Imposter Feelings

A recent article in the Monitor on Psychology reported on the high prevalence of imposter feelings in our society, especially among those who are ambitious and who are high achievers. The majority of people believe that they haven't earned their successes . They feel like frauds and worry that they will be found out and, at best, humiliated. Hiding what they see as their flaws, they become isolated, feeling very alone. Such consequences as anxiety, depression, reduced risk-taking, and burn-out also may follow. People who belong to minorities and are in a White, conventional environment are especially vulnerable

The article listed 7 ways to manage imposter experiences:
1) Embrace the facts.-  Identify what facts support your legitimacy, such as education, years of experience, and past achievements.
2) Share your self-doubts with trusted people.- Openness reduces loneliness and allows others to be supportive.  Making connections with empowering spaces and communities may provide even more empathy.
3) Own your successes.- Don't brush off or minimize your achievements. Enjoy the congratulations of others, and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. Keep messages with positive feedback.
4) Reduce perfectionism.- Focus on progress rather than outcome. Reframe failures as learning experiences that will provide steps to a positive result. Don't assume you have to know it all.
5). Cultivate self-compassion.- Your accomplishments are not a measure of your total value. You are more than what you achieve.
6) Share your failures.- Don't hide failures. They happen to everyone and sharing them reduces the hurt and gives others the opportunity to offer understanding and perhaps suggestions for problem-solving.
7) Accept imposter feelings.- They are normative  and often reappear, especially at times of transition. They are feelings, not the whole picture.

I hope these strategies are helpful. If you want to discuss them further or if they are not enough, please Contact Me.   


Abramson, A. (2021). How to overcome imposter phenomena. Monitor on Psychology, 52(4), pp. 44-51.        

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