Last modified 30/10/14

Impostor Syndrome? Good, you’re a high achiever!

by Elizabeth Van Den Bergh

Apart from serial narcissists, super low achievers and outright crazies, no one is immune to the self-doubt that feeds Impostor Syndrome. Even celebrities like Kate Winslet, Maya Angelou and Don Cheadle experience it.

To be honest, I hadn’t heard about Impostor Syndrome until I stumbled on a few articles recently. Reading about it, I figured the impostor syndrome is a type of cognitive bias, and as you know I have a thing for cognitive biases.

Are you faking it?

When you suffer from Impostor Syndrome you (occasionally) feel like you are faking your success or you have difficulties internalising success. You say ‘I got lucky’ instead of ‘I worked hard and deserve this’.

But, and this is the positive side, if Impostor Syndrome hits you it means you are a high achiever.

Always aiming higher

The more accomplished you get, the more likely you are to rub shoulders with ever more talented people, leaving you feeling even more inadequate by comparison.

I find that a very liberating insight. Nobody else knows what they are doing so I can get away with it too!

Jokes aside, you have probably read this somewhere: ‘If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.’

The more you know, the more you know what you don’t know

So could it be that the more we move ahead in our career, the more we feel we fake it?

One thing’s for sure, it is those that are afraid and do it anyway that will move forward to greater professional adventures.


Check out these articles if you want to know more about impostor syndrome:


(Photo: peddhapati)