What is Imposter Syndrome, How Common Is It, & How Do I Get Rid of It?
As I was reviewing the blog posts I have already written, I noticed an interesting statistic. Out of the blog posts written the blog post, "Imposter Syndrome: 3 Tips on How to Overcome It" was the most viewed post.
And we're not talking by a couple views. It was the most viewed post between 3 to 8 times the views of other posts.
I know there is one post on this topic already. And I think diving a little deeper may be helpful for those men who are experiencing this challenge.
What Is Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is not an official diagnosis. It is that nagging feeling that you don't deserve your success, that you're a fraud, and it's only a matter of time before someone figures this out.
It's often a very irrational feeling and thought process. Yet no matter how hard you try to convince yourself otherwise, you're left with this "felt sense of being" an imposter.
Imposter syndrome is often accompanied by anxiety or depression. You may have had anxiety or depression which led to imposter syndrome. Or the imposter syndrome created anxiety or depression.
Some symptoms of imposter syndrome include:
A sense of being a fraud and fooled others into thinking you're more talented and skilled that you really are,
Fear of being discovered as a fraud,
Difficulty in owning, accepting, and internalizing success as something you deserve/created,
Credit your success to networking, luck, charm or personality, other people's misjudgment, etc.
Comparing yourself with others,
Praise may feel not too comfortable.
How Prevalent is Imposter Syndrome: You're Definitely Not Alone!
Forbes magazine has a great article on Imposter Syndrome. Forbes points out that Imposter Syndrome has been studied over the past 40 years. This is not a new phenomenon. Universities, medical research, as well as corporations have spent time trying to understand this challenge.
Forbes also points out a very powerful point that can be helpful for many men in making a mental shift. Some of the world's most confident, powerful people experienced Imposter Syndrome. Some of the names that Forbes provides include:
Maya Angelou, and
Business leaders like Sheryl Sandberg, and Howard Schultz.
So, when you feel the Imposter Syndrome and it tries to convince you that other people don't feel this way AND definitely not those who seem to be super confident, understand that Imposter Syndrome is not selective. It likes to attach itself to anyone -- confident or not.
A landmark research study carried out in the United Kingdom found that 52% of females and 49% of males reported struggling with Imposter Syndrome either "daily" or "regularly". So next time you are in a meeting, look around the room. It is likely that half of those there with you are also experiencing the same thing.
Another study from the UK indicates that 77% of people experienced imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. I believe this is very transferable data to those in the United States as well.
So Now I Know What Imposter Syndrome Is, What Can I Do About It
The first thing to really internalize is the thoughts and feelings of imposter syndrome come from the "emotional brain". The emotional brain often is irrational, illogical, and will lie to you.
Having this understanding will provide a strong foundation on which the following tips can be more effective. We will counter the emotional brain with the logical, factual brain.
1. Separate Feelings from Reality
So, you FEEL like an imposter. You may FEEL like a fraud. Those come from the emotional brain that is often irrational, illogical, and will lie to you.
What are the facts? What is the reality? You can make a list by writing it down or do so in your head.
But list your accomplishments that got you where you are today. List the skills, talents, and abilities that you have that have. List the character traits that you have that allow people to give you the trust they have given you.
And EMBRACE these successes. Let them enter every cell of your body and appreciate where your hard work and talent has gotten you.
And during the list making, avoid the "ya buts". That emotional brain will jump in with the ya buts and try to discount, dismiss, or negate your accomplishments, skills, and talents. Embrace your accomplishments, skills, and talents and appreciate how far YOU have come based on these.
Then, replay these in your mind as often as you need to when the imposter syndrome starts to rear its ugly head.
2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Imposter syndrome will often have us compare ourselves to others. We will judge our skill, talents, and abilities to those of another person.
Understand that we are each on our own unique path. That person that you may be judging yourself against? They had to start somewhere and were in the same position you are in currently at some point in their lives. They had to learn through time and experience just like you will.
We also have our own unique way of approaching things. There is almost always more than one way to accomplish something.
Just because you may accomplish differently from someone else doesn't mean it's wrong. The bottom line is that that thing gets accomplished and if it does, then you did it right.
When you have that initial thought to judge or compare yourself against another, refocus your thoughts on the list you made of all your accomplishments, talents, and skills that got you where you are at. Let that be the benchmark, not another person and how they may do things.
3. Talk With Someone About These Feelings of Imposter Syndrome
This may be one of the more powerful tips in helping you. Find someone that you trust. It can be a colleague, a friend, or a significant other.
Explore with them your feelings of being an imposter or a fraud. You can let them know that logically you know you are not. But the feeling keeps coming up and it's a pretty powerful feeling.
One thing that a trusted colleague, friend, or significant other can do is help put things in perspective. We may see our accomplishments, skills, and talents one way. They may see it a different way that is equally as positive.
They may come up with their own observations on how they see you and remind you of things that counter that imposter syndrome that you haven't thought of. Having an outsider's perspective on how they see you can add more facts or reality to challenge the emotional brain with.
4. Talk With a Counselor who Specializes in Men's Counseling
The above suggestions are coping skills. They may not take the imposter syndrome away, but they can make it much more tolerable.
If you are finding that imposter syndrome is getting in your way of applying for a job, putting your hat in the ring for a promotion, or just creating anxiety or depression in your life, talking with a counselor who specializes in men's counseling can help.
There are underlying reasons that have created the imposter syndrome. Talking with a men's counselor can help uncover those reasons. And once those reasons are uncovered, you can then resolve those underlying reasons to rid yourself of imposter syndrome.
At Katy Counseling for Men, we exist for men and to help men overcome the challenges in their lives. Our counselors specialize in men's therapy and are ready to help you today.
Don't put off getting help. Make the leap and call today. You'll be glad you did as you move forward in life without the nagging imposter syndrome getting in your way.
Katy Counseling for Men: Counselors Who Specialize in Men's Counseling Katy, TX & Houston
As men, we often want to fix the problems we experience on our own. And many times, we can.
And when it comes to things like depression, anxiety, imposter syndrome, panic attacks, anger. trauma, PTSD, and other challenges, having a coach, or a counselor who specializes in counseling men may be the best answer.
Many times, these challenges block us from being our best versions of ourselves. They also block us from achieving the success in our lives that we would like.
At Katy Counseling for Men, our men's counselors specialize in therapy for men. We also have both traditional talk therapy options and non-talk therapy options like EMDR, ART, and the very effective neurofeedback.
At our Katy, TX location of Katy Counseling for Men, we are ready to help. If you are ready to start, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Counseling for Men
Meet with one of our men's counselors
Start your journey in building a stronger future today!
Other Support Services Offered at Katy Counseling for Men: Katy, TX & Houston
At our Katy, TX location of Katy Counseling for Men, we have a variety of both talk therapy and non-talk therapy approaches in counseling for men. Below are a few of what we have to offer:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) (Talk Therapy)
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) (Not Talk Therapy)
Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) (Not Talk Therapy)
Counseling for anxiety
Counseling for social anxiety
Board Certified Neurofeedback (Brain Training)
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy
Differences in financial budgeting approaches or other financial stress