It is not that common to hear about the Imposter Syndrome, and when you here about it is not immediate the connection with the working environment. However, even if we have never given it a name, everybody has had, at least for a moment the Imposter Syndrome. Still, what is it? Have you ever felt like a ‘fraud’ at work? Have you ever thought that the success in your career are just down to luck? If yes, well that was the moment you experienced the Imposter Syndrome. You feel like you’re just lucky, that pretty soon, your friends or colleagues are going to discover you’re a fraud, and you don’t actually deserve your job and accomplishments. It is a real deal and we are not alone in this, it affects more of us than you probably think. The awareness of this phenomenon is spreading more and more and Work Psychologists are conducting interesting studies about this topic. These studies are important and fundamental in understanding the phenomenon because it affects people behavior, it weakends the presence of the affected person. They speak up a little less, hold back from sharing ideas, and shrank away from their genuine talent. Psychologist have estimated that 70% of people experience these impostor feelings at some point in their lives, according to the International Journal of Behavioral Science. At the beginning of these researches it was a common thought that Impostor syndrome belonged only to women but the results of different surveys affirm that Impostor syndrome affects all kinds of people from all parts of life: women, men, medical students, marketing managers, actors and executives. Today, impostor syndrome can apply to anyone “who isn’t able to internalize and own their successes,” says psychologist Audrey Ervin. Impostor syndrome expert Valerie Young, who is the author of a book on the subject, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, has also found patterns in people who experience impostor feelings:
- “Perfectionists” set extremely high expectations for themselves, and even if they meet 99% of their goals, they’re going to feel like failures. Any small mistake will make them question their own competence.
- “Experts” feel the need to know every piece of information before they start a project and constantly look for new certifications or trainings to improve their skills. They won’t apply for a job if they don’t meet all the criteria in the posting.
- The “natural genius” believes that when she/he has to struggle or work hard to accomplish something, this means they aren’t good enough. They are used to skills coming easily, and when they have to put in effort, their brain tells them that’s proof they’re an impostor.
- “Soloists” feel they have to accomplish tasks on their own, and if they need to ask for help, they think that means they are a failure or a fraud.
- “Supermen” or “superwomen” push themselves to work harder than those around them to prove that they’re not impostors. They feel the need to succeed in all aspects of life—at work, as parents, as partners—and may feel stressed when they are not accomplishing something.