I’m not a real doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. Which is good, because Impostor Syndrome isn’t a real diagnosis. It doesn’t have an ICD-9 code. You won’t find it anywhere in the DSM-V. But that doesn’t mean it’s not real. It’s very real and it can be very powerful. Powerful enough, in fact, to keep you from being brave enough to go for whatever it is you really want (eg your big, scary, sexy goal). So how do you tell the difference between Impostor Syndrome and actually being an impostor?
Impostor Syndrome is the voice in your head saying:
-I’m not good enough for _____ (this title, this promotion, this event, whatever you’re scared of…)
-If they knew who I really was, they’d know I was a fraud.
-The only reason I am here is good luck.
-Everyone will laugh at me.
-Any other self-doubting, self-loathing nugget not listed here.
It’s a fancy way of saying insecurity.
According to the literature, it’s
-Feeling like your achievements are undeserved
-Worrying you will be exposed as a fraud
…No matter how much you’ve actually achieved.
If you’re still not sure whether you have Impostor Syndrome, there’s a relatively quick, FREE test you can take online here.
Also? If you’re still reading, and you’re still not sure you have it… There’s a 99.9% chance you have it.
A true impostor- like Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me if You Can – knows they haven’t achieved anything by their own merit. A true impostor is forging checks, using a phony passport, cheating on exams, and asking their mother to pretend to be a reference for a potential employer. Seriously, I know someone who pulled her mom into her shenanigans. If you’re not doing that, you’re not an impostor. You just have Impostor Syndrome.
[bctt tweet=”While Impostor Syndrome may not be curable, it is almost always treatable.”] Stay tuned for more on how to manage Impostor Syndrome.
This is part two of a series on Impostor Syndrome, based on a talk I recently gave called “Impostor Syndrome: How to Identify and Crush It So You Can Start Living Your Best Life Today.” Check out the first part here.