I decided not to post this… but here we are. I told myself it wasn’t good enough. In actuality I was just scared. A reader saved it when she emailed about her own Impostor Syndrome. I sent her this post and she responded with this:

image of an email from a reader

Well, here it goes…

[Update: Since posting this, there have been a ton of people commenting about their experiences with Impostor Syndrome, their stories might be even more helpful than the article itself. Definitely check them out.]

Here’s What We’re Covering:

What Is Impostor Syndrome?

I’m a fraud and everyone is about to find out. I feel that every time I am about to share something. I feel that right now writing this: I don’t even have impostor syndrome. That’s how bad my impostor syndrome is. I even think I’m faking that. If it’s part of my life, it’s fake. What is impostor syndrome? It’s feeling like an impostor when you’re not. Like you’re a fraud and the whole world is going to find you out.

This makes total sense for undercover agents and people selling snake oil. It doesn’t make so much sense for people who are trying to make the world a little better or to sell something they believe in.

The first step to feeling better about anything is to realize that famous people suffer the same thing. So here are some famous people with Impostor Syndrome:

“The beauty of the impostor 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!’ So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud.” 

– Tina Fey

“I still think people will find out that I’m really not very talented.  I’m really not very good.  It’s all been a big sham.”

– Michelle Pfeifer

“Sometimes I wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this.  I’m a fraud.”

– Kate Winslett

“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’ “

– Maya Angelou

Emma Watson, Sheryl Sandberg, and Sonia Sotomayor have also admitted to feeling like they’ll be found out for the frauds they are.


But wait, these are all women… Apparently this is mostly a problem for women. I don’t buy that though. I think that guys just won’t talk about it. Or at least that’s the story I’m going with. (I don’t want to be girly.) In searching for famous people with impostor syndrome I did find a couple males. Tom Hanks and Neil Gaiman (artists of course, but they’ll do):

“The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you. It’s Impostor Syndrome, something my wife Amanda christened the Fraud Police.”

– Neil Gaiman

Seth Godin wrote in The Icarus Deception that after a dozen best sellers he still feels like a fraud all the time. (I have a sneaking suspicion that Tim Ferriss suffers from it too, just saying.) This problem is only getting worse as more of us rely on our online presences. We’re in this weird culture where you’ve got to sell yourself aggressively while remaining “authentic”. You think you need to be perfect but you also need to feel free to fail. You need to be yourself and more! It’s all set up to make you feel like a fraud. At the end of this post I’m going to issue a challenge. If you don’t feel like reading anything else, skip down and do the thing with me! Here are the ways I keep going when I feel like a fraud:


21 Ways To Overcome Impostor Syndrome

1. Come off it. Usually I feel like a fraud when I think I’m more important than I am. When you feel like a fraud it’s in relation to some perfection that never actually existed. Letting go of some of your excess self-importance will go a long way in helping you feel less like a fake.

2. Accept that you have had some role in your successes. We feel like frauds because we are “unable to internalize our successes”. We were given an opportunity that others weren’t. And so nothing we achieve after that opportunity was actually deserved.

John D. Rockefellar’s oldest son suffered that bad. His entire life’s work was giving away money that his dad made. Can you imagine the intense impostor syndrome he must have felt? Holy moly.

There are plenty of people born with a silver spoon that still manage to f*#$ up. They were given every opportunity and never could take advantage of them. Opportunities come to those who expose themselves to them.

It’s not all “fair”, not at all. But you did do something to get where you are. You said yes when you could have said no (or, maybe more challenging, you said no when you could have said yes.)

3. Focus on providing value. I feel like a fraud when I’m concerned about myself. What will they think of me? If I fail they’ll shun me. I don’t know as much as that other guy, I have no right to say anything on the topic. Blah blah blah. The fastest way to get over feeling like a fraud is to genuinely try to help someone else

This is hard because what if they hate you for it? What if they make fun of you for trying to help? What if your sincerity is smashed under the laughter of others? Then OUCH! That hurts bad. Not nearly as bad as it hurts to feel like a shell of yourself though. I remember the first time I wrote vulnerably. I had gone through severe depression and had benefitted from reading about others being depressed. I felt obligated to share my story. I did. It’s a couple years later now and I still get emails telling me how helpful the letter was to them. Not one person made fun of me for that. At least to my face.  

quotes about humility  cs elliot

4. Keep a file of people saying nice things about you. I just started this earlier this year and it’s been amazing. Every time someone writes that I helped them online I take a screenshot and put it in my folder. When I feel like a fraud I can go look through the stories of people I have helped. There is a mom who’s 18 year old boy was shaken out of being stuck because of something I had written. There are a whole series of entrepreneurs who started businesses because of articles I’ve written. There are successful entrepreneurs that were reinvigorated by something I wrote. There are a whole slew of people at rock bottom who have found life worth living again because of something I wrote. Those things keep me putting stuff out there. Because, honestly, it’s easy to forget that writing can do any good. Collect your wins, testimonials, whatever and then visit them when you’re feeling like a fraud.


5. Stop comparing yourself to that person. There’s no good reason for you to be reading what I’m writing. There are world class biographies of Warren Buffett, John D. Rockefeller, and Einstein. James Altucher has had more successes than me. Peter Thiel just wrote a book. Tim Ferriss, Paul Graham, Kevin Kelly… these guys blog! But still, I’m writing this because I think I have something to offer. Actually, when I look at my praise file I have proof that I have something to offer.

When I compare myself to these others it’s easy to fall into the trap of “my life sucks compared to that life”. You might as well not even do anything! Your life isn’t the best life! Emerson said, “Envy is ignorance…” and he was right on. You aren’t here to live the life of another person. You’re here to do whatever life you can. Turn Facebook off, get off Instagram, stop reading biographies of “successful” people and learn to respect your own experience. Limit your stress, you’re not a fraud, you’re just you.

6. Expose yourself totally. Part of the twisted arrogance that causes impostor syndrome is the (usually unconscious) belief that you have extreme powers that the world couldn’t handle. Or maybe it’s just that you think you are a freak. You certainly have the ability to offer the world something that nobody else can… but really it’s not that wild! You are not nearly as much of a freak as you think you are. Again, come off it, you’re just not that special.

Do this: write for 30 minutes the most insane things about yourself. You will never show anybody this. Write your most ridiculous beliefs, your most terrible thoughts, your biggest fraud! Just write gibberish if you think that is crazy. Push into the deepest taboos you hold. Seeing these on paper doesn’t get rid of them but externalizing things puts them in a more sane perspective.

I have a gay friend. Everyone knew he was gay. He spent years not telling anyone. He spent a huge chunk of his life without expressing himself. If the world knew he was gay everything would be over. “So, I’m gay,” he told me. Big surprise. “Okay,” I told him. The next month I saw him he was living a totally different life. There was some kind of rusty wheel in him that was now spinning freely. His eyes shone with life. He was energetic and positive. All just from letting down his guard for a minute.

science girl

7. Treat the thing as a business/experiment. Today there is a whole slew of artist-entrepreneurs. We call part of what we do “content creation”. There has never been a time in history where so many people have a “voice”. No wonder we’re all suffering from impostor syndrome.

Start treating even your art as a business. Not to the point that you start making crap because it’s what people like, but to the point that you are honestly serving the market. In a business, if a product doesn’t sell, you stop making it.

If nobody shares this post or leaves comments then I’ll assume that nobody wants to hear me talk about impostor syndrome—so I’ll stop. I won’t wallow in my failure and think the world hates me.

I’m running a test. Looking at it this way makes it easier to create the thing freely.

8.  Say “It’s Impostor Syndrome” and it immediately becomes a little less terrible.

9. Remember: being wrong doesn’t make you a fake. The best basketball players miss most of the shots they take. The best traders lose money on most trades. Presidents are wrong about stuff all the time. The best football teams inevitably lose.

Losing is just part of the game. Don’t glorify failure, but don’t let it make you feel like you’re not a real contender either.

10.  “Nobody Belongs Here More Than You”

We are all going to die, we just take different routes to get there. One of the most attractive qualities in a person is acceptance.

Acceptance of themselves and acceptance of you.

Not in the surrendering kind of way, in the “seeing clearly” kind of way. If you can admit that nobody belongs here more than you (while maintaining the belief that you don’t belong here any more than anyone else) you will find yourself making connections with people in powerful ways.


11. Realize that when you hold back you’re robbing the world. If you walk around feeling that you should be someone else or that you don’t deserve to be here then all your crappy vibes rub off on other people. Your stunted expression means that you can’t be there for people who need you.

Everyone has doubts, the best gift you can give the world is to move forward regardless of the doubts—because it gives us the permission to move forward as well.

12. You’re going to die. Do you want to be on your deathbed regretting that you spent your entire life stopping yourself because you felt like a fraud? Maybe you can’t shake the feeling that you’re a fraud. You can force yourself to move forward despite the feeling.

13.  Stream-of-conscious writing. I suggested something similar in #1. This is aimless though. Do this: write for 30+ minutes nonstop. You can’t put your pen down. If there is no thought in your head then write “I can’t think of anything” until you do. This will constantly put you in touch with what’s going on inside yourself.

It will show you how silly the impostor syndrome is. It’s awesome.

14. Say what you can. We are often put in the position of “expert”. When this happens people look at you like you should know everything about a topic. We can’t know everything about anything though. If I’m in a situation where there is potential to actually be a fraud—ie bullshit about things I don’t know—I just say what I can instead. People respect this much more. Admit that you don’t yet have the answer but you’ll find it.

Admit that you haven’t found the perfect solution but you’ve come close enough.


15. Realize that nobody knows what they’re doing. Most startups fail. Even the ones that you hear about raising millions of dollars fail all the time. Nobody knows exactly what’s going on. There are a ton of people who will tell you they know the answers. These people are liars.

The world we live in is the result of a lot of brave people tinkering, failing, and succeeding once in a while. Nobody knows what’s next: some are willing to play ball in the face of uncertainty and some aren’t. You’re not an impostor for trying something that might not work. You’re a hero.

16. Take action. Impostor Syndrome lives in abstraction. It’s not about stopping being lazy, it’s about massive amounts of action.  It is impossible for it to survive when you’re taking action. Taking action proves that you’re not a fraud. It tests your mettle in the real world.

Impostor Syndrome cannot do damage to the person who consistently takes action. (You still might feel it every once in a while but you won’t let it stop you.)

17. Realize that you are never you. You’re constantly changing. You’re constantly becoming a new person. Your opinions change with new information (I hope). You spend 6 months eating donuts and then you spend 6 months at the gym. Last year you were obsessed with Call of Duty, now you don’t understand video games. Maybe you were in a terrible mood this morning. Maybe you’re a bit brighter now.

“There is as much difference between us an ourselves as there is between us and others.”

– Michel de Montaigne

You are growing into something different. You are getting better. How? By trying to do something better than you actually can. That’s not a lie, that’s valor.

image of two ducklings facing each other

18. Authenticity is a hoax. What is being authentic? I’m not going to write to my grandma using the same words as I use to write to my sister. I’m not even going to emphasize the same interests I have.

If I’m selling security systems, I’m not going to pitch a Mormon the way I pitch a rock star. It just wouldn’t make sense. There is no person you can be other than you. Ever. The impostor syndrome will have you believe that you are being inauthentic. That you are a liar. If that’s true then where is your true self!?

The impostor syndrome doesn’t give an answer because it doesn’t have one. Tell it to eff off.

19. See credentials for what they are. They don’t mean much. “Expert” means someone decided to call them that. “PhD” doesn’t mean someone knows more than you, it means they spent more time in college than you. (And actually do know way more than you about some uselessly specific topic.)

“As seen in The Wall Street Journal” means they knew how to use HARO. Don’t measure yourself by credentials. It takes the focus away from actually doing good things. And it won’t shut up the impostor syndrome for long either.

20. Find one person you can say, “I feel like a fraud” to. Being able to say that out loud to another person can be a huge help. Especially when they laugh at you for it.

21. Faking things actually does work. Sometimes faking it doesn’t make you a fraud. If you smile your body will be more generous with happy chemicals and actually make you happier. Neuroplasticity means that you can shape your brain by pretending.

When you were a baby you tried to walk and fell down every time. Were you a walking impostor? Who are you to walk!? You can’t even do it! It’s absurd!

Silicon Valley has been built by people trying to do things that probably weren’t going to work. We need them to keep trying. We need you to keep trying. We need you. Whether you feel like an impostor or not.


Impostor Syndrome: The Challenge

You have the opportunity right this very instant to overcome your impostor syndrome. This is what we’re going to do. A Blog Confessional of sorts.

Write in the comments one thing you’ve avoided because you feel like a fraud. (If this is too much, you can email me… commenting will be more powerful though.) You can even stay anonymous if you want. Maybe you haven’t started that blog because you feel that you couldn’t do it as well as the people already blogging about a topic. Maybe you haven’t started your business because you don’t think you’re an “entrepreneur”. Maybe you haven’t talked to that pretty girl/guy. I don’t know. There are all sorts of thing. I’ll give you mine in a second.

**BONUS ROUND** Do something about it! If you don’t know what to do, I’ll give you a suggestion. The comment itself will be a huge step for sure. It’ll be even more huge to take the thing head on.

Wrapping It Up…


If you’re looking for a guide to take action I put together this awesome course on taking action!

Check out The Action Course – Learning the Art of Doing


Avatar for Kyle Eschenroeder
Kyle Eschenroeder

Thanks for taking the time to read this! Let me know what you think - the good, the bad, the ugly - in the comments below.

I'm an entrepreneur (more in the StartupBros About Page) in St. Petersburg, FL

1,348 comments add your comment

  1. Hi! Thanks for posting this article. I have an issue speaking in front of groups of people even if I know what i’m talking about. I avoid interacting/networking with groups of people I don’t/hardly know. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what to say. I have avoided customer service jobs such as IT help desk or customer service representative in fear that I might say the wrong things. Yet, i’ve been told by a previous manager that I can converse well with others and that I’m great at customer service. I know that every career involves customer service and that’s why i’m seeking to change my self-doubt. Any suggestions?

  2. How’s this, sitting in my garage grilling frozen steak talking to the dog drinking a jack and 7 reading your article, life is only perception and goes as high and low as you see it. Apologize for no good deed and life will be rich 😉

  3. I don’t speak up when I have an opinion. I tell myself this is because I work in a male dominated field and they don’t listen to me but that is only part of the problem. I don’t trust that I know enough to add value to the conversation. Even when things are right up my alley I just make a little note in my notebook about how I think it should be done but never say anything to the group.
    My friends have told me all my life that I am a bit peculiar. Therefore I don’t believe I deserve their or anyone’s friendship because they have to “put up” with me. I rationally know that everyone has their quirks but I take mine so seriously that I refuse to let myself meet new people or try something new because I feel like I will just be a burden.

  4. I came to this article looking to see if what I’ve been feeling is imposter syndrome, which I’ve heard of before. But I don’t have the fear of being found out, I have the fear of not being found out. Whenever I’m slightly successful in anything, even if it’s just something small, I feel that I’ve tricked everyone into believing the lie and I feel extremely guilty.
    If my boss tells me ‘good job today’ I think they must not have noticed me being inefficient.
    If I make friends, I think that they just haven’t noticed yet that I’m a horrible person.
    If I get called intelligent, I think that the person who said it hasn’t yet realized that I am an idiot.
    I’m not sure if this is imposter syndrome or if it is low self-esteem.
    Things that I’ve done because of this can be summed up as “oh, they haven’t realized…. well let me show them and correct their misunderstanding” because I subconsciously was desperate to find a way to escape the guilt.
    I searched for this today because I keep dragging my feet to get to my semi-new job. Despite seeing the work as important, despite slowly getting better at it, despite making less mistakes, despite my coworkers gradually starting to rely on me, I subconsciously(?) want to be fired. I sleep the bare minimum to get through the next day. I take the bus hoping I’ll miss it. I procrastinate on the main focus of my work and take care of the less important things first.
    I work around dangerous machines for part of it, and I keep hoping that I’ll get injured, because somehow I believe I deserve it, and that physical pain will give me at least some temporary relief from the constant emotional pain of guilt.
    Seeing this all typed out has made me see that it’s… pretty bad. I knew I was feeling horrible, but all the negative thoughts all the time kind of blocked out the big picture of this. I guess I’ve got to try to see a therapist.
    Thank you for asking for comments. I usually don’t leave any for things like this, and typing it out has really calmed me down and given me some perspective on all of it.
    Now hopefully I’ll be able to get at least 2 hours of sleep for tomorrow……

  5. I have started this group to plant trees in the neighbourhood and got a number for followers and entrepreneurs involved. The thing is they think I know what I am doing but I am just winging it hoping they will all do it. So in a way I am a fake but a fake with a good heart. The position of leader offends me greatly although if I could just be a leader the tree planting would get done so much more efficiently!

  6. My Impostor Syndrome is so strong I master self sabotage.

    Every time I am about to get a dream job or achieve something, I will do or say something totally out of place to prove people I actually don’t belong, don’t deserve and am a total fraud. Then they have no choice to reject me. Everytime it reinforces my belief.
    So now I have come to the point I am not even trying. I look at the years pass and because I haven’t taken action in a long time and haven’t made proper money for all this time, I have the proof I am an impostor. I haven’t achieved anything ever and I never will.
    The world has changed but I did not evolve with it as I was too busy nursing my impostor syndrome. Now I have a real reason to not even try to do anything about it as I don’t know anything about the world as it is now.
    I still have 25+ years to go as an active adult, and it seems like a long time to just wait for time to pass until retirement time. Then finally when retired, I won’t have anything to prove and I won’t have to pretend I have a career. So I guess I should take action in order to make these 25+ years somehow interesting.
    But every time I even think of it, my impostor syndrome reminds me it’s way too dangerous, it’s written fraud in large red letters all over my face, my voice, my CV.

  7. Thanks for your awesome article about imposter. I know I’m not an imposter. I saw a fellow walking down my street and thought he might be… it wouldn’t be the first time they sent a look a like. Thought it was an ambush, Well I’ll pray I see that imposter again tomorrow early in the morning- maybe he’ll lead me (safely) home. 😉 tonight might work if circumstances work in that direction.

  8. These are the most ultimate ways and effective remedies provided for the Impostor Syndrome. Never thought scrolling through searching for its potential remedies, I would land up on this website.

  9. I used to think I was an artist, but after 12 years of working and a bout of severe depression I feel like an imposter when I sit down to draw. I can’t bring myself to draw and right now way past my deadline. Yet this feeling won’t go and I can’t seem to overcome it.

  10. I have always been someone who has loved art. I’ve spent the majority of my spare time these past six years drawing my heart out. However, I constantly feel like I’m not good enough. Like I’ll never be good enough at the thing that I love the most. I try to do art challenges, such as inktober, but I always stop because the feeling that I’m not good enough unmotivates me instantly. I even made an art account on Instagram, but every time I post I always think “Oh why did I post that? It’s so bad. I don’t understand how anyone thinks I’m good at art…” and then spend the next little while picking apart my art piece by piece until I hate it. I compare myself and my work to others and that’s what really gets to me. “Why even bother trying when you’re making something that looks like trash and they made something so gorgeous? No one will think the same of what you make, and you have to realize that. Stop while you’re ahead, you’ll never be good enough.”

    I’m a senior in high school this year and I really want to go into an art-related major in college. I really want to become a Storyboard Artist or an Animator and help make animated movies, that’s my big goal, but I’m so afraid that I won’t be good enough that I’m too afraid to try. It’s hard for me to think about my future career in art when I can’t even accept that I have even some amount of talent in the present moment.

    Granted, I’m not perfect at art, but I need to start realizing that my talent and my art is worth something. It is proof of how far I’ve come and even it’s not the best in all of creation, it’s something that I put time and effort into and something that I made with my own hands.

    Before I read this article, I was thinking how could I possibly go into a career that I have no talent in? I even googled “what if I had a job I’d really like to do, but I feel like I’m not talented enough for it.” This article is the first thing that came up. “Imposter Syndrome.” I didn’t know what that was, but now I realize after reading this that it’s something I suffer from big time. I’m definitely going to think about this article every time I draw something new. I’m way too hard on myself and I need to realize that.

    Thank you, Kyle, for writing this, you have really opened up my eyes. I think I’m seeing my artwork in a whole other light now.

    Best wishes,

    Kassia, High School Senior

  11. This article has finally given me the chance to give a name to what I feel. I recently got a work placement offer in a prestigious software company and I should be super proud and feel accomplished, but instead I feel like I only got the offer because I’m a female. I feel like my qualifications are practically non-existent, and that’s without comparing myself to others. Which is not true, as I’ve heard from people that I am desirable and capable for the position. I now realize that one of the reasons I feel this way is because of my parents and the high expectations that had/have of me in terms of education. I could be we reach those expectations and even when I did somewhat well I never could/can believe in their praise. It pales in comparison to the negative things they would say about my abilities and my character. These things still affect me and I feel like there’s something fundamentally broken inside me, that they broke, which I don’t know how to fix. Don’t know if I can fix it.

