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How You Can Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

imposter with a mask on working on a laptop


Ever heard of this term? No? Let me break it down a bit for you. So you know that feeling when you are about to start something new, put work out, or say get on stage and then you get overwhelmed by feelings of not being good enough. That simply is imposter syndrome.

Healthline defines Imposter syndrome as “feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.”

Impostor Syndrome also makes you feel like a fraud and this is quite sad because you have the skills; you have the training and you even have the experience, so why should you feel this way? The desire for excellence can sometimes lead to perfectionism and over time, Impostor Syndrome is being groomed silently.

First of all, understand that feeling this way is normal. It happens to every time, one, especially creatives and professionals across different fields. What you shouldn't let become normal is this feeling that gets the best of you. This feeling was once thought to affect women who are making strides in their careers until researchers found out it affects both genders and we find it across many sectors.

Causes of Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome can have a wide variety of causes for different people. However, the 3 causes listed below are some of the most common causes and they are:

1. Fear - Fear is one major cause of feeling like a fraud. The fear of failure, the fear of what happens next, the what-ifs questions. Impostor Syndrome can start off from feeding on our fears until we do not do the one thing we ought to do.

2. Burnouts - Burnouts happen after you have over-exerted and overworked yourself. You are no longer interested in what you do, then you postpone and procrastinate, waiting for when next you get a spark of inspiration to work. Only that when this happens, you feel you are no longer in tune with your skills and you lose confidence. Break from work is good but a break from experiencing burnout can leave you less confident in your abilities.

3. Comparison - Constantly comparing yourself to another person can lead to feeling like a fraud. Especially when you are a starter or you want to pivot to the next stage. Comparison will only devalue your work and effort. You feel you haven't done enough. Remember not to compare your early days to the number of years a person has spent in that field. It will only affect your rhythm.

Symptoms of Impostor Syndrome

What are the signs of Impostor Syndrome? How do you recognize this fraud-like phenomenon? Some common symptoms of impostor syndrome include the following:

1. Self-doubt

2. Unrealistic measurement of skills and abilities.

3. Not believing your success belongs to you.

4. Self-criticism

5. Fear of failure.

6. Setting unrealistic goals

7. Overworking

Types of Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome occurs in different categories. They are:

1. Perfectionist feeling

2. The Superhero feeling

3. Expert feeling.

4. The Genius

5. The Soloist

These types are clearly expressed in individuals who are unsatisfied regardless of the job done, those who feel the need to be constantly under pressure to perform, those who are not satisfied with the current skill level, those who set unrealistic goals to be achieved, and those who work alone. They are the perfectionist, the superheroes, the experts, the genius, and the soloist, respectively.

How to deal with Impostor Syndrome

It is one thing to know that there's such a thing as Impostor Syndrome and it is another to manage it effectively. I'd be sharing a few tips on how to deal with Impostor Syndrome.

1. Recognise that it affects you. See the problem, know that something is happening. Once you recognize this feeling, the journey to not being controlled by it has started.

2. Stop making comparisons. Recognize that you didn't get to where you are by luck or happenstance. It results from the work you put into your craft and skills. Also, recognize the effort the other party put into their work. Discover ways you can learn from them instead of pulling yourself down.

3. Take breaks when necessary. This is to prevent burnout. Plan your time effectively, so you know when a break is needed and you don't crack under pressure.

4. Stop making excuses - Realize when you are out of balance or making mistakes at work. This will help you be truthful and accountable to yourself. It will also help you recognize long-term when you're out of touch with yourself. Excuses stop you from learning. They also stop you from realizing when there's an actual error and when the feeling of error is faux.

5. Learn to celebrate your wins. There's no such thing as a small win. Wins are wins. Appreciate and celebrate yourself. Even make a list of your achievements and accomplishments.

6. Set well-defined goals - Don't burden yourself with large expectations. Set short-term and SMART goals. Let your short-term goals grow into medium-term goals and, eventually, long-term goals. It helps you keep track and not get overwhelmed.

7. Accept that you are on a journey. You're not perfect. In fact, perfection is a myth. You're a work in progress, working from where you are to where you want to be. Also, see failure as an experience to learn from and not something that should shred your spirit.

8. Take social media breaks. The media influences the way we perceive value, especially self-value. Do a social media detox. This will stop you from being overwhelmed.

9. Try therapy. Talk about how you feel with a professional. It will help you dissect your feelings and get out of your head. Take a step back and see from a different perspective.

10. Take baby steps. You have recognized how you feel, now, the journey towards growth. Also, learn to take compliments.


Impostor Syndrome should show you how much of a high achiever you are. It shouldn't limit you. Instead, learn how much excellence means to you. Stay above limitations. Remember that the feeling doesn't define you or control you.

About the Author

Doyinsola Olawuyi is a young, dynamic and experienced Content Developer. She takes interest in Information Management and Digital Marketing. She is a Linguist with a strong analytical ability of languages, and excellent business acumen. She is the founder of


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