February 23, 2023

Do you have imposter syndrome? What it is and how to fight it

Feeling like a fraud, undermining your experience and expertise, devaluing your self-worth. These are some examples of the ‘imposter syndrome’ which in large proportion affects women, creatives, and students. Recognizing it is the first step toward successfully overcoming it. Take our quiz to find out whether you are affected and how to fight it.

What is imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is when you feel your success is due to luck and not from your talents or qualifications. The term was coined in 1978 by Dr. Clance and Dr. Imes but has been felt primarily by women and minority groups long before.

Are you affected by imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is common among high achievers, creative people, and students. To find out whether you are affected by imposter syndrome, take the Femme Palette test.


Ways to tackle imposter syndrome:

Attributing success to luck, feeling like a fraud, and chronically comparing yourself to others are only some of the ways to define imposter syndrome. But the issue is more complex and there is no one solution-suits-all. Here are some of the ways how you can fight it.

  • Stop comparing yourself to others

You are enough as you are and you are working on your weaknesses and focusing on strengths. Read more on how to stop comparing yourself to others here.

  • Capture your accomplishments

Write down five goals and achievements you have achieved. You can use a diary, post-it notes, or a sheet of paper. Display the list somewhere visible, so you can remember what you’ve achieved and can be proud of!

  • Own your skills & talents

Stop attributing your successes to luck, skills and abilities don’t happen like that. Women especially tend to under-appreciate themselves (see the Washington Post), so think of your accomplishments and how you reached them. Was it really just luck?

  • Appreciate failure

Without mistakes, you never learn! Understand failure as a way to move forward and a natural part of an evolution. Treat yourself kindly when you fail. Maybe you are in the wrong field, maybe you didn’t have your day. Just be human and realistic about your expectations, we are all a work in progress.

  • Dream of success

If you are facing an important task or a new challenge, visualize the ideal scenario when everything goes well. Try to think of as many details as you can, so your brain starts believing it will happen. And before you know it, you have won!

Battling imposter syndrome is a long-term process. Low confidence, self-doubt, fear of failure are all problems that won’t dissolve overnight. But if you decide for change, you have passed the most difficult stage. If you need someone to hold you accountable and give you a helping hand, find a mentor to support you.

We all fear rivalry, tend to compare ourselves to others, and wear ‘masks’. But with a healthy level of self-confidence, we can learn to appreciate our value and focus less on others. Enough was of the old days when women were afraid to speak up for themselves. It is time to thrive and own your accomplishments. It is not luck, it is YOU!


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