Learn How To Get Rid Of Impostor Syndrome And Achieve Success

Learn How To Get Rid Of Impostor Syndrome And Achieve Success

Imposter syndrome — also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome — is a concept in clinical psychology. It describes a condition in which high-performing individuals are unable to realize the value of their achievements.

That is, they fail to realize the value of their actions and develop a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. This term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes.

They observed that some people, despite the evidence of their capabilities, remain convinced that they are frauds and that they do not deserve the success they have achieved. Therefore, any proof of success is dismissed as a stroke of luck, good timing, or as a result of tricks and lies.

According to those who suffer from this syndrome, everyone else just overestimates their intelligence and competence. For this reason, even when faced with concrete proof of their abilities, they remain with a feeling of inadequacy, as they tend to find pretexts to sabotage their success.

Therefore, impostor syndrome is felt internally as chronic self-doubt and a persistent inability to reward yourself for success. As a result, the person feels that they are not a successful, competent, and intelligent student or employee.

Instead, she thinks she created a character that people believe in, but that doesn’t portray reality. It’s like in the Dorian Gray novel, in which the portrait actually ages, but the protagonist remains young-looking.

However, those with impostor syndrome believe that their image of others is perfect, while they see themselves as someone without true qualities. In this way, people with the syndrome begin to develop a feeling of chronic non-belonging to the environment in which they work or study.

Over time, they can’t sleep, become paranoid, and drop out of the company or college. In the worst cases, they may develop depression and generalized anxiety disorder.

If you identify with this description, continue following our post, as we will explain this condition in detail. Good reading!

Understand what impostor syndrome is

Every psychological disorder presents itself uniquely in each individual. For this reason, impostor syndrome can have different characteristics, but, generally, we can always find one of these three thoughts in SI:

Feeling like a fake

In the most common trait of impostor syndrome, the individual has the belief that success is undeserved — they believe they have cheated or cheated the system. Thus, many professionals believe that they got the promotion because they pretended to be exemplary employees for their management.

Then, the unjustified fear of being discovered arises, as the “low quality” of his work will reveal who he is. This behavior has a narcissistic trait in which the person believes that they can deceive everyone with their natural ability to persuade and act.

In moments of emotional crisis, we often hear these people say: “I may give the impression that I am more competent than I really am” or “I am often afraid that others will discover how incapable I am”.

Attribute success to luck

Another aspect of impostor syndrome is the tendency to attribute success to luck or other external reasons other than one’s abilities. Someone with such a feeling would refer to an achievement by saying: “I was just lucky this time”, “it was a stroke of luck” or “Next time, I won’t be so lucky and you will see how bad I am”.

Then this person begins to feel a constant fear that the streak of luck will eventually run out. Given this, in his imagination, everything that was achieved will be lost.

Minimize success

Unlike most individuals, SI sufferers begin to make excuses to justify their success. It is never due to your skills or your effort. After being the only one to reach sales targets, for example, the person with the syndrome will say: “I got buyers with a lot of money” or “I got good customers”.

See also  Mastigophobia (punishment phobia): Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Over time, colleagues begin to say that he has false modesty, because, unlike this individual, they can perceive his value. As this occurs, anxiety increases, as the feeling of not belonging there increases. Thus, he finds himself constantly changing jobs.

Unfortunately, the enormous competitiveness of the job market can lead us to an endless series of bad thoughts. After all, we are often led to believe that we can always be better instead of accepting our current success. In impostor syndrome, this sensation is experienced intensely.

Therefore, I often say: that the most difficult task we have in our hands is to believe that the success of the present moment is enough. It’s very easy to sabotage happiness and satisfaction: just project them into the future. Some bosses, to keep us productive, encourage this inappropriate thinking. However, believe me, this is not true!

Discover the risks of impostor syndrome

Due to these characteristics, there is a very high risk that impostor syndrome will cause the following conditions:


Anxiety is a very common psychological condition. It is believed that many of us will suffer from it at some point in our lives. However, in impostor syndrome, it can become a very uncomfortable disorder. Due to the constant fear of being discovered as a fraud, several symptoms may arise.

The most common is restlessness: the individual cannot calm down in any situation and any stimulus can trigger a nervous crisis. So, when the boss arrives to talk to him, tremors begin to appear, the heart accelerates and breathing becomes labored.

Several thoughts will appear in his mind without justification: “I’m going to be fired”, “I’m going to get a warning” or “he’s going to expose what a fraud I am in front of the whole world”.


Depression is a complex illness that develops slowly. In it, the feeling of sadness is constant, even when we have reason to be happy. Over time, we lose the pleasure of all daily activities and end up too unmotivated to get out of bed.