  12. I’ve been avoiding going to the gym even though I used to do it all the time just fine… this helped me put some things in perspective, thank you

  13. It’s such a relief to have read this article and some of the responses.
    I suffer with this syndrome to the degree that I literally have to stop working, sometimes for years on end. Even though I have attained 2 degrees in order to work in my profession, I still don’t feel good enough to do my job. There’s so much I don’t know and I have this overwhelming sense that everyone knows so much more than me.
    I still, right now, believe that I actually don’t have enough knowledge to do my job well, even though I somehow achieved the qualifications.
    It’s helpful to know how pervasive this syndrome is and I’ve actually started cbt therapy to help challenge my thinking that literally stops me from going to work.
    In a nutshell, I don’t know the answers to so many of the questions at work, that I feel like I shouldn’t be there.

  14. In 1 hour time I have to call and either accept a great new job or not. Big promotion, much higher grade and I think I have complete impostor syndrome here, thinking I am not experienced enough, that i can’t do it, that i’ll lose the job because I’ll be found out as being rubbish.

    Thank you so much for the blog though, it helps so much to know that this is a “thing” that exists and not just me and a self-defeating inner person!

  15. I just started my Master’s in Biology. I previously worked at a well known research institute during my undergrad. Before I even started my Master’s, I was terrified that I would get there and mess up all my experiments and my advisors would be disappointed in me. Now that I’m here, I’m extremely intimidated by all the older grad students and professors. I can’t help but compare myself to them even though they have years of experience on me. I’ve been a perfectionist my entire life, but haven’t had trouble picking up concepts until now.

    I participate in a journal club every week with PhD students and my advisors/professors. This week, I was put on the spot by one of the professors and panicked. I completely floundered in front of the whole group. Now, I’m terrified to speak up for fear of being wrong and looking stupid. It feels like somehow I finessed my way into the program l, and tricked my advisors into thinking I was competent when I’m not. I know that there’s a reason labs have taken me, but it’s been impossible to shake this feeling of not belonging.

    The fact that the coworkers in my lab, my professors, and my advisors are all men while I’m a woman might have something to do with it. I don’t feel like I can talk to any of them about it because I don’t want to be the delicate, emotional woman that can’t handle pressure. Also, I feel like I have something to prove for all women since there’s tends to be bias against us in scientific research. What if I just got the position because they think I’m attractive and no one has the heart to tell me that I’m not very smart?

  16. Songwriting.
    As a child, I used to express my feelings in song form, like a musical. Particularly when I was in my room by myself. It helped get the emotions out.

    Sometimes when I was pent up at school, a song would form in my head and the lyrics would come spilling out on the page.

    As an adult, I struggle to even get any of the words out unless I have complete solitude. Fear of judgement, hurting others feelings and more stops me from even starting. With a household of 5 people, including 3 kids, this means I am pretty much always locked up.

    So then there are those moments when I pick up my guitar and play. Perform even and it’s a sad sort of thing. It feels not like me. I do it but I feel like it’s another person doing it and this drives my performances down – and the practice leading up to it down as well. This becomes a self fulfilling prophecy of poor performances due to little time practicing and little to no song writing. I feel like a fraud in this and many other areas of my life.

    I’ve spent my whole life aspiring in a certain direction and I’ve achieved just about all of it. What is a person to do when one is so used to seeking out the things one now has?

    It’s disorienting. I believe that sometimes I sabotage myself at times to give something to fix… and even then it feels like somebody else.

  17. Hi Kyle, thank you for sharing this post. I’ve only known the word “imposter syndrome” recently. And I didn’t quite understand what it is. Reading your post makes me realized that I too might have suffered this imposter syndrome at some degree in many parts of my life. I thought I was just simply introvert.
    But I now think that many decisions I’ve made in the past were probably the result of me having the syndrome.
    Now I know about this syndrome and have abit of knowledge how to deal with it thanks to your sharing, hopefully I can resolve the issue if this silly syndrome attack me again. I will defo bookmark this post for reference :-).
    I always believe that everything happens for a reason. No coincidence. I can’t tell how I’m grateful for coming across this post. Again, thank you.
    All the best

  18. Thanks for this. I can finally say with honestly that I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, but that’s ok because the ends justify the means

    The means is me being happy.

  19. Hey sorry I’m a bit late on this but it’s never too late to try to tackle imposter syndrom right? I’m the founder of a startup and I genuinely feel like a fraud all the time. I think it’s mainly got to do with the fact that I don’t have a background in the industry that we’re evolving in. I can absolutely justify it and if I’m being rational it actually bothers no one that I don’t know much about The industry because it’s not that crucial for this specific startup and I got pretty cool skills from my previous job/background. But I do feel that imposter syndrom pretty badly. If I don’t have an answer to something I’m like “well yeah obvs you don’t, you’re a fraud” and when something good happens/ if I got complicated: have succeeded at something, I’m like buzzing a bit then quickly after that I’m thinking “fuck when are they gonna find out, when am I going to disappoint everyone”. So yeah… fun fun fun!!

  20. So… A fair few months after this was written I’ve stumbled across it. Mainly because having talked to my amazing mum about my day, she suggested that this was actually what was happening. Judging by your article, she was pretty damn accurate.

    So, I was a health care assistant in the Emergency Department for years. Then, I duel trained as a nurse/Paramedic, mainly focusing on critical/emergency care. Having done that, I managed to get a newly qualified job right back in the Emergency Department as a band 5 qualified practitioner.

    When I was a HCA I found myself feeling like I knew way more than I was allowed to actually do. And it frustrated me! I know how to count.. Why can’t I sign the controlled drug book when I’ve counted? I know how to draw up drugs so why can’t I do it?! So I went to uni.
    Now that I’m qualified and I can do all those thing…. I’m terrified! I spend so long telling people that I’ve had this training and that.. And that I’m qualified for all of the critical care and emergency care tasks.
    However. I feel like a fraud. I feel like actually I’m not qualified at ALL to make those life changing decisions (and sometimes, decisions that make the difference between life and death!)

    Put me in that place unqualified, or even as a student and I’m all over it. Now, wearing my new blue nursing scrubs, I have absolutely NO idea. And all I can think is “how the hell did I end up here and why do people think that I actually know what I’m doing?!”

    Due to the training I’ve had, I am constantly pulled into resus for the sickest of patients and I feel like I absolutely should not be there. Yeah I got through uni, but everyone gets through eventually and it was just a case of shutting my eyes and waiting for it to finish. I don’t actually know what I’m doing?!

    I absolutely adore my job and I want to do everything perfectly (unfortunately sort of necessary) but I just don’t feel competent to even take someone’s blood… Something I’ve done for 8 years now!

    Yet I smile and do it, because that’s what’s expected and just hope to hell that nothing goes wrong and I don’t get called out for the fraud I feel I am!

  21. I have never really failed at anything – good academic results, passed my driving test first time, had an offer from every job interview I’ve ever had. But rather than giving me confidence this has led to a massive fear of failure. I have avoided exam style situations where possible. I stayed at a company with a toxic working environment for far longer than I should have for fear that I might not be able to get a job elsewhere. I’m overly self critical of everything I do which holds me back from blogging, writing music and so on.

    I know I should push myself to do more, and the only way to do this is to put myself in a position where I might fail. But I worry about how I’ll deal with that, and the implications it might have on my future. Plus the over preparation/procrastination phase of the imposter cycle would make me a nightmare to be around for my family.

    I feel like the only way to deal with it is to sort of try less hard, almost like driving a car but taking your hands off the steering wheel and just seeing what happens. But that sounds terrifying!

  22. This post has exposes everything I have been fighting with for years now, even more so now. I’ve been a pediatric nurse for nearly 14 years working in hospitals all over the state and will also be graduating with my masters degree in nursing education in 4 months. In a couple years time it’s expected that I will transition from a bedside nurse to an instructor in an educational setting. And I absolutely believe I am the wrong person for the job.

    This all could be chalked up to reaching the point in my life that I believed as a child made you “old” but out of habit I tend to come up with so many other explanations or false truths that are unintentionally designed to prove what a fraud I actually am. Nursing wasn’t my dream career but life’s circumstances have nonetheless put me here. It took me years to accept that even though I wasn’t doing what I really wanted, I was actually doing the best I could for the sake of humanity and helping others, especially children, live healthier lifestyles. I , along with my team, have jumped in and performed CPR or bagged patients (hyper-oxygenated breaths with a AMBU bag) from as young as 2 weeks old to 22 years old and didn’t need to question my role in the thick of it and have saved lives. I’ve been nominated and awarded special honors in my career and have helped initiate and develop new ways to improve practice along the way. I’ve been told by those I have helped train and teach that my methods and ‘against the grain’ tactics have actually helped them see past the superficial and mundane work nursing CAN be and actually find empowerment, joy, and purpose in what they COULD be. I’m often resourced by leadership teams to carry out projects because I “always put everything I have into it and deliver my work in a timely and effective manner”.

    And yet I to this day believe that I’ve chosen the wrong role within the wrong specialty in the totally wrong career because I don’t know anything about what I’m talking about. Because of this crippling mindset, I’ve not so much avoided but FEAR the day I will actually need to teach what I am “supposed” to know to the next generation of future nurses. The idea of being the one others will listen to and come to for help frightens me because I’ve convinced myself that if I’m not careful in what I say to them, I could lead them down the wrong path and screw up their own futures and dreams in the process. Even now when I’m teaching experienced nurses new or updated policies or procedures, I fear that I myself will completely forget what exactly I’m supposed to be teaching and they will put it together that I’m not as competent as I’ve led on. A bit dramatic, I’m fully aware, but I can’t get the feeling to “eff” off.

    It’s gotten to the point now where despite all the positive and great things I’ve done in my career, I’m struggling with sticking with it and moving on or jumping ship and doing something completely different. With my history of low self confidence, social anxiety, and depression, I already know changing careers will lead to the same constant struggle that I’m just not in the right place.

  23. I feel like I have hit a brick wall and not progressed much in the last few years. I recently tried organising a school reunion of old classmates and I think I inevitably ended up comparing myself to them. I need to take action to kick-start my life again, nothing crazy or radical but just enough to start believing in myself again. I know I have amazing potential it seems to be on hiatus at the moment due to some comfort zone that I feel protected in. Thanks for your inspirational words. I hope to write a comment in 6 months time about how much I have improved.

  24. Just want to thank you for this article, it truly resonated with me. Impostor syndrome can be paralyzing and have you doubting yourself at every turn.
    In my case I am a mom, manager and hard worker with twenty years experience under my belt but somehow I never feel I deserve to be in the bigger leagues, with every promotion comes the wave Of anxiety saying “now you’ve done it, you’ll be exposed for the fraud you are”. This is crippling and limitating in so many ways, since it’s definitely keeping me from reaching my full potential and being my true self at work.
    Working on overcoming this day to day, your article and ways to move forward are a guide I repeat myself everyday to stay focused. Thank you truly for sharing

  25. All the time I feel embarrassed when talking to others , I know answers of questions but I feel I’m always wrong , I revised each word when talking in a conversation ,and I feel that people would make fun of me , I feel that I’m a fraud and don’t deserve my job, I feel that I should be a perfectionist to be accepted by others , so I take a lot of time finishing tasks, I always compare myself to others and I feel that I’m nothing.

  26. Thanks Kyle! I’ve written all this down as I’m about to embark on a massive step out of my comfort zone. I will need to re read every time my courage fails me! 🙌

  27. I’ve been sewing since I was twelve. With the skills I’ve acquired since then, I have felt confident enough to call myself an experienced seamstress at 31. It’s a dying art with sentimental memories for me. My great-grandmother taught me, and she passed away just two months ago. I took my biggest leap three years ago when I made a flower girl dress for one of my friend’s wedding. I was nervous, but I did it. She cried when she saw it. I was so proud!

    Everyone has been telling me that I need to turn my passion/hobby into a business, and I have everything mapped out for it. It really started to appeal to me because I wanted to have the ability to generate income from home while being able to be here with my children. Marketing strategies, logos, designs for the line I’m going to introduce, etc. are all ready to be used, but I’m having the hardest time pulling the trigger and create.

    It’s such a big move. I’m afraid that what I create won’t hold up to the standards of a buyer or that they’ll be disappointed with my products. They might see every little flaw and be unsatisfied. Perhaps I won’t be able to create a substantial enough income from it to do it full time.Maybe I’m just not as good as everyone else thinks I am. I draft patterns from scratch, creating my own designs. I’ve even taught workshops to instruct people how to make simplistic, yet custom, patterns for themselves. I’ve created elaborate costumes, tailored dresses, jackets, you name it. Yet, as the day passes, I stumble at the opportunity to use my designs to create something tangible.

    Reading this blog helped. Writing this comment helped. I always felt silly for believing myself an imposter. I would tell myself that I had to appear good to be an imposter in the first place. I’d look at other peoples’ work and feel like I could never do something so difficult, even though I already had. This blog, this article, woke me up. I wrote down a few of the suggestions, and I plan to exercise them tomorrow when I’m feeling inadequate.

    Afterall, nobody belongs here more than you.

  28. I’ve always wanted to do something with math. I love it, at least when I don’t feel like i’m faking being good at math. I’m afraid that I won’t live up to the expectations of others, as well as the fact that I don’t think I can do the classes next year (going into sophomore year with ap stats and pre calc honors). In clearer moments I know I can, but I’m afraid. I get the syndrome when I run cross country too. I’ve been on varsity for 3 years and every time I run I feel like I don’t deserve to be there and that I’m just faking being a runner. I still go out and do it, but on some days I just want to cry. I get it with almost everything I do and I’m tired of it. I just want to be proud of myself and feel like I belong. I get the same thing with cheerleading. I have trouble being with others as well. I talk and ramble because I just want to fit in. I want to not take every little thing as a sign that no one wants me there. I’m just tired of being afraid.

  29. Amazing and wonderful post friend. It will inspire many people for sure.Thanks author..

  30. writing a book…i feel like perfectionism gets in the way of even starting anything…thank you for this post – really helpful and validating! i particularly loved the baby as a walking imposter example 🙂

  31. I think my entire body image suffers from impostor syndrome. I’m afraid to get into any kind of relationship because I don’t feel physically pretty enough…even worse, I feel like there is nothing about me that is attractive, therefore even starting a relationship would be entrapment. Sad face 🙁

  32. I’m an artist and a writer, but I sometimes think, “Who are you, to think you can be a successful artist AND writer?” I’m doing okay as an artist but I feel like a phony as a writer, even though I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a kid. I self-published a novel and got mostly positive feedback online but I’m terrified to publish my second novel, which I wrote many years ago. I’m so terrified of people thinking it’s just vanity publishing. I’m terrified of people thinking I’m full of myself because I think I’m an artist and a writer. I’m terrified that the joke’s on me–that I’m not a REAL writer because I’m not doing it the old-fashioned way–getting an agent and a publisher. I’m terrified of being vulnerable. I hate that on Goodreads people build themselves up by tearing many amazing authors down. Honestly, I’m shocked by the negative reviews that very talented and successful authors get. I’m paralyzed by fear. I used to write 8-10 hours a day because I loved it so much. Now that I’m fearing people’s reactions, I only write a few times a year. I have several ideas for more books and I’m worried I’ll never have the courage to write them.

  33. I am a news reporter in a top 40 market. I’m only 22 years old. No one knows that because wow I can hear it now…‘who let this kid in the door?’

    I go live every 30 minutes for two, sometimes three hours. It’s the agony comparable to giving a presentation naked after missing a few weeks at the gym… every single day.

    It wasn’t always this way. I just can’t come to terms with why God placed me here. I’m right where I asked and truthfully worked to be but… I’ve really got one over on these folks.

    It’s not like I knew somebody who knew somebody who got me in the door. I certainly am the one who slipped in the door… now I’m trying to convince myself to not slip out the back door before anyone notices they let the wrong girl in.

  34. Hello Kyle, thank you for sharing this. Your words sound like you really understand this syndrome, you’ve been through it, you’re not trying to polish overcoming it like it’s an easy thing that once you think “this”, voila, you’re problem is solved.

    I have ADD and social anxiety. Recently, imposter syndrome has been getting worse after I got fired several times over the past couple of years. While I just recently realized the ADD pattern since the last time I got fired – and noticed that both ADD and my attitude about the jobs I’ve been to had a big role in my getting fired – I feel more scared of landing a new job and them noticing my weaknesses and firing me unexpectedly, again. I can’t handle another instance of getting fired. Sometimes I find comfort in joining a company that repels most applicants because I’m sure then that they won’t be firing me, plus, disliking the company feels justified (I have a hard time liking any job I’ve ever had, I feel bored half the time and feel drained most of the days, enough to feel depressed).
    I think if I had known my area of interest earlier things would have been better now, but, I think I’m beginning to have a good idea of what field I like, I hope I’m not wrong.

  35. I am nearly paralyzed by this Imposter Syndrome. I have developed incredible professional relationships during my career, and recently was offered a role in an incredible company, with an opportunity to create a group from the ground up. I’ve never actually done this before, though I believe I have the skills to do it so I accepted it. But I’m paralyzed and worry every day, “pit in my stomach worry” that everyone is going to see I’m not cut out for this. It’s a new team, all new people, new function, and in a new section of my industry.

    I think about my work all the time, but do not produce much work product because I have trouble transferring my thoughts to organized output so that I can circulate it and implement it. It’s all swimming around in my head.

    I worry I have relied too heavily on my personality and relationship skills, which served me in my sales roles, now that I am in HQ and need to work with other groups and actually produce processes, programs, and build a team.

    I have to do things I’ve never done before and am terrified of disappointing the person who referred me here, and also, terrified of not being liked/respected by the new colleagues I work with.

    When I am out of my head, I have about 15 years left in my career and see myself working in 5 year blocks – currently a director, grow to senior director and then VP. I want to do this. I’m ready to do this. But I am just stuck in paralysis and wake up every day filled with dread, then work all day to stay mindful and keep it at bay. It’s an awful way to live.

  36. I’m a fraud about to start a new job, already asked what the probationary period is! Worrying about getting sacked, mortgage, the stress of finding another new job if this is bad, having a mental breakdown, being questionned, putting on a show at interview that I now can’t deliver on, buying power dressing clothes to create an image, not true to my hippy self, more fraud. Actual, I’ve worked flipping hard despite mental and physical problems, I have met nasty people who saw & exploited my weakness, I love working to improve public services, I do my best, people want to work with me. I am scared but going to battle on & hope for no breakdown this time. If there is, I will recover & find my strength again. Nobody can impostor that. I deserve to be paid for my effort yes some luck along the way but plenty of trials. It’s not been handed to me on a plate & it’s time to refresh my plate with good food for me & life’s tropical fruits. Life can be good & sweet if I will taste the new fruit.

  37. I’ve always been afraid to speak in front of a group because I might sound stupid. Also, I’m in sales and I can’t sell, I’ve just been lucky. I also feel that everyone is smarter than me and more decisive than me

  38. Wish you hadnt gone off on PhDs. They’re among the people who have the most impostor syndrome!

  39. I’m Transgender. I feel like a fraud because I’ve been out for years but everyone in my family still dead names me and misgenders me even though I pass but I dont feel I have the right to be unhappy because before I came out as trans I told everyone I was gay because it seemed easier than being myself

  40. I have just posted something and I really don’t want it to go public on Facebook only this site,

  41. I’m a chef, and have been for about 30 years now. I’ve worked in about 15 kitchens ( at least ). I left all these kitchens of my own accord. I’ve cooked for kings, queens, heads of state, Nobel laureates and a mass of so called celebrities. I’ve been head chef, sous chef normal prep chef, never worked in a Michelin kitchen, but I have worked with Michelin chefs ( quite a few ) in the banqueting side of food and private catering.
    The last couple of years it has gotten quite bad as I won’t even put my ideas forward in simple menu planning as I basically think I shouldn’t be where I am, scared that my ideas will get laughed at( which would be a nightmare for me ). I literally feel that I have only climbed this ladder because I am good with people, make them laugh, listen to everybody, be able to talk to everybody so on and so on. I’m literally so anxious going to work everyday thinking I will fail at some task and get found out for the talentless fraud that I think I am. This is the first time I have ever conveyed these feelings to anybody as I never new there were other people who thought the same.
    At least I feel there is a bit of hope now, thanks k

  42. I avoid taking on new projects or asking for help in fear that my lack of knowledge will be exposed. It’s in exhausting repeating loop.

  43. I avoid interviews like the plague. I’m so scared of being found out that really I worked in a job for 1 year not three and had three other Jobs I left In reality. I am honestly so focused now in my older age but just have a huge fear of feeling I will be called a liar. I’m the most honest person I know. It’s a crippling fear and on top of that, Everyone tells me how clever I am and how I can have a successful business but when in the past I have had my own business….I feel like I failed….because circumstances (moving abroad) brought that to an end. THEN I’m also complimented on my appearance a lot. I would never ever and never have…(I’m 34) dated a good looking man or even a nice man because I just dont feel good enough

  44. I’m prepping right now for an interview I have at 10:45 am. It’s 8:15 am. I’m crippled with anxiety and fear. I’m going to go through with it, and let the cards fall where they may. I’m going to fake it til I make it.

  45. Every word mentioned in the article feels so familiar. It’s so strange to see that I’m not the only one having thoughts like these.
    I’m looking to switch careers. I took time off work to travel solo for a few months. I’m still surprised that I actually went through with it.
    Now that I’ve started searching for jobs again I’m gripped with terrible anxiety. I don’t feel like I’m qualified enough for the roles I’m looking at. I feel that I’ll be able to do the work and be good at it but I keep questioning myself as to why someone would want to hire me without the relevant experience in the first place. I keep thinking I should take up a job similar to what I’ve done before even though I was unhappy.
    I don’t want to go back but I don’t know how to go forward either.

