Common Purpose / 18 June 2024

Quick To Slam Imposter Syndrome? Here’s The Side Of It No One Talks About

Like many things in life, there’s often something good to be found in the so-called ‘bad’ – and imposter syndrome is no different. Here, we take you through the real impacts of imposter syndrome – they might surprise you.

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“I don’t believe in imposter syndrome.” 

Heard that phrase? Same, multiple times! It’s for a pretty clear-cut reason. Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you’re not good enough, despite clear cut evidence that you, in actual fact, very much are. It’s prevalent in the workplace, and you’ll no doubt have experienced feelings of this, or at least know someone who has, over the course of your career.

Because of this, it’s easy to see why people want to fight the feelings of imposter syndrome quick smart. Some people even go so far as to say it shouldn’t, and actually simply doesn’t exist. How can you feel like a fraud when you’re simply… not a fraud?

But like many things in life, there’s often something good to be found in the so-called ‘bad’ – and imposter syndrome is no different. Here, we take you through the real impacts of imposter syndrome – they might surprise you.

The bad part: It knocks your confidence

Imposter syndrome is a big culprit when it comes to low self-confidence in the workplace. People who struggle with feelings of imposter syndrome often doubt their abilities and feel inadequate, despite clear evidence that they are worthy of their place. Persistent self-doubt can be a major block when it comes to opening yourself up to new opportunities, connecting with others and growing in your career. As a result, you might feel isolated and stuck, which can take a toll on your mental health.

The good part: Improvement is a requisite

Interestingly, when we are faced with strong feelings of self-doubt we often feel the need to overcompensate for our actions. When this is harnessed well this can actually motivate us to strive for excellence, working harder to prove ourselves. When we do this (and likely excel given we are actually good enough in the first place!) it might also become clearer to you that what you’re feeling is indeed imposter syndrome – this step in self-awareness is big, and important!

The bad part: You miss out on opportunities

When you feel inadequate in any given role, the idea of tackling challenges and bigger tasks can feel like a personal Everest. As a result, you might avoid them altogether, stagnating your personal growth and missing out on great opportunities.

The good part: You become more comfortable with vulnerability

When you are able to acknowledge your imposter syndrome, and even embrace it to push harder and achieve more, you are subconsciously embracing your own vulnerabilities. In your working life, being vulnerable can be hugely beneficial – it enables you to become better connected and in tune with your co-workers, and it helps you to become more aware of your own boundaries and limitations – an important feat if you want to avoid burnout.

The bad part: It can have an impact on your wider team

Struggling to accept praise or constructive feedback yourself, while seeing others wholeheartedly accept and embrace the same can be difficult when dealing with imposter syndrome. It can lead to feelings of resentment and jealousy, which may cause strain between yourself and colleagues, impacting your ability to collaborate effectively on the work you’re doing.  

The good part: It encourages empathy

Imposter syndrome can have an impact on us all in some way, so recognising how it’s impacted you, and subsequently understanding how it impacts others – even the most decorated, accomplished individuals, can forge empathy and humility between you and them. This shared experience can strengthen your relationships and cultivate an environment where individuals feel comfortable seeking help and offering support to each other.

In effect, these ‘bad’ and ‘good’ parts of imposter syndrome are an important reminder that every hurdle, every challenge, and every stumble on our career journey has something to teach us, and something that can make us even better and stronger than before – you just have to pay enough attention to it.


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