Imposter syndrome can predispose individuals to depression. If you never value yourself for your successes, it becomes practically impossible to find motivation to continue with your routine. You will become a robot, doing everything to please others and never yourself.

It’s like looking in the mirror and seeing nothing. Remember: success is only worth it to satisfy us. When we seek it to please other people, we live in a spiral of suffering.

Frequent job changes

The story is always the same: with their natural abilities, the person with impostor syndrome begins to gain prominence. Because he doesn’t recognize his role in achieving his success, he begins to believe that he has somehow cheated the system.

Then paranoia sets in: at any moment, your boss will discover your fraud. His colleagues have already realized who he is and look at him the wrong way all the time. Luck will not come next time and then he will finally be unmasked. Is obvious. Fulano is already telling Ciclano that he is next on the dismissal list.

So, with these thoughts, it becomes impossible to stay in any job. Therefore, before they discover the supposed hoax, he resigns. In this way, people with SI are unable to develop a satisfactory career and accumulate frustrations.

Untapped potential

Afraid of being seen as an impostor, people with the syndrome may perform tasks that are beyond their ability. After all, he doesn’t want to be discovered. Furthermore, as he believes that his innate abilities give him an undeserved position, he tends to hide the best of himself.

So they settle for a mediocre life when they were made for success!

Learn how to get rid of impostor syndrome

Living this way can be daily torture, but you can take some steps to get rid of impostor syndrome. Check out:

Free yourself from your ego

We often feel like a fraud when we think we are more important than we are. When you feel like a fraud, you hold yourself to some standard of perfection that never actually existed.

So let go of thoughts that overestimate your importance, this will help you feel less like a fake. Sometimes we put ourselves in a position where we believe all eyes are on us. This is not true. We are not the center of the world! When we realize this, life becomes much fuller.

Accept that you played some role in their successes

Sometimes we feel like frauds because we are “unable to internalize our successes.” We believe that we were given an opportunity that other people were not. So nothing we got after that one chance was deserved.

See also  Who is Abraham Maslow?

Therefore, always remember: there are many people born with a silver spoon, but who managed to lose all the advantages that life gave them. Just the fact that he made good use of all his opportunities is already worthy of note. After all, chances come to those who expose themselves to them.

Unfortunately, the world is not entirely fair. Some people are born in better conditions than others. However, this does not justify sabotaging your success: you certainly did something to get where you are. Believe me: bad choices present themselves to everyone, regardless of their luck.

This way, success is never free. Our actions always play a big part in what we achieve. The temptation to discount this fact is great, but we cannot give in to it.

Focus on providing value

When we feel like a fraud, we are only concerned with our feelings. After all, we do not perform that task to contribute to the company’s growth but to obtain personal recognition. Thus, thoughts arise, such as:

  • “What will they think of me?”;
  • “If I fail, they will avoid me”;
  • “I don’t know as much as this other guy, I have no right to say anything about the matter.”

The quickest way to overcome these feelings is to focus on providing value. Therefore, when someone fights our suggestions, we shouldn’t take it personally — since everyone is joining forces to present the best results for the company.

Keep a file of people saying nice things about you

Diaries are a technique from cognitive behavioral psychology to help people understand their progress during treatment. This way, instead of focusing on the negative things that occur daily, you will be able to notice your small achievements.

Therefore, it is not worth writing the negative points in this diary, only the positive ones. The idea is that after a bad day, you can read your notes and realize the value within yourself.

People with impostor syndrome very easily forget what they did well but remember all their failures. You can’t live a life like that! We all fail at all times, but we also succeed. It is therefore necessary to focus on the positive side of things!

Stop comparing yourself to others

When we compare ourselves to others, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that “so-and-so’s life is so much better.” However, believe me: no life is better than another. We all face difficulties!

The grass may even look greener on the other side, but that’s a matter of perspective. If you ask him about it, he will point out a thousand flaws. So turn off Facebook! Get off Instagram! Stop reading biographies about “successful” people! Learn to respect your own experience. You are not a fraud, you are just you. End.

Say “this is Impostor Syndrome”

Another incredible technique in cognitive behavioral psychology is the identification of disorders. So when thoughts that you are a fraud arise, simply think “that’s imposter syndrome.” Immediately, you’ll notice that everything becomes a little less terrible.

This way, you will always be able to remember that this thought is due to an inconvenience and not reality.

Remember: Being wrong doesn’t make you a fake

The best football players always miss a goal. The most famous companies declare bankruptcy from one moment to the next. Presidents are wrong about things all the time. The best football teams inevitably lose (remember 7×1?).