  46. One of the worst thing that impostor syndrome can give you is SELF SABOTAGE. there are a lot of times that i knew that i am in the right road, meaning i knew that what im doing will lead me to success. And there I go, either I will resign or give up what im doing just because i felt im not one of those who will succeed. And then when i see my former colleagues will ask me why i resigned and that they think im one of the best to do it. Or why i dont continue those businesses i started when they see that im going to succeed with it. That what i gave up is a sure success for me. All I can tell them is that I dont know why i gave up. I always self sabotage my success bcos of my impostor syndrome..

  47. I feel like a fraud when I try to persuade my artistic dream (who am I to try sell art and do some sculpture when 1000 other people can do better than me). Even when people tell me that I am good I still procrastinate and end up being stuck at the same point. I know that’s my dream and I wold love but everytime something stop me.
    And in relationship is the same thing, my head says “it’s impossible someone love your crazy ass. The person will find out how bad you are” and I end up destroying the relationship before the person breaks me.

  48. I have never been myself around others to the point where I can never introduce myself to anyone new because I feel like a fake just by introducing myself in a way that I think makes me seem normal

  49. “I don’t even have impostor syndrome”, this sentence just hits home, but that’s another story.

    For years now I keep telling my close friend that I am a fraud and people are going to find out about it. This would be my response every time he expressed worries about how much potential I have and why I am not acting on it. I remember countless times I did not act on opportunities, goals, dreams because this syndrome kept me paralyzed; it still does. * I am watching GOT now and my reactions to the events in the show are very strong; stronger than others’ reactions, and I even feel that those are fraudulent too. That is how bad it is.

    I felt like writing about this one particular aspect of my life. I have been taking photos for a long time now. The first couple of years I did not get past the Point-Shoot-Post on Facebook stage, as I was afraid to label myself as a photographer, I was a girl with a camera instead. When I quit my full-time job, I started photographing for living, and still, I could not tell that I am a photographer. It ruined my life and the opportunity of a career big time. I rejected a lot of offers, I did not take on a lot of chances I had because of, well you already guessed. I sabotaged a fashion shoot and said no to several celebrity shootings. Even the idea and the detailed plan for the photography blog stayed on paper; what if I start writing and the audience realized I have nothing to say, what if I actually have nothing to say? I was left with frustration, anxiety, and depression. Did I know how to take the compliments to my work? Of course not, my go-to answer to any good comment would be “It was not me, it was the light/mountains/the model/the food”.

    One particular comment here about how traveling changed a life reminded me of my own experience. I started some studies in another country and when I faced the fact of meeting a hundred people for the first time, somehow, in those moments, I was my true self, when making new friends. That kind of feel counter-intuitive, as one would assume that meeting new people is one of those situations when the feeling of being an impostor would be at its strongest. But it was different. Traveling and meeting new people was my antidote.

    Typing all this makes it a little bit tangible and it feels like I can swipe that away from me. Thank you, Kyle, for this article and this challenge. This is a much needed huge first step towards winning myself back.

  50. I’m not sure where to start here. After recently having my position changed at work I took severance package and started a whole new career in personal training no less! Totally different than my corporate gig! However now I feel like a total imposter in regards to it all. I’m still not certified (I failed the exam round one), I feel like I’m guessing at programs & I worry that my eating disorder back ground has me lying to clients (although I am open about the disorder). I am also sucking at the sales portion of the job. It’s all a lot to handle

  51. My god, reading that article was an emotional roller coaster. Hearing about this for the first time in 19 years and researching it now. Coming to the realization that I haven’t “just been sh*t at everything” and constantly second guessing myself when I KNOW I’m right, it’s all been a wave of happiness and safety knowing now (thanks to you) that I really am talented at what I do. I highly appreciate the thought that went into this list of very helpful tips.

  52. I was pursuing a career in nursing for 6 years until I changed my major to marketing in college. In every job I’ve had I’ve felt confident, strong, and ready. For some reason 3 months into my new job I feel like I can’t bring value to my organization even though I have the skills necessary to do so. I’m afraid I’ll get fired because I don’t know as much as I should. I love marketing and do freelance work on the side, but I still feel like an imposter. It will take time to get over it, but I appreciate this thoughtful article.

  53. I am constantly being told that people see a lot of potential while I fail to. I feel like I am not creative enough to come up with my own ideas. As a kid, I put together a lot of brilliant art pieces and now I feel I just copied it off. Whenever I pick a pencil now, my hand literally starts shivering and I drop the pencil. I feel like I don’t have enough skills.
    Every time I came first in a race, I felt I was only fast because others weren’t fast enough and when I joined college, i did absolutely nothing athletic because of this.
    Every time I wrote a test and aced it, I felt lucky because only what I studied was on it.
    I lost one national level competition because I tried to micro manage and failed to communicate.
    Lost two fellowships because I felt like I didn’t have enough math skills when my idea while I have been told my idea could do wonders if executed. I feel like I just don’t know enough for it. I’ve been studying for a year for it and yet I don’t do anything about it.

  54. I keep getting degrees and certifications hoping it will make me feel better and then not tell anyone because they will expect more from me and will see I really don’t know anything. I have turned down many jobs and speaking engagements for fear.

  55. After reading this article i got to know that any such thing known as Imposter Syndrom exists, and I realize that i have been experiencing it since so long and thinking that the problem is with me, i am not good enough or deserve where i am right now. I am so scared of being judged that it frustrates me. I think that i won’t be good enough as others are, so i don’t even try, which is even worse. I thought that the line that defines me best is…”Good for nothing”. I am actually terrified of failing. This is the reason I procrastinate. Reading this article helped me realize that the best way to overcome is to take action, write it down, accept and move on.

  56. When you said that your impostor syndrome was so bad that you irrationally doubted your own impostor syndrome, that really resonated with me. I feel like I’m not “qualified” to have impostor syndrome, because I’ve been so successful in my life (so far), and many people think very highly of me.

    I work on a college campus, coordinating a program that I’ve been a part of for the last 4 years. I started as a student employee, became part time staff, and a full time counterpart to my current position is opening up next month. For a while I seriously considered not applying, not because I didn’t want it, but because I feel like I’ve “cheated” somehow. The irrational feeling that the only reason I am where I am is because I’ve been part of the program for so long, and that I was just in the right place at the right time, and was given opportunities that others weren’t. That I just got lucky. It’s not necessarily that I forget about all the hard work I’ve done, because I know how much work I’ve put in, but it feels like the fact that it took so much work means I’m not actually competent or inherently good at this job.

    I don’t have my degree yet, and I’m still taking classes part time. This full time position is intimidating because I feel like I’m not “grown up” enough to work full time. I’m 25, but I still feel young compared to everyone I work with. I’ve done so much as the part-time coordinator, and everyone else has told me how impressed they are, and yet those compliments don’t make me feel better. If anything they make me feel more like a fraud. They make me feel guilty that I’m living this life, when some of my peers are close to homeless.

    I’ve decided to apply for the position anyway. I think the only person who needs convincing that I deserve the position is myself. This post helped. Thank you.

  57. I’m about to leave university and I have real impostor syndrome about entering the workplace. I just don’t feel like i’m good enough for any jobs despite having an undergrad degree and a masters. My problem is I’ve always gotten really good grades but I always put it down to luck rather than actually admitting I am good at something. This means I’m now terrified that when I enter the workplace, everyone will realise I’m actually quite useless. It’s put me off applying for a lot of jobs to be honest.

    I guess I experience it in my personal life too. I often think why would anyone want to be friends with me or go out with me? I have plenty of friends luckily, but I definitely don’t feel like anyone will ever want to seriously date me, so I don’t even really try to get to know anyone. Even with clothing, I think ‘yeah thats nice, but who am I to wear that? Leave it to the pretty people.’

    I read this article just after accepting an offer of a job interview next week (which conveniently is the week my exams start), and I’m going to keep the tab open, because reading it somehow settled me into accepting that I am doing okay. Thank you!

  58. I have been offered a job opportunity at a place that I love. I already work there and this would be a MASSIVE promotion in a field I have about zero experience in but my boss believes in me and I can’t figure out why. I even asked. Not helpful. The voices in my head tell me to turn it down, to put in my resignation and just walk away because if they believe in me to do this huge job even though I know deep in my bones that I can’t do it because there are people wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy more qualified for the position and yet they choose me then clearly they aren’t smart enough to realize I’m not good enough and I can’t risk disappointing these people who I see as my greatest mentors and peers so, instead, I run and hide and sulk and get over it and just give up on another dream. It’s easier than the risk associated with believing that maybe, just maybe, I can actually do this thing.

  59. I’m a middle-aged man with terribly irrational fears of not being liked, loved or respected. Yet, if you saw my life, you’d see the contrary. As I read about Imposter Syndrome (finally), I see me and see through me. I have achieved a lot in my life but discount it all because, to me, there was no option to not succeed (ie fail). Predictably, I’m risk averse because I feel if this fraud I feel inside is exposed, the house of cards will fall and I’ll be unloved and all alone. I intend to implement much of the above. Thank you for helping me, and most specifically, at a time of great crisis.

  60. 10 minutes ago, I was on the wave of egomania typing up my resume and now I’m in the despair of fraud and no one is going to believe me. Miserable, but I’ll hope for another wave in 10 more minutes and try to throw myself out there before crashing again.

  61. I might have avoided finishing my own short film; the post-production has been in the pipeline for several years now and I keep postponing it… But maybe it was just a faulty belief like “if I don’t finish it, I don’t have to send it in to festivals, so I cannot ‘not win prizes’, which would prove that I failed”…

    This unfinished short film makes me feel miserable in two ways: I feel like I failed because I didn’t finish it yet + I feel like a fraud when I think about the moment it will be finished and others will see it and judge it.

  62. i don’t know whether this is of the same issue or not. But 99.999% of my life has been spent feeling like i am an impostor in my own body and life. i can never seem to do anything for my self due to not being worthy or some Sh*t like that and when i do and succeed i always come up with some reasons or over 9000 as to why it i had nothing to do with it.

    However if i were to do something for someone so e.g. someone wants me to start a company for them i can get it to operational but then i have to hand it back to them as i fear if i try to take into from startup to growth i’ll crash it.

    life example = i started my own business and my fear has Paralyzed it to the exact place it was at last year at this exact time. every time i try make a move i freeze and before i know months have gone by with an almost blank memory of what the hell i was doing in those months.

  63. OK, here goes: I moved halfway across the country to make a fresh start in a new location, and now that I’m here, I’m suffering from Imposter Syndrome and I feel really stupid. As a man of 53, I should have conquered feelings like this long ago, right? I have had multiple successes in my career, but reading job descriptions these days can really make you susceptible to the “comparing yourself to others” portion of Imposter Syndrome – that is, unless you too have the alphabet soup of credentials after your name. Thank you, BTW, for reminding me that credentials of others don’t mean much – I’ve seen plenty of people in positions higher than me who had the alphabet soup but still couldn’t manage their way out of a paper bag, never mind manage and earn respect from their teams of professionals. So the task for job seekers like me becomes convincing hiring managers (if you can get to them at all) to take a chance on you despite the lack of alphabet soup after your name. This is where the Imposter Syndrome can easily insert its insidious little voice into your head and tell you you’re never going to be good enough like the other job applicants. When this happens, perhaps knowing about Thomas Edison’s experience can help: When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” It’s all about perspective. The lesson is to keep going and not give up. Don’t tell yourself “no” – there are plenty of other people who will do that for you. Tell yourself “Yes!”, and if you fall on your face, get up, dust yourself off, and try something else. The old adage is true: It’s not how many times you fall down that matters. What matters is how many times you get back up – And the number of times you get back up only needs to be one more than the number of times you fall. One.

    Thank you Kyle, for writing that even those of us with years of experience (some famous) can still have these feelings – I hope what I’ve written in response helps some of your younger readers.

  64. I find the imposter syndrome in nearly everything I do (and don’t). It’s the procrastination that leads me to write an essay the morning it’s due. It’s ‘not having enough time’ to develop skills and hobbies. The guitar I got for christmas has been sitting in the corner of my room, untouched. I wanted it soooo bad! I wanted to challenge myself and love doing it. I shut myself off to doing things I love and am good at like art. This causes shame in myself for not doing well and having no skills when I robbed myself of excelling in the first place. At the root of all these is self doubt that produces overwhelming anxiety.

  65. I was just about to leave this site. I realized I was doing it. This has helped me and I will begin the process of change. Thank you

  66. I am late to writing this comment but I’ve never felt so much like an article has come straight from my brain. I have never felt so free as I did in realizing that I’m just not that special. I am a normal person and not some crazy godly being and for the first time I feel like that is a good thing. Imposer syndrome has plagued me my whole life and I think I am finally ready to grab onto the confidence I feel after reading this post and set a few things straight in my life. This is crazy. Thank you. So very much. I’m going to post this before I change my mind! I know its a rocky relationship between me and yourself but at least now, I have a good place to start from.

  67. This resonates with me. I am currently in my first year of my PhD and i feel like I don’t know enough. I feel like I don’t even deserve the scholarship and admission into the university. Atimes, i convince myself I only got accepted because I had my MSc in the same university.
    I don’t talk much on my interests as i FEEL I will be judged when people ask questions I don’t have the right answers to.
    I don’t socialise as i should for fear of sounding unintelligent.
    Half the time, I feel I have not done enough for my thesis to progress.
    I think i feel this way because I don’t have enough industry experience (what was i thinking when I applied for a PhD). I FEEL LIKE A FRAUD!!!!!

  68. My new boss recently told me she thinks I have imposter syndrome. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s true. Apparently I have a habit of trying to quit jobs and volunteer work because I genuinely believe I’m not the best person for the job. I don’t quit, but I talk to my supervisors and suggest they find someone more suitable because I don’t feel like my best is good enough.
    I don’t know where this started. It might have started when I began working in the sustainability education field with no prior training on the subject. Four years later I admit I have learned a lot, but I still feel like I don’t fit in.
    I also feel like the things I want in life aren’t normal and I need to get a “real” career. I’m 37 and applying for grad school in fine arts because it’s the thing I love most. However, I’m constantly telling myself I’m not good enough and I’m not a real artist because I like to goof off as much as I like to work and real artists are always making art.
    I keep doing it anyway, all of these things. I don’t know if that means I don’t have imposter syndrome and it’s just low self esteem. It sounds like people with imposter syndrome don’t follow through and hold themselves back. I’m not sure I’m doing that. I’m a yes person and I can’t not give my best and then more. That’s a whole different problem, but I’m just trying to figure out if I really have imposter syndrome so I can deal with it. Some of the stuff I read blows my mind with how similar it is to me and other information doesn’t sound like me. How do I know for sure?

  69. I feel like an imposter when it comes to romantic relationships. I have the guts to ask out people but I always feel like I’m presenting myself better than I am. I’m also way different than I used to be both physically and mentally (lost a ton of weight in a healthy way and beat back anxiety and depression) so sometimes I struggle with still seeing myself as that person. This article helped though, thank you for writing.

  70. I’ve never wrote a comment ever before anywhere because I feel like no one cares anyway but why not do it now.

    I always bought I had anxiety but it was only when I started new jobs, yes jobs because I’ve quit to many because of feeling like an imposter :/

    Recently I got a job which I have 3 days in and I feel super underqualified because I have no experience what so ever from what I believe. I know I could do it but I am a perfectionist and want to learn everything already when it’s only my first week, I feel like I could learn but I tell myself discouraging words that I won’t be able to and will be judged for how dumb I am. Deep down I know I could do it but at the same time I tell myself I can’t just like all the other jobs I’ve quit because of severe anxiety where I wouldn’t even sleep for 24 hrs just thinking how to quit. For some reason this job feels like I could learn a lot but how do I encourage myself when there is always that voice telling me it’s to hard and to run from the problems that will or will not show up in the future.
    Why can’t I brush this feeling off and why do I always justify my discouraging words instead of the positive ones.

    Learning that this feeling is labeled makes me feel so much better however because it tells me that what I’m feeling is real and normal. I’m not the only one who feels this way when I thought I was the only one feeling like a crybaby.

    I’m scared of self growth because of the responsibility and hard work that comes with it, i just want to breeze my life but I know that’s not how it works so I have to fake it till I make it for the meantime. Hope I can get this feeling off soon because it sucks!

  71. I’m starting a new job soon that I don’t feel I deserve and that I don’t feel qualified to do, but the people who hired me know my background and know my experience. All I’ve heard from people is that they’re so excited to have me start and that they’ve heard great things about me, which only makes it all worse. Logically, my feelings don’t make sense, but for whatever reason, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m just going to do a terrible job and everyone is going to hate me for it.

  72. Thank you for your post, it is really helpful.

    One of the main tthings I avoided because I felt like a fraud are:

    1) making action with girls who clearly were interested in me. I literally would think that I dont deserve that girl thinking she only likes me because of what she sees outside and not the real me. The best example is this girl who I went on a date and it was good and made a plan to meet again in few days. As we were texting at some point I remember just simply not responding to one message because I started overthingking about the best answer aka I felt my natural response is not good enough (deep down feeling that I am fraud and dont deserve her because I didnt feel like being trully authentic with her – I demosntrated alpha traits externally but deep down felt it was just perfomance to ‘get her’) so I never texted her back. This pattern has repeated itsel often.

    2) is my writing incl producing essay for academia or simply expressing myself in social media or business endeavors. For example currently I am struggling to finish my assigment and had a block for like 3 weeks now going round the cycles of looking back into content again and again, resteucturing the structure million times, trying to formulte answer on the level which is above that of which is possible… trying to go above myself, rejecting my real ability real style… (I have selfimage of myself as someone who can produces extraordinary level stuff… and this psyches me out from actually practicing to achieve that… non-acceptance hinders improvememt). I like being exposed as a fraud if I send the essay written in my own style on my own level in a good enough way… This is a pattern which, I think, comes from me used to “manipulate” the way I express myself (supress authentic side) to avoid beiny rejected for being my real self and thus feeling like if I start being my real self everyone will see that Ive been fake the whole time…

    The way I need to start dealing with this is to develop conscious-stream writing habit daily (to be proccess-oriented) and write the essay draft for example allowing it to be messey and garbage-like so there is actual output produced. And so focusing on editing later, rephrasing, deleting, adding, checking for grammar etc. Also getting and tracking positive feedback of my work and my authentic expressions.

  73. I so badly want to branch out and start a business on my own but feel tremendous risk because I don’t have a true “expertise”. I fear that going into something I’m not “permissioned” to do will allow others in the field, potential employees and business prospects to call me a fraud for exploring a line of business I have no “business” being in.

  74. So… here I am. I didn’t even know the name of this syndrome until a few months ago.. and I tried to ignore it after looking it up even. I told a guy I barely knew on a date, “I feel like I’m not good enough at my job.. even though I know how to do it.” So he was the one who named this for me. Now I’m at a new job… but I still feel the same sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about this job.I keep thinking, “they’re gonna fire me. I’m not useful enough. Why is my boss calling me an “expert?” I don’t know everything about this. The guys downstairs know so much more than me.. maybe I should just quit and they can take over..!” It’s not really a “feeling sorry for myself” kind of feeling, but more of an urgent anxiousness to get the heck out of my job before someone else notices OR better learn everything ASAP so I can continue to pull this thing off.
    UGH. I don’t want to live in fear about this stuff. I’m capable of doing this! I have the credentials. So I’m going to do whatever it takes to move on from this… I’m glad I read this blog. I started feeling a lot more hopeful as I read it because honestly it’s so relatable.
    I really like the tips and I’m just happy to feel like I can face this a little bit more 🙂

  75. This post has been made some time ago and I feel stupid and this is probably going to be awful and extremely long, but, well, so be it…(no need to read this, I just need to write it)
    I have been told too often that I am exceptional. I graduated top of my class in both middle school and high school with the highest grades, including the final exams after high school.
    I am not a native English speaker, I learned it mostly by myself, later in school, but I have grown accustomed to using English like a “second mother tongue”. I have also learned Japanese by myself on a whim. For over 10 years of education, I took part in various contests in most school subjects, especially mathematics and chemistry (national level, even, ha).
    I never bothered to actively study for any of this, I just, somehow, knew and remembered things. People expected me to excel at anything I do. When I actually tried TRYING to work harder, things went wrong in various ways and degrees and I would never get to the point I knew I could reach. I became disgusted at my own “lucky accomplishments”.
    I was part of a volunteering association for two years, I was trusted and got involved in many projects, yet I always felt like I was useless or overestimated. I have two wonderful best friends. But they must be exceptions because I am terrible at connecting with other people.
    I applied at a highly selective programme of a prestigious university. I received an offer a week (not months) after a meeting, and I was praised for my resume. Yet I feel like I was lucky to get in and hope I will not screw it up and waste these years as I did in high school.
    What hurts the most is that whenever I try to be objective and think of it like this, it may come across as boasting or ingratitude. Believe me, I am not proud-just pointing out my stupidity. I have been accusing myself of being a failure, wasting time and not doing more for years already.
    I know aspects of psychology and the brain, trying to come to terms with my childhood scars and family trauma resulted in frequent mental breakdowns in high school. I dislike bothering others, any discussion attempt failed. I had to manage it alone.
    I want to pursue neurosciences as a researcher and become a mangaka. As a first step, I thought of continuing to read ahead (I love this field) and start a series of drawings for fun.
    But I feel like crying when I draw despite having decent or funny ideas, I freeze when posting online even under a pseudonym. Whenever I try to study or read books I spend a lot of time on them because I feel I am stupid and will miss the key points if I do not.
    I cannot go to a therapist for various reasons, including being ashamed I could not handle it although I should have been able to.

