blog post title page with title of what is imposter syndrome and where does it come from

Everyone knows what they are doing except me. I’m a complete fraud, I don’t know what I’m doing. People are going to find out that I don’t know what I’m doing. Is your mind constantly filled with these kinds of thoughts? It sounds like you might be struggling with imposter syndrome.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is an experience that affects countless individuals, even people such as Frank Lampard and Emma Watson, causing them to doubt their own skills, talents or accomplishments. It typically occurs when we hold ourselves to impossibly high standards. As a result, when we don’t meet these unrealistic expectations we can end up feeling inadequate. We often attribute any accomplishments to external factors or luck rather than our own abilities.
Understanding the causes of imposter syndrome and its connection to our own past experiences enables us to confront these and develop strategies to overcome them.  These feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy are typically linked to past experiences. There are three main past experiences that often contribute to this.

How Past Experiences Contribute to Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome can be linked to negative experiences in our past. Past experiences can shape and alter our self-image and the way that we view ourselves. There are three main experiences that are linked to imposter syndrome.

1) Childhood dynamics

Formative experiences during our childhood are often the basis of our self-image and our beliefs about ourselves. Feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy can be traced back to early experiences. Maybe we faced excessive criticism or were always compared to others. This can influence our beliefs in our abilities as we grow older

2) Academic environment

Imposter syndrome can also be linked to our experiences in academic environments are related to imposter syndrome. Self-doubt and the conviction

Now when I receive recognition for my acting, I feel incredibly uncomfortable. I tend to turn in on myself. I feel like an imposter.”

Emma Watson (Best known for playing Hermoine Granger in Harry Potter)

that we are unworthy of success can be fostered by a culture of fierce competition, comparison, and high expectations. Even a single failure or criticism can leave you feeling extremely inadequate. 

3) Workplace dynamics

Similar dynamics can be observed within professional environments. A lack of recognition, feedback, or mentorship, combined with an atmosphere of constant evaluation, can fuel imposter syndrome.

However, Imposter Is Not Just A Personal Struggle

An essential part of understanding imposter syndrome is recognising that the roots of imposter syndrome can be traced back to societal biases and, specifically, misogyny. High-achieving women, in particular, face unique challenges that contribute to imposter syndrome, perpetuated by systemic gender inequalities. Women’s achievements are often downplayed or attributed to external factors while men’s accomplishments are often celebrated without question. This can contribute to imposter feelings among women who question their competence despite their achievements.

Sometimes you are the outsider…

You might feel like an outsider, like everyone else knows what they are doing. But sometimes, this is a natural reaction to the environment that you are in. For example, if you are a woman in a male-dominated field, you are naturally going to feel like an outsider, so these feelings aren’t necessarily out of place. Therefore, experiencing imposter syndrome can be normal and it may not be your responsibility to fix the problem!

It is important though to address where your feelings of imposter syndrome are coming from. Imposter Syndrome can be particularly stubborn, deeply rooted in our past experiences and holds us back in our careers and affects our daily lives. However, addressing the root causes and implementing strategies for empowerment allows us to overcome our doubts and rediscover our true capabilities.

Ready to outgrow limitations imposed by imposter syndrome and achieve that success you deserve? Check out my Breakthrough Your Blocks Package where I can help you to unpack your feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy that are holding you back.