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What is Imposter Syndrome?

It’s a very real thing, and chances are you know someone affected by it. Imposter Syndrome is the inability to realize that accomplishments have been earned by your own hard work and often leads to the feeling of being a “fraud”. Even evidence of these accomplishments isn’t enough to sway this notion (most common among women), and is often explained as luck, timing, deception because they don’t deserve the success.

If this is something that you’ve experienced, you’re in good company. Incredibly successful women (like Maya Angelou, Tina Fey, and Natalie Portman) have all experienced this. Stepping outside your comfort zone can be exhilarating, help you learn a new skill, and push you in ways you haven’t yet discovered. There’s nothing wrong with a little “fake it till you make it”, either.

Own your successes (and your failures). There’s always going to be something you wish you could do better, but there are plenty of things you really excel in. Own them both. If you make a mistake (or seven), learn from it and move on. And do the same with the things you succeed in. It’s easy to say that no one is perfect, it’s more difficult to hold yourself to that notion. Try anyways.

Sometimes the best route is to accept things for what they are. If you’re feeling down about your accomplishments, ask yourself if Imposter Syndrome might be the culprit. Chances are, it is, and identifying it can help you to move forward.

In all reality, does anyone know what they are really doing? Have you entered any portion of your life already being an expert? We’re all winging it (to an extent). Don’t let yourself be intimidated by peers, management, or spectators. Find a support system of someone you trust and can confide in, this can be a friend or a professional. Get brutally honest, admit both your strengths and your weaknesses and analyze them. Find some common ground and you can help each other build up your abilities and enforce the confidence that you’ve earned.