    So here I am. I have ‘means and ambition’. But I frequently break down in tears when nobody is looking. I cannot make friends and if I do I feel bad for wasting their time. I am disgusted at myself when I open my mouth to speak. I expect everyone to sooner or later despise me because they might either think I believe myself superior or that I am searching for attention. I fear to one day find out I am too stupid for my desired field or still have terrible art skills, that my other skills got worse. I worry about my father, who sees me as some kind of genius. I may never be able to help others. I go day after day trying not to think about how I avoid living the life I would want-how I do not deserve it anyway.
    I cannot abandon my passions, settle for anything else (or kill myself) because it feels too wrong. I try to get out there and do things, but I notice everything, and understanding and feeling are two different phenomena. It happens that I have no energy left to keep smiling like all is fine, and I get stuck.

    I more or less know where all this comes from and why it happens and ways to address it and so on. But few things that I have tried have worked for longer periods and none hits the source completely. It is just so tiring to keep having a behaviour that is self-destructive and purely irrational but too deeply rooted to change it in just a few weeks or even months.
    (By the time I have finished this I have calmed down and feel bad for sending it and for how long it is…I really hope nobody reads this)

  76. Hi.

    I stumbled upon this page after a rather hard day of work and intense headache. I am a fairly new product owner who went from a smaller startup to a fortune 500 company.

    The product department here is brand new, I’m only the second PO here. And my manager is expecting me to answer questions he doesn’t know, either. I’m basically in a role where nobody has it figured out, and am kind of expected to figure it out.

    I wouldn’t say I hate not having direction. I think I’m creative and have great ideas on my own, but since I’m so new to the company, there’s a lot of stuff I still have to learn.

    -speaking up in meetings because I feel like my contributions are going to be less than is expected of me. (Even though sometimes someone else will say exactly what I was thinking).
    -not pitching any ideas because I feel that I don’t have the seniority to make them plausible and the knowledge to back them up.
    -letting others take the lead on things that I want to, because I think they may do a better job.
    -shying away from talking to customers, VP’s, directors, because of a lack of confidence in my position (I feel my position is bigger than I am ready for).

    I view other people at my company as these genuises who are way higher up than I could ever be. I constantly call BS when someone tells me I did a great job or am on the right path. When something falls into place due to my effort, I think ‘No way this is right. It was too easy. I haven’t contributed enough.’

    This post helps me realize nobody knows what they’re doing. It’s just that they’re trying their best and they’re confident and stand by their decisions. Even if they fail, they keep coming back. They won’t take no for an answer because they believe they have just as much to offer than everyone else in the room, if not more!

  77. Thank you so much for this article, it’s scarily true and deep down I know its right, I agree with everything.

    I somehow manage to stop myself from having nice things / talk myself out of praise or compliments because I feel I don’t deserve them. I’m also really harsh on myself, too often.

    I recently did a part time music course to launch my own business – because I wanted to move into a career focused on something I’m really passionate about. I didn’t finish the assignment, or even start it for that matter – because I was too worried that people would think I was a fake or didn’t know enough about the subject, or that I’m too old to start now at 30 years old. Whenever it comes down to the ‘do’-ing I always put this off and find excuses not to follow through. This makes me feel like an utter failure.

    I will try to read this article as much as I can to keep this top of mind and realise I’m being totally stupid.

  78. I am a PhD student and I don’t feel like I belong with the other Phd students in the department. I am in my mid 2nd year and feel like I’m doing what a monkey could essentially do, punching numbers and pressing play. I feel really fortunate to have this opportunity and feel like I’m wasting it. Something worth noting is that I couldn’t get full funding for my project so I’m still building my student loan and it’s going to become really big by the end of this degree.
    I don’t feel like I belong, I wan’t good enough to be funded, so what makes me think I can pull it off? And what kind of investment is this? I don’t even know what I can use it for in terms of work. I’m realising more and more that this is not something I want to do, and it takes a lot of energy trying to do what others have been doing so easily in a constrained time frame.
    I used to be more or less a straight A student but the higher I came in the system, the less people were qualified. I went to good schools and became a mediocre student, which was harsh. I had to give up hobbies just to pass because the bar was higher at these shools than others. I was still the first of my classmates to start a PhD and I just don’t feel like I earned it.

    I’m having trouble socially, where if I’m in a group of more than just two others I habve to plan what I say before I say it. It results in me beating myself up scilently more times than for me to actually speak. I have to run through just a brief, unimportant comment several times to not stutter. This is so crippling, and the more people,closer to my field and louder surroundings makes it worse. Sometimes it becomes too much and I just fail to focus on anything because I’m too stressed.

    The only relief I find is in painting, origami, guitar and activities that require me to do nothing at all (reading, watching TV etc). When I wake up, all I want to do is paint, learn new techniques, try new paints, new motives and just experiment. I realised this was a good way for me to destress so I created BetmunArt. A year ago I decided to dedicate time to drawing and painting for my well being and created an instagram account. The premise is that I’m just doing what I like and what I feel like, when I feel like it. Watching the watercolour pigments flow on the paper is such a nice sight and I want to share the love I have for watercolour and calligraphy. Recently I have started looking at the opportunities of making this hobby in to a paying side-job but I’m scared that I’m not good enough, and that the calming effect it has on me will be gone. But on the other hand it could turn into the carreer I want. No doubt it would become hectic from time to time, and I wouldn’t want to be bored either.
    It would just be incredible to be able to do what I have come to realise that I love and have the opportunity to let others discover the calming effect of watercolour.
    What holds me back? Two words: student loan. It’s big enough as is and still have 1.5-2.5 years of build-up left. If I quit, I get the portion of scholarship as loan, and that is not desireable. I wouldn’t be able to make due with sparse income on paintings, much less start paying down on loans.
    So no matter what I do, I’m kidding myself. If I quit the PhD, I’ll have a world of financial problems more or less immediatly. If I continue, I will do lots of work on something I’m not actually interested in. It was more of a novelty that I thought I would enjoy, but it has resulted in awe in others when they ask what I’m doing. I have no idea how to handle a compliment, so even that has become difficult. How do you respond to ‘oh that sounds so awesome, you’re so lucky and must be so smart!’ when you don’t like it and don’t feel like you deserve the opportunity in the first place? My family just think I’m modest, and have no idea what I’m doing. Well, that makes more of us.
    And at the back of my head is a thought: what if I could succeed with watercolour and calligraphy and be happy?

    I’m mentally exhausted, and more and more physically tired too. Trying to keep up with a life I don’t feel like I’m suited for, not smart enough for. I’ve been down with cold after cold after flu, and my (self diagnosed) social enxiety is becoming worse.

    On a different note; My boyfriend and I bought a house. Sure, we have a mortgage but we own a house with the bank. But. My dad ‘had to die’ for that bit of my success. Let me explain. My dad died almost two years ago now, drowned. It shouldn’t have happened, but it did. My inheritance I put in the house, which is supposed to be a good investment (but might not be, and that’s not a story for here). That’s the way I have portrayed myself to look at it while in reality I’m more thinking that in order for me to get a house, my dad had to die and leave me money. I would so much rather have my dad around to be able to tak to about all these feelings, he always knew what to say and what I should do or how I could find out what to do.

    These are thoughts that I have shared bits of with different people, and it has been laughed off. How can I not be happy, I have a good degree and am half way to my second degree, have a house and a boyfriend. Perfect, right?

    Thanks for the article. I don’t know what I’m going through, but it sounds like part of it is imposter syndrome.

  79. I feel fraudulent when conducting my readings for others. I know I have a unique viewpoint but feeling fraudulent has stopped me from promoting myself and my work.

    I have good feedback but fail to act when it comes to advertising and showing people what I can do and how I can help them.

    I always feel “well who is she to conduct readings, what would she know!” Will happen – it doesn’t but it’s my underlying fear.

  80. I have kept myself from being more expressive because of my Imposter Syndrome. I’ve been lying to myself for so long that when I do something out in the open, I believe that I’m lying to everyone. Just typing the words “my Imposter Syndrome” feels like I’m actually lying to whoever sees this. It has kept me from being in relationships, out of fear that when they realize who I “really am” they will hate me and want nothing to do with me. It made me have a mental breakdown in front of my boyfriend in which I told him I’m relationship not material because I have this ridiculous notion that I’m a manipulative, attention-seeking, narcissist hiding behind the most impressive facade that could would blow a sociopath’s out of the water. I think I know where and how this syndrome came into my life, but now I have only the urge fix it. After this week, I’ve been feeling less paranoid about my relationships by reassuring myself that the voice in my head is a liar, and that I can’t listen to it or I’m putting my relationships in jeopardy. It has helped, but I’m anxious to eradicate this from psyche. I’m not the actress I think I am. I shouldn’t give myself that much credit, but you just don’t realize that in the moment, y’know? I have to give myself some credit. I get the biggest high from putting myself out there. It’s the best elation I’ve ever felt, and I just want to feel it without dealing with the guilt afterwards.

  81. I’m processing some existential feels into words.

    Sometimes I get caught up in this story where I’m far behind the people in my life. That I only learned bits and pieces of random places and people, only to lose it and start over again every year. That I only ingrained the ability to be a chameleon, without retaining enough info to relate to the people around me and if I did connect then it would be gone in a year anyway. That if I can’t take a year off my current life and “catch up’, I’ll be “behind” all my life and even if I do, the slate will soon be blank anyway.

    I felt this grief fully for the first time in my early 20s. It felt like identity loss. Like every piece I grew of myself from every house, school, person was just recycled into energy used for being a chameleon in a new environment. And that my strongest most ingrained functions would always be in favor of not retaining and belonging but on floating around the outside of everyone. My biggest fear then was that I will always be perpetually behind. I can now recognize that that fear used to manifest as intense social anxiety and panic and that now it has lessened over the years. 🧡
    It has come back full force this year due to decreased confidence and withdrawal from all my friends. I sense that my friends will never really connect to me so there trying would be a waste of energy.
    I feel this grief over the places of my past that never got to grow. For the connections that were constantly stated and never made.
     I feel discouraged from trying to be apart of growing in my life.
    I know there are many positive aspects to everything I have experienced, just like everyone else in the world has had both good and bad. The sense of identity loss can be so loud at times.
    Manufacturing motivation is crucial to continue to grow from here but I am slipping and so so alone.
    The only solution seems to help others so that I can feel useful.

  82. Here goes…
    I rarely add my thoughts/opinions to a conversation because I always feel like my contribution doesn’t matter anyways, so why add it … speak when spoken to. I usually assume nobody cares anyways. In text based exchanges I probably delete half the messages I intend to send because I figure nobody will care.
    There are so many other people that are better than me at X, so why would I pretend I can hang with them in Y? Guess that’s me focusing on credentials…

    I always feel disconnected from people. I only barley feel connected to my family. I can never relate to peoples feelings. I have found I feel the most lonely when I am trying to socialize. I’d rather just be alone. My interactions do not feel real, but more like me desperately trying to figure out what I should say in response so that people think I’m one of them. Afterwards I will replay that interaction in my head over and over and think about how dumb what I said was and how it makes me look. All the while I could not tell you what the other person said in that exchange. Ego I guess…

    I think about what others infer about me based on the things I’ve said, and I feel boxed into that unspoken identity.

    I have a really hard time taking complements on things I’m good at. I don’t deserve those. ANYONE can do ANYTHING so there is no reason why the thing i did is special, or even good. Somebody else could have done it so much better anyways.

    I see dependence on others as a weakness, yet not having other people to talk through things with leaves me in my own head where I continue berating myself over nothing.

    While I have started getting over this, I worry about every movement I make, literally all of them. I wonder if I am doing it wrong. I wonder how I SHOULD be doing it.

    While I am on a track to be in a career I am good at and love, I feel like I am not where I should be at this point. I feel inadequate compared to the people around me. I really don’t feel like I’m one of them in any way besides being a human.

    I really want to know who I am (or could be), but my mindset of self doubt is not helping. I’m glad I found this article today.

  83. This is what I needed right now. I usually fend off Impostor Syndrome fairly well, but recently I have felt stuck with a class assignment. I have been afraid to start because I’m afraid I can’t do it. And that just makes me feel worse because I feel behind. I have done very well in all of the other classes in the program, even when it was very challenging. The tips here helped me feel better and much more motivated to do the work I need to do.

  84. I have been suffering from this my entire life! I always wanted to be a pediatric surgeon, but I was not given the best guidance during med school. There were a handful of people who flat out told me I was not good enough for it. Initially I brushed it off, but it became so ingrained in my thoughts that I started believing it. Long story short–I became a doctor and am now in the final months of pediatrics training. I have been told by numerous doctors that I am doing an excellent job. In fact, many have commented that I am particularly good at doing procedures (ex: suturing) and that I would be a great surgeon. It got me thinking that maybe I should apply to surgery. The only thing preventing me from doing so is the fear that maybe I’m not good enough and I just happened to become a doctor by chance. I know this sounds illogical since I treat patients every day and they’re fine. But I still constantly find myself underestimating my abilities. What’s strange is that I feel more comfortable working in the ED or hospital, and it’s only when I’m at home that I feel the thoughts of being a fraud. But I think it’s time I stop this toxic thought process and do what I have always wanted. I will go ahead and apply for surgery this year. For anyone who took the time to read this, I sincerely thank you.

  85. Wow i don’t know where to start. Okay so first, I’ll start with my educational background. I graduated from high school a full year early (and I was the first person in my school to have done that), I graduated 4 years later with my associates degree in nursing, then finished my bachelors in 10 more months, then my masters in nursing in 4 months (yes, months). my friends and family all think I’m a genius and constantly praise me for my accomplishments, but all I see is a failure who didn’t deserve those degrees. The truth is, I think I’m just good at school, but a failure at being a nurse. I was too afraid to start work as a nurse due to low confidence and so I started my first job in hospice (where i’ve been ever since) because even after these years, I’m still too fearful of working in any other type of nursing. I chose hospice because I thought it was the least intense of all other nursing types. I’m mainly afraid of speaking to doctors, patients and families when they ask questions and i dont have the answers for them because i’m supposed to be the “expert”. I honestly hate having the title I do because everyone wants to ask me health questions and I never know what to tell them. Lately I’ve been battling with myself between going to nurse practitioner school in hopes I learn more and can finally put this imposter syndrome behind me, or to stop trying to prove something to myself and everyone else and just accept myself for who I am. Deep down, I think I only want to be a nurse practitioner to make others proud and to boost my own confidence, but in reality, I think it’ll only make it harder on me since I can’t even bring myself to apply to a medsurg unit. Basically, do I try and go for it with the chance that it could make me better, or don’t do it because there’s a chance it could make me worse? I honestly think I have the brains for it, but my problem is that I don’t have the confidence in myself to have that kind of authority and leadership, even though everyone around me thinks I do.

  86. My impostor syndrome is pretty new, about a year. I feel like when I’m doing my best at work, I say or act in a certain way and I worry that people are going to think I’m fake. I don’t believe I am because I am sure to be following the right path for my life. But I still fear that they think otherwise and that they hate me and want me to fail. It puts me on a crazy stress and on-the-edge type of mood. Which makes me believe even more that they think I’m fake.

    I’m not sure what to do but just doing my best.

  87. a Video Blog of my spiritual journey. In fact I started to post videos a few days go but not sharing anything yet…
    Fund-raising because I feel “I’m not ready yet” although I have a product, a team, a client and revenues. The truth is I’m scare to face investor’s rejection 🙁

  88. Hello,

    Kind of funny, I already felt like I was being a fraud by trying to relate to everyone else’s comments on here but not really deserving to. I feel like I’m just trying to make excuses for my attitude or my failures just so I don’t have to take responsibility for myself. It’s weird, because people in my life would probably describe me as someone with the greatest confidence and not shy at all. I always crack jokes, and especially try to flaunt a “don’t-give-a-f***” attitude, especially about the things that I am the most insecure about.

    I flaunt my confidence despite every moment of my life focusing on my insecurities.

    I preach independence but exist completely dependent on the validation of others.

    I acknowledge my flaws and that I have the power to change, and then do nothing to actually change them.

    I just began my first year of law school and was lucky enough to receive a full tuition scholarship. Even though I know deep down I should recognize that I must have played some role in my success, I cannot help but feel that I just got lucky. I believe that I only got this far because I am a minority and I was only accepted because I’m black, not actually because I’m good enough to be here. I constantly do things and act a certain way because I want to give people a reason to doubt me. That way whenever I’m a failure, I’m not a disappointment. But if I succeed, I exceeded someones expectations and proved someone wrong. Also, because its easier to believe that people doubt me because they don’t actually know what I am capable of, than to acknowledge that people doubt me because I really am not capable. I feel like I don’t deserve to have certain opportunities because people are always going to be better than me, but I am cheating my way to get ahead because I get to swipe my “minority” and “disadvantaged” and “affirmative action” card.

  89. Even after completing my doctorate, I still feel like a fraud. I thought this would help, as if the other degrees hanging on my wall weren’t enough. I applied and interviewed for a higher position at my college several years ago, and didn’t get the job. The posting opened up again, and I feel that there is no way I can apply and be exposed as an imposter again. Everyone says I’m crazy and I have to go for it. I can’t even deal with the thought that comes along with that fear of failure and exposure. I instantly feel like I’m going to throw up when I think about it. Tomorrow I’m presenting a poster at a conference and this old feeling is creeping in, crippling me as I think of ways to call in sick. I wish this wouldn’t keep holding me back.

  90. I lost a job to my “imposter syndrome”. Except I don’t like to call it that. Never have. Only recently did I discover that “The ‘I don’t belong’ Mindset” feels much better.

    Ever since I started my first job, I felt like I didn’t belong there. That I wasn’t good enough, that they deserved better than me, and I will admit, it pushed me to work harder, and my employers liked that about me. But it made things worse because I kept thinking “they think I have a good work ethic but I’m just terrified for my job.”
    I’ve been lucky enough to have only had two jobs (and one summer internship) in my young adult life, but my in my first job, I worked so hard to “keep up”, terrified that they would start thinking I was a bad employee and they would chastise me or get rid of me. Honestly, I don’t know which is worse. I take chastisement so badly, even the thought of it gives me severe anxiety. But I began to hate my job. I loved my coworkers more than anything, but I hated what I was doing. But I was so terrified to let them down, I kept working, and kept pushing myself, until eventually, I think I just gave up, and made a pretty large mistake that cost all of us.
    It didn’t cost too horrendously, but the fact I got everyone in trouble weighed down so hard on me. My coworkers were asking me what happened, and why I seemed so different lately. They worried for my health. But all I could think of was how I let them down. I left there, a few weeks after that, that mistake weighing on my shoulders. After that, I spent the next few months jobless, staying with my parents and being their housekeeper. But that gave me a lot of time to pray and recover myself, and to tell myself “Hey, you’re not a freak. You’re a decent human being and these people really do love you.” I wrote complements that I knew I received often down on sticky notes, and put them all on my mirror. I even wrote myself a few complements. I still go back and look at them now to remind myself.
    I still deal with these things. Even at my current job I’m always worried someone is looking over my shoulder, and stressing when I don’t immediately have any work to do, and think people will see me and think I’m a slacker. I’m still working through it, and it still gives me anxiety, but I’m working through it. I’m better than before, and I’m hoping to continue to improve.

  91. I constantly grew at work. I was at the same company for 13 years and was promoted every two years until I ran the biggest unit in the business and was respected by all.

    Throughout that time I managed to get by with introversion, severe depression and a crippling fear of public speaking which is a necessary part of the job.

    My position was safe but the company was a bit stagnant and I was headhunted by a bigger firm for a bigger role. I felt like an imposter in the interviews but got the job.

    It went badly from the beginning; a combination of the culture, my boss and most importantly; my own internal issues. I started ignoring problems, focussed on minutiae and all of the depression, OCD, Imposter syndrome overwhelmed me. I ended up becoming a shell of myself to the point where I couldn’t make a decision with any confidence.

    After a head to head with the boss I quit and because I had a long notice period I was put on restricted leave meaning I had a few months off paid.

    I used this time for meditation, reading and relaxing but soon lapsed into old ways of thinking. I managed to get a contracting gig with a very well respected company. They want me to become permanent, I have a couple of other big options too and I am scared to take any of them because I am worried that I will fail immediately. Reading the above and not knowing me makes it look like I must be good at what I do and I sort of know that I am but constantly get that feeling. I definitely have the swing of knowing I can do it all through to not being able to introduce myself in a meeting. The swings make it so tough but I agree that the only answer is through action and I am a terrible procrastinator too.

    Writing this comment has helped. Thanks for sharing this article Kyle – it is very helpful and I’ll come back to it many times I am sure. Action is the key!

