Have you ever felt like a fraud?
Have you felt inadequate despite the outer trappings of your accomplishments?
Do you experience nagging self-doubt?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you might be struggling with “Impostor Syndrome” also called “Impostor Phenomenon.”
And you are not alone.
Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou, Sheryl Sandberg, and even Albert Einstein have had these feelings at one time or another.(1)
What is Impostor Phenomenon?
Coined by Psychologists Clance and Imes in 1978 (2), the simplest definition is “the fear of being exposed as inadequate.”(3)
Women seem to experience this more than men, and members of minority and marginalized groups can also have these feelings.
What can you do about it?
According to Dr. Gail Gazelle, a physician-coach affiliated with Harvard University, and the author of the new book, “Mindful MD,” there are four steps you can take to help you deal with Impostor Phenomenon:
1. Recognize that you are having these thoughts and acknowledge that they are just thoughts.
2. Let these thoughts pass through your mind, just like clouds pass in the sky, without attaching to the thoughts.
3. Focus on your strengths and accomplishments.
4. Build the muscle of self-compassion—Bring the same compassion to oneself that you bring to others.
With the pressures of society to excel, compete, and “look good” in both our personal and professional lives, it is understandable that many of us, including myself, will question our abilities, strengths, and self-worth.
This can take a toll on our health and well-being.
Dr. Gazelle has prepared a helpful free guide to dealing with Impostor Syndrome.
Please click on this link to receive it now. Dr. Gazelle’s Guide to Impostor Syndrome (4).
The American Psychological Assn. also has some good tips to help overcome Impostor Phenomenon. How to Overcome Impostor Phenomenon (5).
If you continue to struggle with self-worth and self-esteem issues, it may be wise to consult professional help.
I wish you a beautiful Memorial Day Weekend!
With warm regards,
2. Clance, P. R., & Imes, S. A. (1978). The imposter phenomenon in high achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 15(3), 241–247.
5. Palmer, C. (2021, June 1). How to overcome impostor phenomenon. Monitor on Psychology, 52(4). https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/06/cover-impostor-phenomenon
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