Imposter Syndrome: Dealing w/ the Silent Critic

I’ve been thinking a lot about Imposter Syndrome, lately.

“Imposter Syndrome” – or a pattern of thinking in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent, internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud” – is not uncommon in a corporate environment. There have been times in my career I’ve deeply felt this! But really – you don’t need to be involved in the business world to know what “imposter syndrome” is. It’s a multi-faceted non-diagnosable syndrome that doesn’t discriminate.

Imposter syndrome is caused by a combination of internal and external factors and it’s important to recognize that imposter syndrome is a common experience and that everyone feels like an imposter at times.

So, if you find yourself feeling this way… what could be causing imposter syndrome in your life?

High standards

High standards are technically a good thing because they can assist us to achieve our goals and perform at our best. These can motivate us to really put our heads down, work hard, and continually make efforts to improve ourselves. However, it’s important to recognize that high standards can also lead to feelings of imposter syndrome. Past the point of putting in maximum effort to achieve, high standards could be leading us to doubt the accomplishments that have already come to fruition in our lives.

It’s important to remember that it’s perfectly okay to have high standards – recommended, even. But it’s also paramount that we are kind to ourselves and recognize our own achievements and accomplishments. These should be celebrated! It’s important to strive for excellence, but it’s also important to recognize that no one is perfect and that it’s acceptable to make mistakes.

Comparison

Comparison can lead to a very distorted view of our own abilities and achievements. When we compare ourselves to others, we may be putting a magnifying glass on our weaknesses and flaws, and begin to overlook our own strengths and accomplishments. This can lead us to feel like we are not as competent or capable as others, and can cause us to doubt our own abilities.

Comparison can lead us to feel like we are not measuring up to external standards or expectations. When we see others achieving incredible things, it can easily feel like we are not doing enough… or that we are falling short in some way.

It’s important to remember that comparison is often an unfair and unproductive activity to partake in. Comparison ignores the unique strengths, experiences, and circumstances of each individual. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, it’s better to highlight our own personal goals and achievements in our minds. This way we can recognize and celebrate our own successes without falling into comparison behaviors.

Perfectionism

Perfectionism is the tendency to strive for flawlessness in one’s personal and professional life. While a certain degree of perfectionism can be beneficial and can help us to achieve our goals, excessive perfectionism can lead to near-crippling feelings of inadequacy.

Perfectionism sets us up for failure. When we hold ourselves to such outrageously high standards that perfection is the only acceptable outcome, we are setting ourselves up for major disappointment and failure. We can begin to feel like we are not good enough. When we are perfectionists, we may have a tendency to beat ourselves up for every little mistake or imperfection, rather than recognizing and celebrating our achievements. Constant self-criticism can lead to feelings of inadequacy and a belief that we are not as competent as others may believe us to be.

Perfectionism is neither healthy nor productive. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to be imperfect.

Lack of external validation

When we do not receive recognition or validation for our hard work and achievements, it’s easy to begin to believe that we are not as competent as we thought we were. This lack of external validation can make us feel like we are not measuring up to external standards or expectations and when we do not receive praise or recognition from others… we may begin to feel like we are not doing well enough or that we are falling short in some way.

Regardless of this, it’s critical to remember that external validation is not the only source of self-worth. Let’s instead recognize and celebrate our own achievements and accomplishments, even if they are not outwardly recognized by others. Instead of relying on external validation, it’s better to focus on our own personal goals and progress, be kind to ourselves, and celebrate our own strengths and abilities.

Unfamiliar territory

Unfamiliar territory can bring us right out of our comfort zone. We may begin to feel like we do not have the necessary skills or knowledge to succeed in the situation. For example, if someone is asked to take on a new job or role that is outside of their normal responsibilities, they may feel like they are not qualified or that they will not be able to perform as well as others.

It’s natural to feel a sense of uncertainty when we are in unfamiliar territory, and it’s normal to feel like we are not as knowledgeable or skilled as we would like to be. Instead of letting these feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt hold us back, it’s important to embrace new challenges and to have faith in our own abilities and potential to learn and grow.


By analyzing this issue in my own life and discerning which of these is causing this pattern of thinking –  I believe that it has helped me navigate those concerns in a healthier way.

Hopefully, this gives someone a pause, as well. ♥️

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4 responses to “Imposter Syndrome: Dealing w/ the Silent Critic”

  1. While reading this, few people jumped into my mind. Before, I failed to understand why they were acting a certain way. All I knew, it definitely has to do with their ‘perfectionist’ nature, but I didn’t know there was more to this syndrome than just being perfectionist.
    Thanks for sharing this with us!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! It’s always wonderful to hear that something I’m thinking about is also resonating with others. Your encouragement and support are greatly appreciated! 🙂

  2. Wow!loved it, and it really explained a lot 😁😁

    1. Thank you very much for your kind words! I’m glad you liked it!

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