  92. I was born and got my degree in Brasil, was a professor in the University, came to Germany, got a PhD, live in Italy now, speak 5 languages, gave a lecture in a German University last October and….I feel like a fraud…

  93. I have pretty intense imposter syndrome. I can’t take compliments, I value all of my accomplishments and accolades as something I got either through luck, or by working really hard and therefore not actually having succeeded through merits of my ability. Failure doesn’t mean much to me though, so this mindset is just my way of life – it doesn’t make me depressed or anything. I feel like if anyone thinks I’m intelligent, it’s because I’ve just gotten really good at convincing them for my benefit, not because I actually am the things they think.
    This didn’t become a huge problem until I started dating someone, and I felt like my feelings for him weren’t real, like I was only convincing him of one more thing about me. I felt like a fraud, like I was going to have to end it because I can’t go on with him believing something about me that I felt like I was faking, but I couldn’t hurt him either. Once I realized that this was my imposter syndrome at work, I understood that because I’m having imposter feelings about him, there have to be real feelings underneath them, and that I really do, actually, love him, and they’re not fake. I’m so relieved.

  94. I am a female working towards an engineering degree, and I feel like a fraud all the time! I’m surrounded by extremely intelligent people( 99% of them are men), and I’m so afraid they are going to find out I’m not as intelligent as they are! Half of the time I ask myself why am I putting myself through this torture? Why didnt I pick an easier route? I have always been known as a talker, but when I’m around classmates I stumble on my words and end up looking like an idiot! I was just recently hired into an intern position and I honestly couldnt believe they hired me. I just knew I didnt get the job after my sweaty interview (the head engineer got up and poured me a glass of ice water because I was so sweaty) and I was relieved thinking well atleast now they wont find out I’m a fraud! Well they hired me and now I feel so guilty all the time. I feel like I’m letting them down and they are constantly thinking they should of hired someone else. It’s a daily struggle!! Reading this has helped and even writing this post has helped. I’m so happy there are other people out there like me!

  95. I have avoided contacting people that my service could help, because I just felt like an imposter. Now already exercising it and starting to talk to people and commenting on all sorts of questions in FB groups.

  96. I am turning 41 in couple days. I hide myself for a long time, I’ve self-deprecated every good word I heard about me. I wasn’t able to accept a compliment and wasn’t able smile and say “thank you” instead for years.
    I wrote beautiful! songs for my son. I really like them, they really touched my heart but I wasn’t able to say I write children songs. Instead,” I said I write some stuff, like song stuff for kids. I can’t tell they are really songs but I don’t know. I am not a musician or singer…
    Before turning 41, I have discovered the problem when I was googling “why can’t I accept a compliment” and while reading Irvin Yalom’s “Everyday gets a little closer”
    As a mom of two, who spent last 5 years with her kids at home and forgot herself, her abilities; your blog truly brighten my world and helped me to face myself.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Tonight I am going to take a pencil and write for 30 minutes to meet with myself and see the smile of a little girl inside me…

  97. Started a new hobby following over a decade after my previous hobby imploded due to my being sabotaged. The fear of committing to this new, intense hobby is frightening, because I’m so sure I’ll never be completely accepted by those long-time in the group. In my mind, it doesn’t matter how much I try, because right now I suck at the tough activity they’re so good at. Mentally I KNOW I’m not going to get better not participating, but it’s such a long haul, especially at my age. Furthermore, work and real life (house, chores, relationships, etc.) have to come first. I don’t know how to get over this, and the anxiety is crippling at times, now with bonus nightmares occurring. Oddly, as a person in the group I feel validated and like a contributing member in some ways, but not in my primary focus in the group. It’s the very thing I want so much and am targeting to get good at, but it’s so rigorous to learn and DO, so I feel horribly out of my element and unworthy of anyone’s acceptance. This is so draining. It’s getting worse.

  98. I just graduated from design college and I really don’t believe I deserved it, or the grade I got. When my professor told me my A- grade, I couldn’t believe it, I was genuinely confused. I told him “I didn’t expect this, I thought I would get a C”. Throughout that whole semester, I constantly compared myself to other projects that were more innovative, that looked more amazing, and that they actually worked day and night to finish. Meanwhile, because I was constantly not believing in myself and that this project will be anything more than trash compared to the others, I kept procrastinating more and more and more. And so now I was comparing myself to my fellow students because they finished everything at a much higher pace, and didn’t feel like crying everytime they went to consult with the professor.

    On top of this, I’m in a relationship with a guy I truly love, and who loves me back. I have so much faith in this relationship, but I’m constantly feeling like I don’t deserve someone like him. I’m much more emotional and have outbursts every now and then, and it makes him sad. But that fucking kills me. It feels like, he could be with someone so much better, why is he even staying with me? I’m awful. He keeps saying I’m an amazing person, smart, brave, kind, blablabla and I just feel like, that’s utter bullshit. How could he even say these things about me when they’re not that true?

    Then comes the small music community I’m a part of. I don’t make music but I’m a huge fan of this type of music, and dance in all of the parties and befriend everyone there. And at some point, I made a facebook group that helped some people get in contact. But other than that, I contribute NOTHING. And yet they keep complimenting me, saying I’m some sort of encyclopedia on the scene, saying I bring energy into the community, when I didn’t do shit. I would tell you if I accomplished something but I didn’t. I just know that I don’t deserve all that praise. They even made an album dedicated to me, and I just had to bite my tongue and try not to tell them how I didn’t deserve this, and other people deserved it much more. I had to physically force myself not to say that.

    I know this is a lot of blabbing, and those are just 3 situations out of many where I feel like I’m not doing enough, I’m not deserving of praise, I’m not deserving of love. I’m not as great as people think I am, and I would know right? I know who I am and I know what I achieve, and I know it’s not that special.

  99. I feel like my A’s in my lower division physics courses were partially handed to me, and now I’m at UC Berkeley because of them, and I’m so afraid I’m not going to be able to fake my physics knowledge until I graduate. At the same time, my friends treat me as if I’m not able to make it through either, because all I ever do is let my lack of confidence in myself show. I thought for sure that I was going to fail my last course, and I told a couple of close friends, and I ended up getting a B. I don’t know how to overcome this.

  100. I started and quit roller derby (citing my skates were too small), I made 4 zines then stopped (my depression was overwhelming), I stopped going to karaoke (I’m losing my singing voice), and now I’m coming close to quitting being a webcam model because I feel like such a fake. I feel like they’re going to find out who I really am and they will expose me, ridicule me, eject me from their lives. But I didn’t know it had a NAME! Thank you so much for bringing this article to the internet, where lameass fake losers like me congregate.

  101. Oh boy, this article & the comments have really hit a tender spot in me right now.

    I just finished graduate school. I am the first in my family to go to college, and now the first to also graduate from grad school. I’m terrified to find a job in my new field of work because I feel like I’m not really smart enough or good enough to have graduated from grad school. After grad school, I took & passed the national board certification in my field– I was sure they must have messed up when they scored my test & said I passed by mistake. I don’t feel like I will be good enough in my new field of work. I’m terrified to interview for new jobs bc I think they’ll figure out I’m a fraud & don’t really know what I’m doing….

    But I passed the national board exams. It was not a mistake. I did the work, I am now nationally certified. I not only gradated from graduate school, while I continued to work & face significant challenges during school, but I managed to graduate with honors & was inducted into the Honor society in my field of study. I am smart. I do know things. I don’t know everything, but I never will, and that’s okay.

    The truth is, I have felt like a fraud most my life. In elementary school teachers noticed I was interested in learning & they had take tests. My scores put me in the honors classes, but I thought that was a mistake (that somehow no one ever found out….)

    I’m tired of feeling like I don’t deserve to be where I’m at. I’m tired of feeling like a fraud. I’m tired of the little, critical voice in my head telling me that I’m not enough.

    I’m ready to go be great in my new field of work because the more I do it, the better I’ll become at it. I’ll be successful as long as I keep trying. It will be challenging at first, because I’m a novice, but eventually I’ll get experience and I will feel like I belong. I’ve worked hard to get here, and this isn’t the end of the journey, yet. There’s still more I can & will do.

  102. Hi,
    I returned to college and studied to become a psychologist. I have my own private practice but I feel such an imposter. I have loads of problems ..suffer from depression and anxiety and really feel like I don’t really help my clients. Even when they seem happy at the end of a consultation I think its because its the first time they consulted. Its so bad that I recently considered stopping all consultations…and going out and getting a very basic job. But i decided to give it another go…I hope to find a similar minded psychologist and doing some learning by doing work…trying out new methods, recording the sessions and working on them together..to try to improve my skills. I love learning so I’m pretty motivated by that. But sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever feel competent…even with more training. Its been problem for me since as long as I can remember…always felt unintelligent…even though I managed to succeed twice at college. Thank you so much for your post and for giving others the possibility to express themselves on this subject.

  103. I started my business 8 months ago. My first paying client is in the process of ghosting me. (Apparently) Over the last 3 weeks or so I’ve done NO work on my business, even though I have to write a 3 hour seminar in the next six weeks. What am I going to do? Why – I think I will start with my own blog post about imposter syndrome. I haven’t done a blog post in months, and that is just not acceptable!

  104. Not pushed my self forward when there was a vacancy as head of department as I do not feel worthy of it. Now I find someone in charge who is even worse than I perceive myself and he has survived 7 months I could kick myself and it’s too late

  105. I’m afraid to let people get too close to me because I’m afriad they’ll realize I’m not as great as they thought I was when we first met. Whenever I make a new friend, there comes a point where I’ll suddenly feel the need to withdraw because they’re getting too close to exposing who I really am. I feel the need to hide behind an aura of mystery so people will keep believing the best about me. I haven’t had a really close friend since elementary school.

  106. I routinely overcommit myself to things under the illusion that if I’m not all in then it’s not real. Due to this, I’ve experienced severe burnout and a noticeable lack of joy from my success.

    On a daily basis, this tends to look like binge working without without the capability of compartmentalizing my day. If I don’t spend *all* day on it, then I’m not a good math and physics student or an audio good engineer (or a therapist, or a musician…all activities and occupations that I’ve stressed to the point of misery).

    I realized I overdid things when I received an X-Ray of my spine (I was a very serious guitar player at the time; 6 hours at a minimum most days) and my cervical vertebrae had grown with bends and folds in them that occur from years of holding your head into that position during my teen years. At that moment, I had a strange relief that I could give it up and instead play piano for a change because I now had an “excuse” to not force myself into guitar or be that person anymore.

    I always felt like everyone in the groups I joined (social and work related) simply belonged there; I did not. Some days I would write it off as being better than my surroundings and in the same day would flip to believing that I had some severely crippling psycho-social malformation. I probably didn’t and don’t – I just never knew how to fit in.

    This caused me to become very unhealthy in social relationships. I started realizing that if people weren’t talking to me about there problems that I would feel terribly anxious. If I could help them with their problems then I was being a worthy friend. I had a dire need to dig to the bottom of an existential crisis (or have a wildly good time in contrast) because if I didn’t then people wouldn’t need me. They had other “real” friends and I wasn’t one of them.

    Finally, I could never feel a compliment. I could receive them thankfully but they never hit home. The only compliments I believed were indirect compliments (I heard through the grape vine that someone said something nice) or compliments that were so hyper specific that a person could not have fabricated it without being genuine. This was because I felt people were simply humoring me.

    That felt nice 🙂

  107. I had never heard of imposter syndrome but YES i feel like a total fraud and should not be in the position im in. I dont feel worthy of my salary or inteligent enough to be a manager.

  108. I just found about impostor syndrome today. Found your article and before commenting I have checked a lot of the comments before posting my own – checking their dates actually to see if I am not late to the party – at the same time thinking that I should know about this article earlier and now it is too late and it will look stupid if I comment. After thinking for a while I realised that is exactly the type of thinking that stops me from doing what I really want.

    Had a great start of my career, doing crazy stuff with some of the best entrepreneurs in the world. I started feeling like an impostor back then – thinking how the hell am I able to pull it off even though I am not doing epic things all the time. I didn’t care about the positive feedback – just the negatives and then the feeling of being afraid that someone will question my knowledge or laugh at my question / lack of familiarity with what should have been obvious.

    I considered all the positive feedback as kindness only – still do to a large extent. Something which should have been obvious to me. I started taking on criticism less personally but more as development points only recently so I am getting somewhere already, but your article has allowed me to put all this doubts, feeling of superiority and inferiority at the same time into a concept.

    I am not quite sure how I am going to handle it in the future, but your post is a good starting point to start this journey.

    Thank you

  109. I am a carpenter by trade but have held myself back from starting my own business because I have always felt like I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m worried about people finding out. I’m worried about making mistakes and not knowing how to fix them. I feel it’s easier to work for someone else and internally deal with my insecurities. Well that’s how I’ve felt for 10 years now and still feel the same and I’m not any happier. Actually it’s getting worse as I feel that my own children will one day realise that I’m a fraud (I’ve asked my daughter before if she thinks that I’m a good dad and if I look after the family alright she’s 10). It makes me feel distant from everything that is going on around me as I’m constantly internalising situations or thoughts. I seem to be able to come up with excuses or reasons why I can’t rather than why I can. Thank you for writing this article because I felt like I was the only person who had this problem. I want to free myself of these feelings and I’m going to have to open up to my wife and tell her what I struggle with. I also have to not be afraid to accept myself which is really hard.

  110. This is my senior year f college and I feel like a fraud. I have had so many great experiences internships and fun – and now I am burnt out, I don’t want to go out anymore, but also I have been avoiding my responsibilities to others because I do not have my future figured out and I usually have it all together. I am looking at entry level jobs, but I am not applying to grad schools; despite the fact that I would be a great applicant based on my gpa and experiences. I feel like a fraud because I have not been present and supportive of the people around me because Im ashamed of how I am not flourishing and they are doing great now. I don’t want to become bitter or angry; but its hard because I dont think im giving myself enough credit for the things I’ve done; I’ve been very hard on myself which makes getting out and being me harder.

  111. I’ve avoided talking / hanging out with my girlfriend because of this feeling. It just feels like I’m fake and that the person I’m being when talking to her is different than who I actually am and it’s painful

  112. Every day, I am waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting to that trap door to swing open underneath me. I did well at school, but I always said I found it difficult, in case my marks were bad. I purposefully isolated myself from other people because if I chose to be alone, that was preferable to not being included. I never tried at sports because I knew I wasn’t very good. Better to not try than to try and fail. All I wanted when I was little was a husband, 2 kids, my own home near the coast and a job as a scientist. I never wanted friends because who would want to be friends with me, anyway? Finding just one person who would want to marry me was enough of a pipedream, without adding friendS – plural – to the mix. That would be greedy and not something I was/am deserving of. I only have this job because my employer was desperate – everyone else who could do this job already had jobs. I’m waiting for my husband to realise how horrible I am, for my friends to laugh is my face and my boss to realise how incompetent I actually am. I’m a fraud

  113. I’ve avoided writing down my ideas for my proposal for 8 months because I’ve felt that I wasn’t good enough to write a thesis. Now I am extremely delayed and have to write it all in two days.

  114. Why did you delete the entry that we are all rotting pieces of meat etc for imposter syndrome
    Did people complain ?
    I thought it was full on but very sobering.

  115. I am an African American female studying Industrial Enginnering at a top 50 University. Being a transfer student it is difficult building and maintaining relationships with my peers. Especially since in the majority of my classes I am the only person of color. I struggle on a daily basis accepting that I have earned a seat in my classes. I often feel overwhelmed being the “only one” from my hometown to make it as far as I have in my field. Returning home is when I hear comments, “We’re so proud of you”, “You’ve accomplished so much”. Then it’s diffucult when things get challenging because apparently, “You got this,” “You’ve made it this far”. All of these things are positive and I recognize this. However, it can be difficult when my cry for help is responded with affirmations when all I want is someone who will empathize. Community is something I value but I find it hard building that in a new environment. I see a therapist regularly and that help a lot with managing my anxiety and stress.


  117. I had my son at 19 and daughter at 25. I have GCSEs, no A levels and I qualified as a level 2 hairdresser. All my life I did an assortment of jobs to fit around my family. I never believed I could do anything else. Then my husband left and I had to do something. I contacted a friend who, at a dinner party, one evening at said ‘goodness I would employ you!’. True to his word when I asked he did. This was turbo imposter syndrome. Here I was working in a multi million pound start up in London with zero qualifications or experience. I compensated by working every hour god sent. 5am starts, evenings, weekends, bank holidays and Christmas. I did it. Anything they asked. Answer the phone, see clients, hire and fire, make tea, clean. But all the while I still felt at any minute they would see me for who I was. A fraud. A stupid waste of money. After 5 years and 3 promotions I still felt like a fraud and I was burnt out! I decided to take a break thinking they won’t miss me anyway. They were in fact really sad to see me go and gave me a wonderful leaving bonus. My feeling… fuck how did I get away with that. 2 year break and I have recently been asked to go back and be a COO for another start up. Well that’s a job for other people. People who have business degrees and experience. Realistically I have 5 years and shit load of life experience. I’m a mum with 10 GCSEs that can give you a short back and sides. The thought of taking the job gives me palpitations. This would mean I’m a mega fraud!!! I know deep down I can do. I crammed in probably 10 / 15 years experience into that 5 but I still can’t help feel like a fony. Reading your 21 points has really helped thank you.
    I’m going to take action. Starting tomorrow!! Wish me luck. Or send me a disguise!!! X

  118. I`v been producing music for a while now and it`s always come quite easily to me, I don`t How it happens or what I do to make it happen, it just does, whenever i sit down with my keyboards for a few minutes music just happens, and requires no skill or talent on my part. my last track recveived quite a bit of praise, certainly more than I`m used to or even expected, and Now i can`t bring myself to make any more, i sit at my keyboards and nothing happens, the magic has gone, and my luck has run out. I feel like I can`t possibly top my last track (though when i made it, I thought is was just `ok` nothing special), now this un due praise makes me feel I set the bar too high for me to make anything else. how can I improve on something that Just Happened? maybe I was a Fake all along! and just got lucky a few times, it would certainly explain why I feel there`s no skill or talent involved. but the really scary part is that i`v just spent over £4000 on having my studio done up (it took me several years to save up that amount, as a mother of 2), and now I feel really stupid because of it, I`d have been ok people said it was just OK, or even crap! i would have carried on making music just for fun. how could their praise have scared me so much? surely a REAL musician would have loved that?

  119. I’m am a student in a very important music school in Mexico but every time I have singing class (which is my instrument) I paralyze even though this is what I like to do the most because the teacher might not like if I can be better than her so I always end up being the stupid girl who can not do anything

  120. Thank you for this post. I just googled “How to deal with imposter syndrome” because I just didn’t know what else to do anymore. I’m going into the second year of my PhD. I went from my undergraduate, to my masters, straight to this PhD, so I feel like I’ve literally been in education for my whole life. Imposter syndrome has left me unable to work before, because I start thinking about how, if I’m such a huge fraud, there’s not even any point in trying anymore. That I should just quit. It’s left me anxious and depressed.

    Reading your post made me think about why I’m doing this – I love my subject, and I’m genuinely enjoying the experience (when I’m not feeling like a total fraud). And yeah, I actually have no idea what I’m doing! But that’s ok, because that’s exactly why I am on this journey – this PhD would be totally pointless if I had all of the answers.

    Thank you for this post. Reading yours and others’ experiences has made this feel like a much more tangible concept, rather than this weird looming shadow of an emotion.

  121. Typing this to give it a go.

    I got a promotion in a job that’s not permanent but I avoid applying for other jobs in fear of failure of the interview (or no interview at all) even though I am unhappy in my current role and looking for a change. I come home anxious every night and afraid they will fire me cause I’m not doing a good job but I also don’t think anywhere else will take me.

  122. I feel like an imposter every single day. I work in Public Affairs and make a lot of print and digital products like annual reports and social media graphics. People always ask me how I made my designs, what software did I use, did I make every icon and illustration individually, did I go to school for design, etc. The truth is I hate designing vectors and am pretty terrible at it. Most of the vectors I use are purchased from shutterstock, Canva or creative market, but I still change the colors to match our brand and arrange everything on the page to look nice. Still, anytime someone asks me if I made each illustration by hand I lie and say yes because I don’t want them to find out that I’m a fraud.

  123. I’m in college right now. For some reason, any sort of competition or test gives me anxiety. I end up obsessing over if I’ll ever be good enough or if I even belong in the science stream. Why am I here? I could’ve joined an art school, that’s where I belong. I saw Big Hero 6 and said to myself”Gee, I sure wish I could make something like that”. It’s gonna take a lot of work and there’s so much I don’t understand that people around me get easily. This has ALWAYS been the case for me, ever since fourth grade. Even as I write this out I feel pretentious and like I’m just yammering on without actually struggling with anything. Do I actually have issues or is it just me cooking that up because I’m lazy or because I want to feel like I have some weird tragic backstory? Anyways, I have a test coming up, and I can feel my throat close up again and my eyes watering. But thanks for giving me the space to get my feelings out there, even though I don’t have time to read the whole article right now.

    On the ther hand it feels great to know that I’m not the only one who feels like this, since I’d never even heard of something called the “Imposter syndrome ” until today. So, hey, atleast I’ll be able to describe it more accurately and help myself get over it in a better way.

  124. I haven’t been video recording my therapy sessions for clinicals, to be critiqued, because I’m afraid I’m not good enough, don’t know enough, and will be found out a fraud.

