Imposter Syndrome or Imposter Phenomenon

In my 18 years of emailing my Meaningful Moments Imposter Syndrome or Imposter Phenomenon has received the greatest interest. The syndrome refers to “individuals believing they are intellectual frauds and underestimating their competence and abilities, despite objective evidence of high achievement”

I was on a Continuous Professional Development session on Imposter Syndrome (IS) last November (even at my great age!) led by Helen Brooks. Helen has an excellent website which tells you what the triggers are, coping mechanisms and how organisations can help their people, so I won’t go into that now. Maybe it has helped me in life not really considering myself intellectual in the first place and not being afraid to make mistakes. IS/IP seems to impact people who are bright and apply more pressure on themselves. The critical friend in their head has very high standards.

Helen pointed us in the direction of a number of articles that deeply go into the subject which is too much detail for me! This is probably another reason why IS/IP does not impact me too much. The Clance IP scale from the book The Imposter Phenomenon: When success makes you feel like a Fake (pp20-22) by PR Clance is an interesting test where I scored 48 which shows I have a moderate IP experience. It impacts me at times of being made redundant or family Christmas quizzes which are definitely not my forte.

I wonder what you would score?!

Generally, my scores were low except for the following:

  • I have often succeeded on a test or task even though I was afraid that I would not do well before I undertook the test/ task.
  • I can give the impression that I’m more competent than I really am.
  • I avoid evaluations if possible and have a dread of others evaluating me (even more as I get older!)
  • I often compare my ability to those around me and think they maybe more intelligent than I am.
  • If I’m going to receive a promotion or gain recognition of some kind, I hesitate to tell others until it is an accomplished fact.

What are the dangers of IP/IS – It might hold you back, possibly not asking for the next job but clinging onto the old one. 70% of people suffer from IP/IS at some stage of their lives. Many celebrities and perceived successful people have fought through this to get to the heights they have.

If you believe you suffer from IP/IS, do some research and have a look at Helen’s website and try the Clance IP Scale. Don’t let negative mindsets get in the way and by all means get in touch with me to ensure your future is not blocked by negative internal feelings.

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