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Dealing with Imposter Syndrome: Causes, Impact and Solutions

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Dealing with Imposter Syndrome: Causes, Impact and Solutions

The Imposter Syndrome: Struggling with Self-Doubt and Anxiety

“I am afraid of others evaluating me. I feel that my achievements have been the result of chance. I’m afraid that important people will find out that I’m not as capable as they think. I’m sure what I want to say will seem silly to you. Anyone can do this…” This sentiment of self-doubt and anxiety is common among those who struggle with Imposter Syndrome. Even celebrities like Meryl Streep have recognized themselves in these feelings.

First described in 1978 by American clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes, Imposter Syndrome is defined as an intense feeling of falsehood and a lack of competence felt by individuals, particularly those with high academic achievements. Studies show that up to 50% of people who have recognition live with these sensations.

Those affected by Imposter Syndrome tend to perceive themselves as playing a role that does not correspond to their actual abilities. They underestimate their competence, fear failure, and over-prepare or procrastinate as a way to cope. The feelings of being a fraud and chronic dissatisfaction often lead to high levels of stress and physical strain. Women are particularly susceptible to these feelings, especially when placed in leadership positions traditionally associated with men.

Recognizing these feelings and their triggers is the first step in managing Imposter Syndrome. It’s crucial to soften self-criticism, question language, and cultivate self-knowledge and compassion for one’s failures. Working on compulsion, accepting praise, and knowing how to enjoy what you do are also key factors in overcoming Imposter Syndrome.

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In addressing Imposter Syndrome within organizations and businesses, participatory leadership styles and mentoring can help combat these feelings. Focusing on qualities like competence and humility rather than confidence and charisma in personnel selection can reduce coercive contexts. Gender equality policies and promoting diversity in decision-making are essential measures.

Looking to the future, having role models and mentors who support women and encourage risk-taking can help combat Imposter Syndrome. It’s essential to create a support system where women feel accepted and empowered without feeling like imposters. With thoughtful interventions and support, individuals and organizations can address and overcome Imposter Syndrome.

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