Why Imposter Syndrome Affects the Most Successful People

Shivani Gopal
Oct 9, 2018 · 12 min read

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“imposter syndrome is feeling well out of your depth, yet already entrenched in the situation, internally feeling that you’re not skilled enough, experienced enough or qualified enough to justify being there. But you are there, and you have to figure it out because you can’t get out. It’s more a sensation of getting away with something and the fear of being discovered.”

The more skilled you are, the more you feel like a fraud

What the imposter syndrome feels like to the sufferers

The 5 types of imposter syndrome

Female leaders struggle more with imposter syndrome

“We have been amazed at the self-perpetuating nature… pervasiveness and longevity of the impostor feelings of our high achieving women, with their continual discounting of their own abilities and persistent fear of failure. We have not found repeated successes alone sufficient to break the cycle.”

The origins of impostor syndrome: the familial and social contract

The social contract

So how do you stop feeling like an imposter?

The clinical signs of imposter syndrome

How to combat the thoughts of imposter syndrome

Actionable strategies:

1. Remind yourself of all the things you’re good at

2. Write an ‘I DID’ list

3. Match experience and intuition with some knowledge — so you can make an informed decision on the ‘to do, or not to do’ question:

4. Simply observe the thoughts

5. Learn to value constructive feedback

6. Ask for help

7. Have a strong personal and professional network

8. Questions your current knowledge and beliefs, not yourself

9. Group therapy

10. Keep a record of positive feedback


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Shivani Gopal

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Data Driven Investor

from confusion to clarity, not insanity