The Wrong Narrative: The Dangers of Imposter Syndrome

Do you find yourself fixated on the belief that your achievements are solely a result of luck and bravery, rather than your own abilities?

This phenomenon, known as Imposter Syndrome, is defined as persistent doubt about the legitimacy of one’s success or whether it was truly earned due to personal efforts or skills. This feeling of anxiety and lack of internal validation persists despite objective, outward indicators of achievement and success. Many women experience this phenomenon but may never openly discuss it.

Common in careers, imposter syndrome particularly affects women and younger workers, with women 72% more likely to experience it. Men and women may encounter it differently. Symptoms start around age 23 for women, with 62% rarely feeling confident. This hampers women’s careers, leading to job hesitations, missed promotions, and compensation issues. Imposter feelings relate to doubting competence, overthinking, and worrying about being inadequate.

Although it may sound linked to self-esteem, Imposter Syndrome is a complex phenomenon with multifaceted and elusive causes. Unhealthy forms of perfectionism are intertwined with feelings of being an imposter, and lower self-esteem is among the factors connecting the two.

Valerie Young, an author who delves into Imposter Syndrome, categorizes it into five distinct types:

  • Perfectionists
  • Superheroes
  • Experts
  • Geniuses
  • Soloists

And it is possible to experience elements of multiple types simultaneously.

A simple step you can take today to combat Imposter Syndrome is to remind yourself of your accomplishments, which can help alleviate the self-doubt you might be experiencing. Empowerment and action are inherently connected, influencing not just how others perceive us, but also how we view ourselves in our daily lives.

Know this: you are not an imposter. We can help you believe it. Learn more about Imposter Syndrome and how to overcome this obstacle in our event, “The Imposter Syndrome Solution: Embracing Your Confidence & Authenticity.” 

About the Expert

Audrey Halpern is a highly engaging interpersonal skills learning development/trainer/facilitator. She has helped individuals and teams for over 18 years become more self-aware and proficient. Her bespoke leadership training content focuses on skills improvement and professional development. As a distinguished faculty member of the American Management Association, she has the ability to translate complex concepts into easy-to-understand presentations; utilizes impactful “real play” activities to build confidence with essential 21st-century skills for individuals and teams to communicate be more productive, and collaborate effectively. She has a passion for making a difference.