Impostor Syndrome

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-by Matt Leedham

I know some very creative, intelligent people that have had a fair amount of success in their lives. Yet, they believe that their success has been the result of luck. They may also believe that they have deceitfully convinced others of their intelligence, as if they are actually a fraud. As an outsider viewing them, it is almost alarming that they view themselves in this way because it seems so far from the truth.

Do you know anyone like this? Or have you ever felt like a fraud? Like you didn’t deserve the level of success you have achieved?

Apparently, there is an actual cognitive processing issue that results in this thinking.

Impostor Syndrome:

“The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments…

Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.” (Wikipedia)

I find this topic to be particularly interesting as I have a tendency to think this way sometimes. And as I coach more people, I find varying degrees of this thinking to be fairly common.

As a coach, certain questions come to mind to help move a client forward. For myself, it appears more complicated.

More on this soon. I have some noodling to do…

Special thanks to Jeffery at Pen vs. Paper for bringing this topic to my attention.

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