter Syndrome Quit Kit with your friends!

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