Losing is just part of the game. Losing means you at least tried, while many stand still waiting for opportunities to fall into their lap. So don’t glorify failure! It is just part of the path. One of the most attractive qualities in a person is their acceptance of their flaws.

Accept yourself

By “accept yourself” I don’t mean that you should give in and give up on improving. Never! However, when we fail, we must recognize that that was the best we could do at that moment. We cannot martyr ourselves for something we cannot change.

So, believe me: you deserve exactly everything you achieved. If you can transmit this feeling to other people, success will come naturally. However, if you are unable to admit this to yourself, the feeling of being an impostor will never leave you.

Know the signs of impostor syndrome

You have difficulty accepting compliments

Many people are simply not good at accepting compliments as they are very shy. However, this does not mean they suffer from impostor syndrome. These individuals have trouble internalizing their success, as they are unable to associate positive characteristics with themselves.

They are troubled by a pervasive feeling that they are not worthy of the praise they receive—and this is not a demonstration of false modesty. They don’t believe they deserve the credit they are getting.

See also  15 Types Of Friends

You think everything is very easy and that anyone else could do it

I have a client who is great at everything related to technology. She can write complex codes, design websites, repair computers, and do a million other things in the technology world. I think she’s amazing! She, however, thinks that even a baboon could do what she does.

After all, when you know what you’re doing, everything seems easy. And it is — for you! However, what is simple for you may not be simple for someone else. After all, we have different skills that are valued in different ways.

Because we believe our natural abilities should be unremarkable, we devalue our gifts and emphasize our flaws. So, accept yourself as the whole human being that you are — with different gifts and flaws.

You feel a compulsion to be the best

Many people who suffer from imposter syndrome stand out throughout their lives. It was the students with the highest grades, with the best classifications in the selection processes, who heard praise everywhere.

As we advance in the job market, we compete with people at a similar level to us, as others have already fallen behind. However, instead of realizing this, you start to think that you were lucky to be there and that there were many better competitors than you.

On the other hand, you see your other colleagues as extremely deserving. With this, the thought arises: “I shouldn’t be here, all these people fought to reach this position, I’m a fraud”. What is not true?

You are often described as a perfectionist

This characteristic goes hand in hand with the compulsion to be the best, constituting the famous Superman syndrome. In it, people do not accept intermediate results and imperfections. Only the infallible is acceptable.

Only then do they consider that they did a good job, otherwise they see themselves as a failure. Everything is 8 or 80! Unfortunately, not even in the world of comics, superheroes are perfect. So let go of those impossible standards of perfection. They are just a form of sabotage.

You think it has to be hard to be worth it

Many people received a very rigid education — which conditions love and affection on performance and merit. This contradicts the child’s expectation of unconditional love.

So, since their love and approval mean everything to us, we think we have to fight for everything worth having in life. In fact, this has a very negative effect: we complicate many tasks to believe in their value. However, this is an exhausting habit. This is the time to stop!

So forgive your parents. They were doing their best and applying what they were taught. Freud, Lacan, and other important psychoanalysts described countless cases of parents who simply replicated what they suffered during their upbringing. Now it is, therefore, your turn to break this cycle.

Do you have a plan B ready for “when you get caught”

Successful people who admit to having suffered from impostor syndrome always report a constant internal monologue with all-or-nothing thoughts. “If this project doesn’t work out, I’ll go back to college and change career” or “I’ll start a new business and not depend on anyone” are some of the constant imaginary statements.

This Plan B works to calm the mind in moments of high anxiety. However, the best way to deal with this problem is to accept that failure is inherent to any project, no matter how good it is.

You always look for compliments, despite not accepting them

“Impostors” have little self-confidence, so they are not able to reward themselves for good work. Thus, they begin an endless search for other people’s praise to say what they cannot say to themselves. However, when they hear any compliments, they immediately dismiss them.

On the other hand, if they hear a defect, they maximize it to the extreme. Therefore, you do not need to become a hostage to your condition. Human beings are very adaptable and, with willpower, we can change everything that bothers us.

However, to do this, you must be kind to yourself. We are a constellation of defects and qualities and we must accept ourselves that way. Imposter syndrome may impose high standards, but you have the potential to overcome any adversity.

For this, accept yourself! Live fully! All the success that comes to us is deserved! Make this proposal for your year! This way, your career will take off naturally without the feeling that you are in the wrong place.

And then? Did you identify with the text? Do you constantly feel like an impostor? Tell your story here in the comments. Let’s walk together towards personal growth!


BUZZBONGO  we are here to serve society through a virtual environment that enables people who wish to develop their personal and professional skills in fields related to finance ,administration, business and the economy to share and acquire knowledge.