Written by Trishna Patnaik | 
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Sep 01, 2020


Think of your greatest achievements in life. Are you proud of your accomplishments? Or Do you feel like a fraud?

The doubting author John Steinbeck says - 'I am not a writer. I've been fooling myself and other people.'

Does your rise and promotion or accolade brings an inner joy? Or is it accompanied by an emptiness that gives it no meaning. If you experience feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt even in your accomplishments, you may be surprised to learn that you are not alone. The higher you climb the more lonely it can get.

The self- doubts, the chance of being in the right place at the right time or just getting lucky can make you feel inadequate and almost like a fraud. These feelings are typical of a condition called 'Imposter Syndrome.'

What is Imposter Syndrome?

The beauty of the imposter syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: 'I'm a fraud! Oh God, they're on to me! I'm a fraud!' . . . just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud. - Tina Fey

Imposter Syndrome is the overwhelming feeling that you don't deserve your success. It convinces you that you're not as intelligent, creative or talented as you may seem. It is the suspicion that your achievements are down to luck, good timing or just being in the 'right place at the right time.' And it is accompanied by the fear that, one day, you'll be exposed as a fraud.

Imposter Syndrome can be linked to other feelings of self-doubt, such as fear of success, fear of failure, or self-sabotage. But it's not simply another symptom of low self-confidence or excessive humility. It involves a constant fear of exposure, isolation and rejection.

Imposter Syndrome often strikes at moments of success: starting a new job, receiving an award or promotion, or taking on extra responsibility such as teaching others, starting your own business, or becoming a first-time parent.

These feelings can inspire you to work harder, so as not to be 'unmasked,' leading to further success and recognition - and feeling like an even bigger fraud. But often, they lead to 'downshifting.' This is when you revise your goals and become less ambitious, which in turn, prevents you from fulfilling your true potential.

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