  125. I have avoided applying to new jobs after graduating from coding boot camp because I have felt as a fraud. Everything you have described is what I feel at this moment, but that is all about to change. Thank you for this. Awesome article.

  126. I did not know imposter syndrome had an actual name until I was today years old. I’m highly relieved because my “madness” has a name. I love how this post holds us “imposters” accountable for the ego aspects of the syndrome. Anyways, I’ve been wanting to start a YouTube channel for months but haven’t done so because I’m afraid of being laughed at. Afraid that all of the other wonderful content creators out there will forever shadow anything I could ever make. I’m afraid to do about anything that actually puts myself out there. My entire life I’ve been told I’m mature and clever. Those compliments while validating, have NEVER resonated with me. They left me feeling as if I had tricked them into thinking so. I naturally believe if an opportunity doesn’t plop itself in front of me then maybe I’m not good enough for it. If I have to seek out the opportunity then I’m not deserving of it anyways. A terribly backwards way of thinking… a way of thinking that makes me feel like, well, a fraud. Yikes. Maybe faking some confidence in myself (a frequent thing for me) will allow me to start up my YouTube channel. Eh who knows?

  127. I feel like I can never do anything right at work when it comes to code. When that Happens I feel that everyone thinks that I’m not good enough. The minor mistakes I make I feel like it’s the end of the world and I see other building things and getting praise for it where I’m just trying and trying feel like I get nowhere. I tend to question myself and expertise all the time. But in the end I always keep pushing to be better and try my best. This imposter syndrome is no joke and I will over come it soon

  128. I want to start a blog but I’m afraid it’ll be stupid and no one will read it. Aside from the fact that I have no idea how to do it.

  129. I have recently graduated from school as a Minister in a national Church and taken my first position as a Child and Youth Minister. I have always struggled with Imposter Syndrome (through two degrees) though I refuse to let it stop me from doing anything. However, I struggle with the emotional drain that goes with the constant battle of thought attacks. I wish I could figure out how to stop the thinking before it starts or at least see the pattern and shut it down before the doubt and fear gets any kind of hold, setting up a repetitive pattern.
    Thanks for the article. It is good to remind myself of these truths as I seem to forget them easily and in this new position, the exhaustion of fighting the old messages, especially relating to perfectionism, has already started. I also know, as you say, that action is one of the best ways to combat Imposter Syndrome yet action does not seem to stop the thoughts from appearing.
    One of my biggest fears is that the exhaustion of the battle gets too much and I give in, or get sick, or give up and quit. Burn out is a real issue for Ministers and I worry this could be the thing that ends my career relatively quickly. But here I am taking action…talking out loud, and refusing to give IS power.
    Will keep trying. Thanks for the article!

  130. I would like to just love what is. Be happy with my Lot in life as it really isn’t bad. But I feel guilty for not really trying.

  131. I make excuses for good grades and accomplishments, accrediting them to anyone but myself. I have an interview for an internship this week, if i get it then it will be my very first internship and my first job with any relation at all to what I want to be my career. This week I will work hard to be confident in my skills and interests, selling myself to the interviewers and the following day to representatives at the career fair. I will not tell people that the interview is my only chance at an internship and I will not tell people I only got the interview because my dad works there. I know it helped for sure, I won’t lie, but they wouldn’t want to interview me if I wasn’t at least somewhat qualified. I will stop feeling inferior in my technical classes for no reason.

  132. I identify with this. I was born with a fascination with the military in all its forms, but I was born deaf in one ear making me medically unfit. Due to loop hole and some incompetence I applied anyway and became a ships navigator. I was an actual imposter and eventually the fear of not hearing something and a realisation that my career wasn’t going to progress (due to the hearing issue) led me to quit for a job ashore.

    Fast forward many years I’m in an executive level position in a major marine insurance company and a.m. well thought of and doing well, but I worry every day that a small mistake will blow everything and enable them to see me for what I am.

    I put in a speculative application for an assistant directors position in a government agency, I got it and now am wracked with worry. Friends of mine at work tell me I’ll be great at the job and should go for it.

    I cannot let it defeat me I’m going to go fir the job, I’m specifically going to work on my mental health and take this opportunity of a life time.

    Good article.

  133. I’m finding this very interesting and comforting.
    Spent my life thinking I’m just not quite good enough, pretty enough, athletic enough.
    I have good days and bad, It is nice to know that I’m not alone in these crazy insecure thoughts.
    I am a nordic coach, ultra Runner, race director, mother and wife.
    I’m also 56 and live in Colorado.
    My question is do you think this syndrome was brought on by some childhood trauma?
    My childhood, like many others was based on a mother with mental illness and family dysfunction.
    I’m an adult child of two alcoholics and I think I always felt that bit of Shame.

    I know better so I do better.
    I will start the journal, even putting these words down has made me feel accepted.
    Thank you for your honesty

  134. I landed my dream (paid) internship working with the Human Resources and Marketing departments at an international software company. Even before I began my new job, I was telling everyone (myself included) that I got the job because I had met the recruiter once before ten years ago and she remembered me. The recruiter didn’t conduct any of the three interviews that it took to get the job offer. In hindsight and after learning about impostor syndrome, I realize I was already belittling my accomplishments and reminding myself that I didn’t deserve/earn the position. I am now almost three months into my internship and I tell myself at least 20 times a day that I do not belong at the company. I am in constant fear of being “found out” by my coworkers and I wonder daily if they’re asking themselves how I managed to slip through the cracks. I genuinely believe that they are kicking themselves for hiring me now that they’ve seen how incompetent I am. I do understand that I’m a student intern and have 0 experience in corporate America, but this doesn’t shake my feelings of worthlessness. Because I’m below an entry level employee, I often visualize my manager approaching me and telling me to pack my things and leave – that my time is up. Compliments from my superiors just amplify these feelings. Impostor syndrome prevents me from networking with colleagues because I feel I’m not worth anyone’s time. I stay silent in meetings because I don’t think my ideas are worthwhile. I spend so much time worrying about what everyone thinks of me that I find it difficult to function. I want my employer to hire me so badly when I graduate that I’m pushing myself to the limit to impress everyone. Thank you so much for writing this article. Putting a name to this disorder and hearing other people’s experiences makes me feel less alone. 🙂

  135. Thank you for this post. I work in healthcare for the last 7 years. I’ve had imposter syndrome my whole life. Today I could finally put a name to it. I’ve accomplished a lot in my life and Career but still feel I don’t measure up or it’s only a matter of time before the figure out I’m a fraud. The last year got the best of me. I actually believed all the lies.

  136. talking to guys in general and worse if theyre cute, starting today i’ll do my best and not feel like an impostor talking w them yesss

  137. I have intentionally plateaued my career, accepting the same role at the same startup stage saying “I’m doing this because it’s what I’m good at and love” which was truly a mask for “I’m afraid to fail at something greater than”. Not saying the former isn’t true, but the lack of challenging myself has made me feel unable to do more, and comfortable in repetition (aka scared of new ‘work’ things).

    When I look back at my past, I think “where have I gone?”. I used to be someone who, with no experience whatsoever, decided to start a fashion label, and did it successfully, then a bar, and did it successfully, or be head of marketing at an e-commerce company and helped grow it a multi-million dollar business managing dozens of people (all these things before 25).

    I look back at my last 5 years and think – wow – I’ve been doing the same thing over and over and over. Lack of challenge lead me to not just thinking that I am not capable of more, but (1) believing it, then (2) convincing myself it was a choice to remain stagnant. And maybe it was a choice, but some environmental factors like buying a home (new financial pressure) and US immigration challenges (catalyst for a job change), have forced me into discomfort. It forced me into uncharted territories again, and it’s causing massive anxiety – though identifying this anxiety, then calling it something like ‘Impostor Syndrome’, and now reading up on it (thank you btw for this post), I’m feeling more empowered than I’ve felt in a long time.

    I use to have a sticky note in my desk that said “Just Do It” – then would beat myself up for not doing it and procrastinating. In writing this comment (thanks for the push to do it), I’ve arrived at the conclusion to change it to “You can do it.” And in even writing those words down in this very moment, I cried. It feels good.

    Thanks for this post Kyle – seriously.

    • Incredible comment Andrew. It sounds like you’re ready to start the next chapter now.

      Like most things – getting rid of this mindset is a habit. Everytime you feel those feelings coming up – realize it’s genuinely a chemical-state, and you can change it.

      The more often you change your mental state – eventually you just become that person.

      We used to be nobody. We had to hustle for everything, prove ourselves to everyone – and the struggle is addicting…

      Now that we’ve actually achieved a thing or two, we need to learn how to attack growth from a new angle…

      Now we have something to lose…

  138. I feel like an imposter all the time. I topped class through school and college (it really hurt to write that…”who am I to write this on the Internet ?” Certain circumstances in life have made it impossible to pursue a full fledged career (here I am beating myself up for not trying harder). Have pursued hobbies like classical music and photography for some years now – I learn fast and work hard and have been told that I am quite good but can’t internalize it. Don’t have a ton of friends now – feel like I don’t belong in any group…either I feel less than or better than ! Always feel lonely. Nothing special to offer to the world, can’t think of any difference I am making in anyone’s life !

  139. Geez. Okay well, I am somewhat experienced (11 years) in my field however have never been able to explain what I do and how I make a difference. I have won awards and peer awards yet struggle to figure out how I managed to pull the wool over their eyes.

    I struggle to hold conversations with men and women who hold higher positions than me and/or have more confident exteriors than me because I don’t think I’m going to make an impression on them.

    My thought process sabotages me in almost every interview or networking situation I have been in.

    I have a notebook full of business ideas that I don’t think I will be able to achieve and some of them have since been done by “smarter” people who created thriving businesses, but I could never have done that.

    I have a special corner in my brain which stores the excuses I have used both internally and externally. I struggle to find my place in new social environments and have struggled to understand or find my place in the world.

    I use the phrase ” the world is too full of opinions ” because I’m not sure I can back my own. I don’t like arguments because I get caught up in my own head thinking “crud, the other person is right” pretty early on.

    I lack confidence in myself and am not confident I will be able to build any up.

    Time to put the mask back on and get back to my day 🙂

    • I feel the same. It is a struggle but a part of you knows how good you are and you deserve it. When that feeling comes, no matter how fleeting. Try and hold it and remember it. Over time the feeling gets stronger.

      • You just nailed it! You become what you focus on and feel. I am grateful that I found this website but will not dwell and give energy to my false feelings and double. It will it the small oversight aka snowy ale overshadow the mountains of success and accomplishments. I will find those fleeting moments when people say, “you did all of this yourself?” And focus on that feeling and the moments that bring more feelings like that….then wait for more of the good stuff to flow to me through attraction to better feeling things. ❤️

    • The same has happened to me with business ideas. “Hey somebody should…” My husband says “Why don’t YOU?” I get excited, I research, I develop the business plan…I back away. Someone just implemented my last idea and took home multiple millions of dollars in the first year. But I couldn’t possibly have pulled it off. Could I?

  140. Impostor syndrome has prevented me from changing jobs. I always feel that I was lucky that people trusted me and gave me the opportunity to grow. After years of success in the different roles I covered in my company I had the opportunity to apply for my dream job in another company…. after the interview imposter syndrome came with a vengeance!!!!! I am glad I found all these posts, I hope they will give me the courage to accept that I can do the job and do it great (that for God’s sake I know I can do!)….

  141. Thank you so much for this post.

    I interview well. I am personable, friendly and intelligent. I have gone through three rounds of interviews and am fairly certain I will be offered a job tomorrow.

    But I am terrified to accept because I feel like I must have lied somewhere, or tricked them into hiring me. I have gotten other jobs and learned what I didn’t know and done well at them but this is a step for me into a much harder job. I can do it but part of me wants to tell them no because I don’t think I’m good enough.

    • This is almost my exact situation. I have no reason to believe I will fail, and yet I’m waiting for some imaginary shoe to drop when they find out who I “really” am. (Which, in reality, is someone well into their career who is a fast learner and excellent employee with a lot of varied experience.)

  142. I’ve really appreciated this article.

    I nearly decided not to take an Executive Director position because of Imposter Syndrome. I’m young, new, and fear I smooth talked my way through the interviews.

    I’ve decided that take the position and challenge the feelings of being a fraud. I start on Monday. Here goes nothing!

    Thanks again!

  143. I’m a tattoo artist struggling with this.. my biggest dream is to have the courage to go and do conventions and guest work in other countries. I have done it 4 years ago but then I had a network of people to travel with.

    Now I’m alone and I don’t believe anyone remembers me or wants me to come work. I’m so scared of being told “no” so I don’t even try. Everyone I used to know and work with back in 2014 has gotten much further than me by now since I’ve been struggling with depression and burn out, so now I feel even more fake and like I should just give up my work and passion cuz they’re soooo much better than me.

    I feel extremely lonely in this.

  144. I have just started a new role. I am in a new department with a very different work culture from where I used to work. It involves new processes with a new set of equipment. I don’t know anyone and for my first day I wasn’t given anything to do, just some stuff to read and a desk. Truly, I feel lost and that some how I got the job just because I was the only one who applied despite the fact that they have turned down previous applicants.

    I am terrified that they will start to question why I am even there. To combat this I sat down with my new boss and asked what his expectations are and he said that all he wants from me is to sit at my desk and learn what I can. The daft thing is that I fought for this position!

    I have never felt so unsure or like I don’t have the abilities to succeed before so this is all alien to me. Nothing is familiar which is making the feeling worse. I’m not sure how I will over come it but I’m just going to tackle each day hour by hour. Then each week day by day and so on.

  145. This article has really struck a cord with me. Obviously I didn’t just stumble in here but i searched for it.
    I have been an artist for about 5-10 years now. My artform is a bit different than most and i use existing designs and modify them for my art.
    This is where the problem lays. I feel that even though I get loads of praise for my work that I should be drawing my own stuff but I am a terrible artist and cant draw. I am working on it but it is a slow process.
    Regardless i keep pumping out my current artwork and interpretations. People assume that i sell my works but I dont feel like I should because I am not the original artist.
    Sort of like a tattoo artist not doing tattoos of an eagle or a flag because he did not design it, or a band not playing covers because they did not originally write the song.
    It is driving me nuts to the point where I quit my job so I can do nothing but this but am still too afraid to sell my stuff. (I am sort of financially stable so not the end of the world but still).
    I have never told anyone this stuff so thank you for reading it.

    • Dear Crupiea and Kyle

      it is so brave to write all this down and thank you two for sharing this. It helped me a lot, I am not the only one struggling with this form of imposterism (@Crupiea).

      Although I am not an artist but a product designer, within my work I make sometimes use of existing designs, which I transform to the projects needs. (the final product never looks like the original, but nevertheless the core idea is the same).
      Within these projects, most of the time I feel like a total fraud not deserving to get any credit/money, I am hundred percent sure I do not deserve it. (Somehow we could agree that I am a real fraud)
      But when I am working on a project (this is probably you as well) I always put all my hart, effort, a lot research and hours in there. This is what matters. Your effort and the appreciation for the designs you want to revive and give it your own piece of mind (love ore whatever).

      I don’t know if it helps (and surely don’t take advice from a fraud who tries to justify his wrongs.) But I strongly want to encourage you to sell your work, maybe you could put a price on the time you spend reinventing the designs you adopt 🙂
      You probably love what you do, you sound like a vibrant and enthusiastic artist, so please take in count al the thought plus effort you took, it is worth praise and money!

      In addition to your comparison:
      What I always like to tell myself is, I am a cook, cooking a masterchefs recipe with the freedom to putting my own flavours into the dish.

    • I was a gallerist in NYC and I can tell you that many of the artist don’t “fabricate” their own work–some photographers don’t even take their own photos. It’s their vision or idea that is created. The actual person painting the painting or snapping the photo is not the artist. I think you must let go of your perception of art and start to see it as an idea that you are creating in your mind. Because your mind is uniquely yours and this vision comes from your mind, then you are its creator. The others are helping you facilitate your vision.

  146. I want to be a freelance makeup artist but I’m so scared of reaching out to people I would like to work with because I’m afraid they’ll think I’m not good enough.

  147. I have this huge call on my life but consistently feel like I’m not enough–not good enough, talented enough, pretty enough, fit enough, so on and so forth. About 98% of the time I don’t understand what God saw in me or why He would call somebody like me in the first place. I have many books in my heart that I know I need to write, but I continually feel that I must first become an “expert” in order to “qualify” to do so. It helps to remind myself that God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Blogs like this are a blessing because they serve to inform each and every one of us that we are not alone. Thank you for taking the time to face your fear–it’s giving me the push I need to face mine.

  148. I’ve had this my whole life. At one point I was doing well in my career but did not take opportunities to advance. But far worse is where I’m at now. I’m a stay at home mum who needs to be earning some $$, but finding it very hard to take a step in any direction due to imposter syndrome. I’m wheel spinning so bad and it’s almost like I’m frozen (for a couple of years). Good to know I’m not the only one and that there are strategies to improve. I’m looking forward to powering through this.

  149. I am still undergraduate student, but I got brilliant opportunity to hold a research in the lab in my university. However, I feel myself so underqualified that I cannot propose any item on weekly meeting. I often feel that I am not skilled enough to be there, and do not know why professor accepted me when I applied. I have some ideas and started analysis already, but I have no confidence in my results. I have to seek for advice from professor, but I am afraid that people think of me as a stupid.
    However, thanks to your article, I can believe in myself. I know that it will not be easy, but I am on the right start. Thank you. I really want to overcome these stupid things about me and I want to accept my successes (I really did a lot, but I always think of this as a luck, like I dont deserve it), and I really do not afraid of failure, but I am afraid that people think of me. It is hard, but I have to go forward. Because I cannot give up on what I have done till now on.

  150. I am now trying to quit my job because I am feeling like I know less or contribute less than anyone at my team. I am most senior in my team and even recently got promoted. I’ve been getting positive feedback from management and peers. The more they are telling how amazing my work is, the more I feel like a fraud. Then I feel even more pressure to give more of myself (that would cover all my shortcomings) which generates even more stress. That makes me want to quit. But they are convincing me not to quit… because I am so useful for the team… but really… I am just a fraud.

  151. Ok….I don’t have anyone I can talk to about this, so I’m trusting the anonymous hands of the Internet. Here we go.

    I don’t have/share my opinions because I’m afraid that they’ll be wrong or I’ll look stupid.

    I have trouble explaining things I’ve thought for hours about because It’s hard getting all my thoughts together.

    I write a lot on a writing website, but not a single draft has ever been posted (except for one, but I took it down) everytime I come clise to finishing a story, I remember how terrible I am at writing.

    I’ve gotten straight A’s for the past three years of middle school, and everytime I get an award I can only think about how I didn’t earn it.

    I avoided going into French 3 this year because I thought the class would be too hard to get an A in. (No one knows this. I lie everytime someone asks me why I’m not doing French anymore, and until now, I don’t think I knew I was lying.)

    I’m in a special highschool program that I had to apply to called the ACA that will allow me to earn my Associate’s degree by Senior year. My friend applied too, but she didn’t get in. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t think, “I don’t deserve this.”

    Reading this article was really eye opening. I hate saying I have problems because there are people worse off than me, but I think I actually might have Imposter Syndrome. The question now is what I’m going to do about it.

  152. Almost daily, I’m scared that my friends will one day call me out on how self involved I am. That I’m not a loyal enough friend or I think only for myself.
    I’m an artist. I’m one of those people whose work is their life, so there is some truth to how self involved I can be. If my friends want to hang out, but I’d rather be working on my art, I almost always choose art. Not just that, sometimes I just don’t like hanging out in general, and I don’t like to do online chats because those REALLY get in the way of my work. But I usually give in because I don’t want them to figure out how much of a shitty friend I am…and of course when I go out with them I’m usually thinking in the back of my mind “I could be getting so much work done right now, what am I doing”. Same goes with my family. They almost never see me because I’m away in my studio. I care for my friends, but I’m so scared that one day they’ll think I’m a fraud of a friend, just because my work is really important to me. And of course, my friends and family ARE the only people I can confide in, but I can never talk to them about this. No way in hell.

  153. Everything you have written here rings so true. I have only recently found out there is such a thing as imposters syndrome and it was like seeing myself described – I thought I was the only one.
    To me, the thing that is missing from so much of the coverage of imposter syndrome is that so many unsuccessful people suffer and that it can be a direct contribution to their failure.
    I have been a failure – a chronic underachiever – because I simply do not believe I can do what I set out to do. Finding out imposter syndrome has shone a light onto my thought patterns and behaviours and I am starting out again – and I am doing so open to the world. My therapy for my own imposter is to share with the world through a blog.
    I am panicking just commenting here – who do I think I am to think I am good enough to comment on someone else’s post but I will push through.

  154. I’m afraid to put my gargantuan goals out there because I’m afraid of judgement.

    I’m even afraid that what I’m writing here in this very comment isn’t good enough and doesn’t warrant being read in an article about impostor syndrome. I feel like my anxieties aren’t serious enough to be heard.

    I freeze and want to run away at the prospect of pricing a project in case I offend anyone for pricing too high, for asking too much, even though I know I’m REALLY good.

    I feel like everyone is just putting up with me and following me on Instagram out of pity, and that every time I post something sincere they’re just rolling their eyes and thinking “oh my god just get over it!!”

    I’m ugly. I’m stupid. I’ll never succeed. I shouldn’t even try.

    The real me knows all these things aren’t true, but it’s like they get amplified every time I feel that someone starts to show that they believe in me or trust me. It’s like part of me believes I will always let people down and it’s better to stop before I’ve started so I can avoid disappointing people.

  155. I just read through the comments and I can’t believe how much I connect with it. I have had such severe anxiety about failure all my life. I am afraid that if I make a mistake, people will realize I didn’t deserve half the things I have achieved and I would be abandoned. I postponed therapy for a long fearing that the psychologist would just prove that I wasn’t suffering from something, I was just an overall bad person, who was faking it to manipulate others. I am so glad, I am not the only cuckoo out there (no offense intended). I just see myself as a freak most of the times. But this post has helped a lot. My parents have been encouraging me to have more confidence in myself I just didn’t know how. Thank you.

  156. Trying this out, don’t know what’s going to happen when I start typing…

    I often avoid having an opinion because i feel like I have no right or experience to have one or for fear of finding out I’m wrong.

    I avoid talking too much about things I care about for fear of being called out or not knowing as much as I should

    I avoid asking certain questions because I feel like people will make assumptions about my intelligence and abilities based on that (but I don’t do this to others, so why would they to me?)

    I avoid talking about things because I often have trouble verbalizing what I truly mean (which is usually some high level concept and no one gets it, but that’s likely because it makes no sense anyway).

    I avoid people in my profession because I feel an awkward mix of jealousy and superiority at the same time as being very unconfident in my own abilities. I know that’s not a fair assessment from either point of view. It’s almost like I feel like I have a lot of untapped potential and I compare myself and get upset with myself when I see others succeed in ways I feel I could (but at the same time feel I can’t).

    I have no idea if any of that makes any sense, but it was cathartic.

    • wow, this is exactly me – it’s as if I wrote this. This is how I’ve been my whole life, and slowly I’ve been trying to train myself to not fear being judged by others.

    • Wow. You and I could be the same person!! Every paragraph. It’s a bit errie having someone else descibe themselves but you feel it’s you and they don’t know you and you’ve kept it hidden for so long and there it is written down in front of you. You have written it down in a way I can’t. So thank you. I hope it helped you to write it. It helped me to read it. X

    • This pretty much where I am. I have the academic credentials, to teach on the collegiate level, but I feel inadequate. Thus I am afraid to apply for a position. I feel jealous when I see other professors.

      • I feel the same. I got my masters and justified it by saying I would teach online (as a second job) to pay it off. 9 years later, I am (not qualified, too busy, not able to commit consistently, it won’t pay enough, traveling…) full of excuses as to why I won’t apply or even try for what I want to do which is share information with others. I love teaching people. I’m allowing myself to buy into the crap and am holding myself back.

    • Meg, I feel like you entered in my mind and pulled out my very own thoughts! it’s comforting to know that I am not alone in this. Maria

    • Thanks Meg. I feel like you pulled my words right out of my head. I feel like I’m on my own because I’m afraid to bounce my ideas of my peers so I have so work harder and sometimes it is more inefficient. If I trusted the quality of my opinions or ideas I feel more free to bounce them off others.

    • Absolutely everything you’ve said and more I also feel!
      Imposter syndrome has also keeps me from furthering my career (I quit after a week bc I convince myself they’ve caught on and it’s better to quit before they fire), having deep conversations with those who are most important bc I can’t let my wall down for fear of being judged by them ( I can never convey what I need to correctly and I just get frustrated and shut down even more) and it creates other issues in my life. I’ve never felt adequate my entire life and I’m not sure why.
      I recently discover imposter syndrome is a thing and I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders now that I can name it. It’s the first step I’m taking to tame the beast!

      • Stephanie,

        I have experienced similar feelings as you and Meg. I just want to encourage you to be brave and and have faith in your abilities. If you’re not sure how others perceive you or how you are doing at your job, don’t worry. Have faith and keep going, and you will be rewarded in the long run. I’ve been battling these feelings for a long time and I’ve also looked at opportunities at big companies before and thought “eh, I’m probably not going to get the job anyway, so I might as well apply for smaller companies”. Once I fought this thought, I made a pretty big jump in my career. And even now, I don’t feel like I have fully fought this, but I’m still having faith and am steadily working on improving my skills and knowledge so that I can make more and more of these jumps. I just wanted to tell you this story to encourage you to not be afraid and pursue your dreams. You will find that people will respond well and tell you “I’m so happy for you – you deserve it”

  157. Thank-you for writing steps to overcome The Imposter Syndrome. I have written 28 drafts for Linked In and only last week had the nerve to publish one of them. I love to write but hold back from putting them out there because it doesn’t feel good enough. What if people read it and think “that’s pretty silly. Anyone could have written that fluff.” ON the other hand if it just stays as a draft no one will ever read it except me and what is the point of that? It is reassuring to know that many suffer from this malady. I liked points 1 and 11 the most.
    Positively, Pauline

  158. I’m supposed to be starting my college applications now, but I’m afraid that all of them will see that I do not deserve to be there. I have a hard time realizing that I might be someone worth an admission.

  159. I’m about to start a new role with a company I love, and I desperately do not want to fail them. They’ve given me so many opportunities others haven’t, and all I want to do is KICK ASS at this for them to return the favor.

    But I am shaking in my motherlovin’ boots over here. Because what they’re asking me to do, I have all the skills to do, but I’ve never actually done before. And I’ve made that clear, but they’re paying me so well, giving me the freedom to work as a contractor, and I am terrified that I’m not cut out for it.

    What if they realize I’m just a stay at home mom who works in her leggings and isn’t an expert in this specific field, just might have the stuff to pull it off?

    One foot in front of the other. I’m going to act anyway. I’m going to do it. But I am so freaking scared right now.

    • I feel just like you, OMG! The same situation…
      But I’m also going to act, even though I feel really scared right now. 🙁

    • OMG I’m in my leggings too! And I’ve also been given an amazing opportunity by a company that believes in me. Allowing me to WFH, at a salary I want and even part time.
      But their belief in me scares me more than a zombie apocalypse. How? Why? Will I ever be as good as they think I am?
      Reading your comment has given me light and hope.
      Tomorrow I’m sticking some notes on my office wall.
      We can do it.

    • I feel every one of your words. I am in the same place. New venture that no one has ever done in a company I love and afraid to let them down and fail. I am given the ability to be the expert and learn as I go because its new. I will do my best, I always do. I will pray for grace not perception along the way while I KICK ASS as I already have.

    • Wow. This is exactly my situation right now (minus the leggings). Thank you for sharing. I have my dream job with my dream team and they are counting on me to do great things… I am terrified. To make it worse, one of the veterans on the team literally said “you’re an imposter ” jokingly when I was downplaying my skills a bit in an effort to underpromise.

      Anyway, I’m with you, and even if you didn’t do all the things you wanted to do for them, I bet you developed into an even more awesome person capable of taking scary risks and rising to challenges that others would run screaming from.

    • Writing this on a stream of consciousness——This me too. I start tomorrow. I’ve been out of the workforce going to school & raising 3 kids for 15 years now. I took all the classes for my masters but had a baby during thesis & never graduated. That lack of diploma has re-fueled a previously beaten down imposter syndrome.

      I applied thinking “I have a snowballs chance in hell, but I’ll give it a go.” Now that I got the job, all this panic has bubbled up. I know I have the skills, and am beyond excited to get back to work.— I just don’t want to fail and ultimately hear family tell me they knew I couldn’t hack it. — which has happened a lot…true or not— which may be the origin of this syndrome after all. A lack of faith & trust in my abilities from those who should have been cheering me on to push myself to try more.

      Huh. It feels like I just deflated the imposter balloon a bit.

  160. I am so frightened of public speaking. I am worried people will think I don’t know what I am talking about and I will be criticised for it.

  161. Well here it goes; I actually just overcame some of the syndrome by asking lost friends to have a drink with me! But I usually feel that I can’t make any new lifelong friends. Also when amongst a group of friends that I’m new to, I get this feeling of not belonging?.. it is a really weird feeling that I can’t explain and I had my whole life in certain situations.. it’s this deeeep loneliness in the bottom of the stomach that happends at a wedding or party or even some busy street. (If anyone knows this, please tell me!). I didn’t get a job in the last degree I had because I felt like I wasn’t good enough, even though I have a degree but yeah.. now I am studying for something else and I was afraid to apply since I’m older than every one now and I thought I wouodn’t be smart enough (a teacher at a another shool even told me I shouldn’t even try) but still I did and I ace every test the first try, but still I feel fake.. (its biology so the meme with the dog really hits home haha!). And the last thing is.. I created am instagram for my own art, ofcourse I don’t have a big audience, and most of the time I don’t care.. but somedays I think “why did you think you were special enough to make a whole acount around it?? You don’t even draw enough to post every day.” And I got very close to deleting it.. but didn’t. Anyway these were my two cents on it 🙂 thank you for this post! (As an extra push out of the comfort zone I’ll even put my real name on here)

    • Your whole not feeling like you belong in a group of friends thing struck me. I swear I’ve always had that, I never feel like I belong despite having lots of varied friend groups.. I don’t think I do a good job of keeping them choose either… Maybe we weren’t meant to have many choose friends for long, maybe we prefer many more surface friendships… Or maybe we’re just afraid they won’t like us once they get to really see who we are..

      I just wanted to tell you, I’m with you

    • I know exactly what you mean about the feeling of deep loneliness. Like no matter where you go you won’t be able to make a true friend despite evidence to the contrary.

      • Hi guys, constantly feeling like a square peg blows. I experienced the ‘unbelonging’ through my teens and twenties but overcame it in my early 30s. I thought I’d share my story with you in the hope that it will help you guys kick your peg to the curb earlier than I did.

        Things shifted for me when I went travelling the world and moved overseas – the catalyst for meeting a ton of new people and experiencing the many highs and lows that accompany new experiences. In my home town I had little of either. Same people (type), same shite, same feeling of not belonging – of being misunderstood. I later discovered that my personality type really likes to fit in which compounded these feelings of loneliness.

        So, two things cured me of the loneliness plague:

        1. Travelling and meeting lots of new people in different contexts and circumstances allowed me to ‘find my people’. When I left home, I automatically became more ‘me’. I didn’t do this consciously, it just happened as a result of not being known to anyone, which meant there were no expectations of who I was or should be. As a result, I attracted like-minded (open-minded) people who accepted me for who I am.

        I know what you’re thinking; It’s all very well to met new people but you have to able to connect with them right? Absolutely, and this is how it works…

        2. To really connect with others, you have to be vulnerable and share deep parts of yourself. For me, this was made possible through experiencing the lows and highs of intense situations that travelling or living abroad (or being out of your comfort zone) bear. These shared experiences bonded us and letting others in on my most hellish feelings bonded us like nothing else can. All of a sudden I belonged and felt understood. Being open, honest, and vulnerable with people is the quickest way to connect and the only way to have authentic, deep and trusting relationships.

        Hey, I still suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Why else would I be on this site? Buttttt, I can say that I am 100% confident in who I am as a person, that I am loved and love in return. Because of this I very rarely feel lonely – even though I now live in a city where none of my close friends live.

        Remember, your people are out there so don’t be afraid to bare your inner thoughts with others because the rewards far outweigh the perceived risk.

        All the best!

  162. I really want to be a pro gamer. I let imposture syndrome scare to me so much I don’t practice as much as I should.

    But because of this blog, I’m going to stop doing that. I have to put in the effort to achieve what I want to achieve. Yeah it’s not what most people would think is a decent living, but gaming is my passion and I would love nothing more than to pursue it.

  163. After going through 3 rounds of gruelling interviews, I have just been offered a job as a Consultant, but I am having a lot of self-doubt. I feel like I coasted through the interviews because I put in so, so, so much effort that I was being inauthentic. Because in real life, at my real job, I would never care that much to devote that much time and effort at my work. So now, I feel like it isn’t the real ME who got the job.

    Consulting is something I have always dreamed about doing, but I never gave it a go because I knew I didn’t have the Straight A’s to even get an interview. I know that everyone in my new company is going to be super smart, and while I like to think of myself as a smart person as well, there are days, and even extended periods, especially at my current job, where I feel stupid, where every move I make seems to be wrong. Add to that the fact that my last two jobs ended rather badly, I can’t help feeling that I will not last long in this new job too.

  164. I have always had constant insecurity about my talents/skills because I did not start learning them at what most people consider the “correct” age to learn: I’m a guitarist/bassist who has been well respected amongst my peers, yet I did not start learning until I was 19. I’ve had a relatively successful career as a CAD drafter and digital artist for 20 years, though I did not begin this until I was in my early 30’s. I’ve been a programmer, creating my own tools and getting accolades from computer scientists, yet I didn’t begin this til I was in my 40’s. I hide these facts from most people I know, even my own wife, and I’m terrified of people knowing these things, even though, logically, it should not make any difference. I’m scared that all the work I’ve done will be made irrelevant if people knew that I didn’t take the “proper” course to get there.

  165. I’ve avoiding being pro-active about the last 15-years of my life because I believe I don’t deserve a place in a world of artists and writers with far greater talent than my own. I allowed the idea that a lack of formal education and being exposed for a fraud or poser as I called it in my head, hold me back. On top of health issues, this has also kept me from holding any kind of job for very long. I’ve reached the point in my life where if I don’t fix this now I may never be able to and the depression may get to me.

  166. I often feel so stupid around my colleagues. I feel that they must wonder how I am in the role I am in and they must be so annoyed by me. It’s so shocking how at times people will tell me that they appreciate me or that I am doing a good job. I have a hard time seeing it or feeling it.

    • Exactly my position! I’m a speech language pathologist which requires a Master’s degree but I feel
      Really stupid & I am SURE my colleagues find me annoying & know I’m faking it & wonder how on earth I got the job. I am riddled with anxiety whenever I’m @ work despite having done this type of work for 10 years! & I’m filled with anxiety typing this for fear of spelling/grammar mistakes!

      • Hi Cyn, my Son has seen 5 speech therapists, all different, all skilled, all competent, all helped him. I feel so grateful for the help he has had. You are competent to be approved. Is there a best therapist? No! The clients are all different. How would you know if you were the best? One therapist got my son to say “f”, one s&z, one t & d, one got breathing & slowing down, one built confidence on multisyllabic words. The efforts of the whole mean my son can now communicate. Yes, I thought some were better than others but the impact overall is life changing for him. Bringing any help to someone is a gift & you are bringing joy to life. Namaste

  167. I feel like my jewelry isn’t good enough, despite having had some success with it in the past. (I’m restarting my business, but it’s slow going.) I feel like there’s always room for improvement, and I wonder sometimes if I’m just wasting my time on something that’s ultimately doomed to fail.

  168. I don’t make the art that I want to because ‘who am I to be having a voice like that when really I’ve got nothing to say??’

  169. Hi i have missed out on many jobs due to feeling i was not good enough despite getting the job in the first place and support from manager’s.

  170. My Imposter syndrome started in Grad school. Recently i got an internship but i feel like it was a fluke. I am constantly working more than my peers because i feel that i might get exposed. I grasp things quickly and articulate them properly but when my manager asks me to explain something i feel that he has seen through my disguise and is just asking me to explain because he wants to make fun of me. I have started letting go of opportunities. Also, the people around me are all more experienced and from more renowned colleges which makes me feel inferior to them. Recent setbacks at cracking interviews have added to this fear. I am really questioning myself if i am good enough ?

  171. My Imposter Syndrome revolves around being hopeful. I speak it, not as much as I used to, but I rarely live it. Inside I am filled with emptiness, depression and a constant feeling of failure. These days I am paralyzed by fear. With the life I was given I felt I had to beat all the odds but they have always been so stacked against me. The ways I envision having to overcome them seem unusual and impossible. I like to think that I can do it. I can accomplish this. Then reality hits and I’m stuck not trying. Today I am suicidal. My fear leads me to believe I will never accomplish anything. It’s too late. There really is no way for me to accomplish anything. All of my talents are wasted. I have nothing of value to leave behind. I will be forgotten and little good will be remembered of me because I never did anything worthwhile in life.

    • Dear Valerie, I can see myself in your comment, apart from being suicidal. I can imagine that the pain is so intense sometimes that you just want it to stop. Sometimes I think about dead but not in a dying wish but as sleep where you don’t have to feel things. Then, I carry on with my life, knowing that that was just a moment, it’s not reality and we’re all here for a reason, even if we don’t know what it is yet. This too shall pass. There’s a part of you that feels like an Imposter but there’s also a part of you that accepts yourself and has hope. Just give this part some more space. Don’t give up and I won’t give up as well.

    • I’m so sorry you’re going through this, Valerie. I went through it too. I was able to heal from my depression and anxiety doing a type of therapy called EMDR. Please look into it. There IS hope! Hang in there.

  172. I don’t speak up when i feel compelled to… makes me feel like a fraud. I built my life around false assumptions and dreams.

  173. I’ve just realized had impostor syndrome my entire life but I had no idea other people felt this way too. I can’t seem to find the difference between humility and having the imposer syndrome. I don’t like making people feel inferior to me so I negate every accomplishment I have by saying “It wasn’t hard” or “It was just luck”. Every accomplishment I’ve had has been really hard for me to accept, and I tend to just brush it off and think little of it. I also have impatience (which I’m working on) and I sometimes think, “When will life get exciting and adventurous?” but then I think to myself “Why do I deserve to have fun if there is so much to be done and so many people with many problems in the world? I don’t deserve a super exciting life when I have so many problems to solve and people to help”. Its kind of an endless circle. I am a recent high school graduate, and my senior year was full of many awards and accomplishments, but I found it extremely hard to recognize my achievements. It’s very hard for me to learn how to acknowledge an accomplishment since I hate feeling superior and bragging about successes. There isn’t anything specifically that I’ve been procrastinating on from the impostor syndrome.. its more of a general “there’s nothing special about me or my accomplishments”. Thank you for a great post, I will definitely be reading more of your writing

  174. I have often felt like an ‘imposter’, but had not heard of Imposter Syndrome. Interesting to know that it is a real thing. I started a blog and wrote posts consistently for about 2 years, but Imposter Syndrome got the best of me and I questioned why anyone would want to know what I had to say when there were many others saying similar things. I haven’t posted for a couple years. In that time I did start a business. My age leads people to believe that I have been in this business for many years, and while I know a lot about the industry, I certainly don’t know everything (or even as much as some think), and Imposter Syndrome rears its ugly head again.

  175. I’ve been failing to finish writing my thesis because I feel like I cant do it, what did they ever see in me, why am I even in grad school? I’m surrounded by people who try to give the impression that they are perfect and expect perfectionism. I obviously failed to meet these standards and I was consumed by depression and a lack of self-worth.

    • Grad school can really mess with your head. When I finally defended my thesis I felt like I was an imposter- like I could have done better or like I really had no clue what the heck I was doing throughout so the outcome wasn’t great. Looking back on it now after reading this article I feel I really did put in a lot of work and I still use what I studied in my teaching profession 5 years later.

  176. I’ll go back and read this article from time to time to remind myself that I’m not the only one who feels like a fake. It’s hard to let people see the real, complete you for fear they won’t like what they see and run. As a massage therapist, I feel that if I can’t help someone resolve their pain issues that means I’m a failure and a fraud, even if it’s their own resistance to letting go that is holding up their progress. Thanks for this post!

  177. Up until yesterday I didn’t realize I had ‘impostor syndrome’ when a colleague who knows me really well pointed it out. I was afraid of applying for my boss’s position even after i have demonstrated time after time again my capabilities and gotten promoted to senior management. I have always felt like every time I got promoted was by chance. My fear was that if i applied for the position I would be exposed for all the things I don’t know. I have issues accepting and internalizing my success … but no more! Thanks for the article.

  178. Up until yesterday I didn’t realize I had ‘impostor syndrome’ when a colleague who knows me really well pointed it out. I was afraid of applying for my boss’s position even after i have demonstrated time after time again my capabilities and gotten promoted to senior management. I have always felt like that every time I got promoted was by chance. My fear was that if i applied for the position I would be exposed for all the things I don’t know. I have issues accepting and internalizing my success … but no more! Thanks for the article.

  179. I have recently realised that I have imposter syndrome after nearly ten years of being a yoga teacher and I really hope I can get some relief from the soul destroying feelings this creates,

  180. I feel so much better after reading this. The pressure of society is a difficult beast to manage when you feel like an imposter. I have felt on many occasions that I couldn’t carry on speaking to groups of people as I felt my knowledge wasn’t sufficient to hold a conversation or be in their presence even. It felt demoralising each time but felt it was the best option to get out of there as I would of felt like I was faking it even being there at all. Tis article reinforces the idea that every person has a worth and just because one knows more about something than another, it does make the one superior in a status sense. Thank you for this article

  181. Congratulations,
    You really nailed so many of the aspects of what I go through and I’m sure may others do too. I have people who call me an expert. I know people more knowledgable which obviously proves I’m not but I still want very much to speak publicly on my field, my passion. I want to write out that expressions and I get on highs of how fantastic that would be and how it would look. But a “high” proves it isn’t real which proves my impostership and keeps me in the whole filthy spiral. There have been a few times though when the wall wasn’t there and I did write and I did express and I accepted my personal mode and colors. Just writing this I realize how many more aspects of my life are ruled through this syndrome.

  182. Kyle,

    Thank you for sharing this blog. Currently, I’m in the process of changing careers into very different directions. I find I feel fraudulent by staying in a career that no longer motivates me, yet they take excellent care of me and I will also be able to change career paths while still working there…and I also feel fraudulent trying to practice in the career that I do not yet feel prepared to be a part of. I’m working with my coach on imposter syndrome right now. To answer your challenge, I have not been blogging the way I want to because I don’t know exactly what message I want to put out there, And I am too worried about how it will be received, or who will even receive it. To answer what I’m going to do about it: I’m going to just write on the topic that I think is relevant and go from there. if I don’t get time to write today, I will tomorrow.

    Thank you again.

  183. Kyle, I felt so empathetic with your situation!

    I feel like a fraud when I have to do something realted to “my field”. And I put quotation marks on it, because my field is broader than I can explain, and that makes me feel like I am no good at anything, but that’s a lie I tell myself. I have studied every part of my discipline and I have been giving consulting to small and medium companies on that.

    Recently, I have been asked to do a talk about a topic of my field, and I am so afraid! I am going to do it anyway, but I literally think that someone is going to think I know nothing and tell the whole world I am a fraud.

    I hope this exercises help me overcome the imposter syndrome.

  184. Hi, Kyle. Thank you for writing this. So I’m writing on this local social media site (I live in Indonesia) when we can write anything, like a facebook for people who simply love writing, a little safe paradise with flexible standards.

    I mostly write fiction because of this Impostor Syndrome problem. Because I think people will judge my work more objectively because they’re fiction with entertainment purpose. I’m afraid of using ‘my own voice’ to talk directly to the readers in a motivational or self-improvement articles which ideas come around occasionally. I tried a few times, a couple of them even got pinned up and achieved a little boost of traffic, and it scared me a little bit. And I’m still shaky about posting such thing again.

    Like I mentioned before, people can write almost anything on this site including ‘statuses’. So the preference and quality are vastly varied. Not little of them are still (understandably) neglectful to basic writing canon like punctuations and grammar. But what gets me sometimes are the typical repetitive romantic, sentimental and religious topics people write on. Some of them spark quite sour judgment in my mind but I never speak of it. While some other try to educate the others through posts about how to write more properly, sometimes with decorated words and literary profile that I personally don’t think I have the capacity to do. I feel uncomfortable reading these appeal-for-improvement posts. I feel like someone shouting my mind with different voice. It makes me feel like a really bad person. And when some other members write short pieces and statuses, appealing for not being proud and feeling better than other people, possibly responding to other posts, my heart would start racing as I feel like they’re talking about me. It must be me. At least I’m one of the people they direct the post to. They can sense my thoughts and assume I’m actively judging them.

    This is not stopping me from writing on the site, but it definitely stresses me out. Most of the site is very positive. But how do I apply your tips in my situation and stop worrying about what other members might think of me personally?

    Thank you.

    • Hey, I revisited this article multiple times and I finally learned and encouraged by it. Thank you. I’m writing again.

  185. Hurry and read more about GREAT MUTABA on net if you have a relationship problem or any problem he can help you out, he just helped me and I am so so happy

  186. I study computer science at a top 3 university in the US and hoping to work as a programmer for the rest of my life. There are these classmates that seem to just understand the concept on the spot. Many times I find myself comparing to classmates who are doing so well in class and feel like I just won’t make it, whatever that maybe. I see myself average at best, which is definitely not in any way me being humble. Like you had pointed earlier, I also feel like I’m faking imposter syndrome for my genuine incompetence.

    What’s even worse is that every time I get stuck in a CS problem or when there is a concept that just I can’t possibly understand, I just feel like I’m not meant to do CS; that I do not have enough intelligence to do CS or even become a mediocre programmer, which I’m okay with as long as I can still be employable and make a living. This is how bad it is…

    After reading your article and going through comments, it really relieved me to know that I’m not the only person feeling this way. I think I can do this. I think sometimes feeling like a impostor is inevitable, but I can still keep on continuing my journey and that’s maybe part of the journey. Thank you so much for this article.

  187. I’m a 20 year old queer person who comes from genetics that are predisposed to mental illness, family history of verbal abuse, and a 5 year long abusive relationship. I’ve felt for ages like I just completely lack a personality, and that I just act in a way that I know people would like in order to get them to like me. It’s been especially horrible lately, as it’s extended to my gender identity, and I have no idea if I’m a man or a woman or both or neither, and I find myself just wishing I could be whatever would be ideal for the moment. This leads to me feeling like I am just lying to everyone about who I “really am”, as I myself have no fucking clue who I “really am”. It leads me to often think that if I’m always going to be like this, I would be better off dead. It’s been a rough life, honestly, but seeing that this is an issue that effects people in all sorts of ways, I have some hope that I can learn to grow past it and find some stability in my sense of self some day. Thank you for this. And thanks for letting me self indulgently share my issues namelessly in the comments section in front of a bunch of strangers.

    • Our stories are nothing alike, but we share very similar feelings. When the troubling ones take over, I’ve found helping others helps me. Also, after living as an atheist, I discovered Buddhism two years ago, but only became consistent recently. I don’t think of it as a religion, the word makes me cringe. I think of it as a tool to help me evolve into my best self. I could say I wish I had started off consistent, but I believe I had to go through some major challenges to realize how much it helped me. We don’t worship anything, rather we believe everything is cause & effect, and the only way to find peace is by living up to our fullest potential. If we are full of depression, anxiety, & constant confusion, we are living in our own hell. I was tired of living in hell. I believed in karma & had inherited my family’s, but had no idea how to change it, because I was still hanging onto all these false beliefs about myself. Chanting “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo”
      over & over helps me feel more aware of my thoughts & magically began changing my perception of myself & my environment. I feel more alive & grateful for everything & I find I can take on more challenges & help more people this way. You can Google Nichiren Buddhism & find an SGI (soka gakkai international) Community Center closest to you. If you ever want to talk or have questions, my email is nmc2880@gmail.com .

  188. I was born in Colombia and raised in the US since I was 12 years old, I was always a very good student but a horrible trouble maker, my teenage years were full of partying and doing the wrong things , the only thing that saved me from trashing my life completely was God and the values my family always thought me. By the time I was 22 I became very wealthy by hanging around with the wrong people, I had to spend 1 year and a half in jail and was kicked out of America. Ever since I have been troubling the world , lived in China for 3 years, learned Mandarin and opened several import and export related businesses between China and Latin America. I am way over my immature and reckless past and have been working hard for the last 7 years to serve and create value to society. I guess my biggest obstacle has been thinking im a fraud when talking about entrepreneurship or empowering people to travel and make their business global. Always the hunting thoughts about my past mistake has blocked me from pushing to the next level. Thanks for the article it was very inspiring.

  189. …I refuse to acknowledge how smart I am. When in school,I was on the A-B Honor Roll. I only studied the night before the test and crammed at the last minute and RARELY got Cs. I didn’t have to TRY, so,I STILL think I didn’t deserve the high grades I got. I was never proud of them because I didn’t feel I earned them. Earning something, I feel, takes hard work, perspiration, and dedication. I never did that. I…I was lazy. I’m 21,22 in August, and I feel like…Like a fake in everything I do. The food I cook is never good enough, my writing is worthless, and I just…I’M not good enough.

  190. Hello
    I have recently started a new position heading a new department. The owner and CEO of the company sought me out and personally recruited me for the position. My CEO is supportive and only speaks highly of me and expresses gratitude for me joining the team. I’ve only received praise in the short time I’ve been with the company and while i know i am more than qualified for my new position i feel like a total imposter. It has crippled me in a way that has stopped me from truly being me and shining in my position.
    An old colleague of mine mentioned imposter syndrome to me and i am absolutely suffering from it. I have experienced great anxiety and paranoia because of it and have done a large amount of medical tests to figure it what’s wrong when it is pretty obvious.
    I’m trying all steps to move forward and this read was great. Hopefully this post and the other steps listed here will help me to overcome and get going on what i was brought in to do.
    Thank you

  191. Great article and this is something I’ve struggled with for years. I’ve risen the ranks into a leadership role in one of the biggest software companies in the world. I mange PhD software architects and MBA grads and I barely graduated with a Liberal Arts degree. I candidly couldn’t even tell you the first thing about certain aspects of our software platform. So many times I’ve struggled with the “How did I make it here?” “When are they going to realize I’m a fraud?” But this is a great reminder that I have made the most of every opportunity given to me to grow and learn. My teams’ IQ’s may be much higher than mine, but my EQ is off the charts and I know this is what has enabled me to grow the ranks through my career. I’m very perceptive of people and reading situations which has enabled me to make strategic decisions to allow me to grow professionally. My leadership style with my people is all about growth mindset and it enables others to feel comfortable to try new things and empower themselves. So I know I’m adding value to their lives which is fulfilling. Thank you – I’m glad to be able to list this!

  192. I avoid even trying to write at all even though i think there is a book in me and it would make me so happy to finally write it. I avoid people , building on friendships, i avoid going after life.

  193. I loved your article. I just got an email that brought up my deepest fears of finally being exposed. I am ready to face this false belief head on and your article is very skillful. Thought you might enjoy this from the onion. Peace!

  194. Hi Kyle, Hi all,

    well I just found out that the Impostor Symptom exists and reading all of this really helps a bit. I have been hiding my struggles for quite a long time and it is indeed a huge burden.

    I am currently studying Computer Science and my problem is that I wanna find a part time programming job to gain work experiences.
    Before starting at uni I have been working full time and everybody had huge expectations of me (especially myself) since I am kinda an A student, and I seriously wanted to rock and provide value at work, but I just kept on failing badly (or at least I think so). I wanted to be good at work so much, and I know the work environment was not exactly the most “supportive”, but I keep on blaming myself for it. Leaving this work and going to uni was a relief, but I felt like: here is my proof, I am a failure and everybody at work knows I am, and now i am running away from it.

    Normally I would have to tell myself: I survived that, it is not my fault, so now everything is fine, I am more skilled now etc.
    I feel like I should treat the job application like an experiment, but I am just so scared that I am going to fail again, so even though there are several job offers I just can’t even start to write the application. I feel like I have no value to provide (even though I learned programming in C++, Java and currently learning Python and so on, but I am so scared of how different programming at a work would be).

    Thank you for writing this post. It is a relief to read it (and to be able to write this down 😭) Kind regards


  195. Last week I won a medal at the world championships in historical swordsmanship. Yet I’ve dropped out of more than just a few fights because I was sure I was not fit for the task. I was a crappy fighter. I had no place there.

    And yet here is that medal. So I’m going to overcome this.

    Thanks for writing this.

  196. HA! I see what the author is doing. He takes input such as replies as a source of validation of your work. And he is seek to bolster them because HE IS A FRAUD! Not that anything written is wrong but… well he probably feels like it despite being right and being helpful.

    On a serious note, I have 2 for 1 special here. First off, I tend to feel dumb, despite the fact that basically every job I have work in involved technology, never had a below average score on an IQ test etc. And even my co-workers have been dumbfounded by things I easily understood. My evidence for being dumb is I dropped out of college because I had low grades and lost funding. I never did homework though so… I was lazy not stupid, although that was dumb of me. I really, really want to go back to school, pay out of my own pocket, and get an engineering degree. But I feel like I am not smart enough and would fail. That’s even what happens in my dreams, I am going to school but I missed most of the classes and am so lost I try to fake it and fail. Now I would do something about it but I have bills to pay. So I kind of cant. I will jump on the next opportunity to go though.

    2nd, and this goes along with the interest in engineering. And it is making things. Crafts, or more technological projects I want to do, but I don’t because I don’t know enough or am too unskilled or don’t have the exact tools that some professional has. Its like, wtf I want to do them to build skill, so I don’t even understand why I let that stop me. But I know exactly what to do. I have a workbench that is basically being used to hold stuff on it. I am gong right now to clear it off. I have a box full of projects I never completed too. Most of them are in the “gather materials” phase. I am going to clean that bench and grab something out of the box and start working.

  197. thanks for writing this article. this was very helpful. I feel so guilty for receiving money for the work i do because i do not consider myself good enough, as if i am stealing the money from people and i am a fraud.
    *my first ever comment on a blog*

    • I know exactly how that feels, used to feel the same and left the job 🙁 You’re not the only one. I even thought the company looses money because of me…

  198. Imposter syndrome isn’t just about work, it’s also about ordinary every day life.
    I have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic sacroiliac joint syndrome, diabetes. I feel like I’m making it up, that I’m a fraud. Therefore I don’t feel I am believed when I apply for benefits, because I can’t work, actually the application for benefits makes a person paranoid by having to prove their dependence on the statedge thereby reinforcing their imposter syndrome. I don’t think doctors believe me either because I am a fraud, even though I’m in pain, am disabled and exhausted all the time. After all who in the world has all these illnesses, and on top of that diabetes 2 and peripheral neuropathy! I’m a fraud. As soon as I stop being a fraud all this pain and illness will go away, but how do I stop being an imposter

  199. I don’t even write comments on facebook or forums because I feel like a fake.

  200. I gave up on being a CEO in my own company because of the Impostor Syndrome. I put my husband in front of me every time I discovered a business opportunity because I thought I wasn’t good enough to go for it. I do sales consultancy and get surprised every time my work actually helps my clients (and it lasts for 13 years!). Just to mention a few…

  201. I typed “fear of being an entrepreneur” (a transition I’m trying to achieve), and, for some reason, I decided to skip to the others pages of google search, instead of reading the first or second article. And I found this gold.

    Thank you a lot. It’s amazing to see (and experience in first hand) that most of the time what hold us off is not what we don’t know yet, but things that we “already know” (many bullshits and that internal voices telling you that you can’t do something).

    I’m feeling an imposter, but with this text, I can guarantee you are not. Success for you!

  202. I just started my private practice as a therapist after years of agency work. Now people talk to me and pay me mo eye which totally freaks me out, because surely they will catch on that I am a fake and not worth their money. This thinking despite my advance degree and years of clinical work. Thank you for this article!

  203. Hi,
    I’m not sure this is the place for me, but I’m giving it a shot. I’m not going to school or trying to do anything that others might consider extraordinary. I have a position at work where many people count on me and often, I feel like I’m way over my head, then I wonder if it’s my anxiety making me feel that way because there are times when I surprise myself with what I know and “Whoa, where did that come from?”

    In my personal life, I feel like the biggest fake. I smile when I don’t feel like smiling and often wonder if my caring for people is fake, too. I think others caring for me is really fake because if they knew what kind of person I am deep inside, they wouldn’t feel the way they do. They couldn’t. I feel like I have my whole world conned into thinking I’m this wonderful person, who’s so nice and caring. I’m not. I’m just me, whatever that is, and I don’t even know what that is. I’ve spent the majority of my life looking for love and acceptance in the wrong places that I now feel I have none to give (except to my grand babies, which seems all too real to me).

    So this is it. No one in my life knows about this or would understand (in my mind, they wouldn’t, anyway).

    I read what you posted and can relate to a lot of it. Finally, someone who understands how it is for me.

    I have this t-shirt that I wear sometimes. It says “Perfection is boring…be imperfectly you.” I get some serious looks from people, but you know what? It describes me and I’m ok with that. I’m imperfectly me. It’s taken a really long time to realize that it’s ok to be just that. Doesn’t help with the fake feeling when I’m around people, but by myself? I’m totally ok with it.


  204. Well I am a HR research consultant for 4 years now and I have absolutely no idea what I am doing…or that’s what I feel like 99% of the time. Sometimes I wanna scream at my clients: NO DONT GIVE THAT PROJECT TO ME. YOU DONT KNOW THAT I DONT KNOW ANYTHING. But somehow most of the time ppl are genuinely satisfied. But it’s tja damocles sword feeling, all day everyday.
    And I mean my job isn’t even that hard, it’s no rocket science for sure. Thanks for proposing solutions

    • Hi Maya,

      I just got hired on at a midsize organization to create their very first HR department. When I sit in meetings with people, and they start by saying “I just talked to Johnny and….” I can’t help but think the end of that sentence is “…he said you failed miserably at XYZ task and we are very concerned with your ability to be successful in this role.”

      But every time I do something, you are right, everyone seems very pleased and genuinely satisfied! I don’t know how they don’t see it, but I guess that’s none of my business…

      Just keep working, I guess!

  205. I am a female musician and sometimes when I’m playing I feel like I don’t deserve the money I’m going to get paid and that I’ve tricked my way into playing at the venue. I’m scared that nobody really likes me playing, in spite of getting invited back to venues pretty consistently. I’m working on accepting that I’m good at what I do and that I have put work into where I am, it’s very easy to discredit everything I’ve done to get here. I don’t want to feel this way anymore.

  206. I’ve quit two different educations right before graduation because I was affraid I would not get a job. I was a straight A student both times, but I did not believe that anyone would hire me. I was convinced that I got my good grades because of luck and that the professors mixed up my grades with the grades of other students.

    This spring I’m supposed to graduate, and I’m doing everything I can not to quit. I’m terrified that the professors will stop making mistakes while grading and finally give me the grades i deserve.

    • Hi Lilly,

      I connect to what you wrote. Heads up though. You can do it, fight your fears. Maybe that’s the real challenge for you and many of us here. And if you do that, you already deserve your graduation.

      The feeling seems only too familiar. A colleague of mine actually broke off in the last moment before defending his thesis. It came like a shock to us, his colleagues.
      I am suffering from the impostor syndrome as well, I am scared that once my thesis is finished, people and jury will see that my work is no good. I still believe that myself. And that I might get my degree out of pity. So I am delaying my writing unconsciously, distracting myself with bigger world problems to avoid thinking of my own.

      But I will finish this, and I hope you, too.

  207. I have been afraid to try and become an animal behaviorist. I feel like I may not have what it takes, that people will realize what a failure I am, that I don’t deserve be an animal behaviorist, because it’s a job I think so highly of.

  208. My name is Alberto, and sometimes I do feel like a fraud. Thanks for the article and the ideas, by the way. Right now I’m struggling with the choice of continuing or not my studies of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. I compare myself a lot with references and class mates, and I feel like either I go full gas or I don’t go at all with it. Some days I feel like there’s nothing wrong with going at my own pace even if others are going at 3x speed. That’s okay. In other days, I feel like a fraud because I dont take interest in things useful for the profession that others take interest in. Oh boy. I think I will continue with it, at least for another year, as in the 2nd one some interesting things are going to happen (interesting classes and projects). OHHHHH BOY. Hahaha. Wish you all good.

  209. um well im deciding between colleges, specifically my reach school and my match school and i just feel like i dont deserve to go to my reach school and i tried to do the stream of conciousness thing and im just in the wonderfully viscous cycle of feeling like if i go to my reach school ill be a fraud and exposed when im riding the bottom of the curve.
    i dont want to ride the bottom of the curve…

    • JDP, Were you accepted by your reach school? If so, they think you have what it takes. Realize that college is difficult by its design. First year students often take that year to figure out what they need to do to be successful. I believe this will most likely be the case no matter where you go. Is it possible you are mentally elevating your reach school beyond reason? It is normal to have some performance anxiety when faced with a new situation like college. I’m not sure that this is exactly the same as Imposter Syndrome, though related. I would suggest that you work to clarify your strengths and to learn all you can about the challenges of being a first year student. Realize you don’t have to know everything all at once. Students are supposed to learn! Best to you!

  210. I am in grad school and feeling like I am not good enough. Everybody seems so much smarter than I am. Since high school, I always was the top of the class, and I am not anymore. I feel somebody much more naturally talented in the area where I am working at should have come to this school instead of me. I think throughout my life I was just lucky that classes and professors were easy and that is why it was not a problem for me to get an A in all of my classes. Now I have had to realize I am not good enough and that I was never really “that” smart. All of this is making me wonder whether I should continue striving, because as of now it seems that from a start I was just a sham. I was never intelligent enough or talented enough to do what I did, I was just lucky and now grad school is showing me all that is true. That is my version of impostor syndrome. Thank you for your post it makes me able to give a name to what I am going through and to look for a “cure”.

  211. I’m a single mother and have been told by specialists that my toddler son has 9 weeks left to live. Everyone has questions and they question the given outcome in an attempt to keep positive, even though I’ve known this for four years, which makes me question do I even know what I’m talking about, am I telling the truth, is this even really happening. Sadly it is real, it is the truth, maybe its hope that makes me feel like a fraud. I’d be happy if really I had made it up and my son doesn’t die and that I’m discovered to be a fraudulent.

  212. I feel like I don’t deserve all my academic success. My friends always study hard for any test and I leave everything to last minute.
    I just think that I study well under pressure. In the end I always had the best grades and I felt awful that I did better than my friends who studied non stop for that test.
    I’m often overwhelmed by the thought that I have never did my best in any school or personal project. This makes me believe that I have much more to offer to the world. I have really high standards to which career I should pursuit. Even though I’ve done well in several areas, I never felt passionate about anything in my life.

    • Me too. I have always been a procrastinator who pulls out great stuff. It could be adhd, you may find some material on that helpful for understanding yourself. Also, give yourself credit for how hard you do work in those crunch times. Don’t feel like you don’t deserve success just because you work pattern is less than ideal. Yeah, it could ideally be better but you do done get some things done well.

  213. I feel I got my job purely by chance. Well, maybe I did but it’s time to get to work!

  214. I’m an excellent actor but I’ve never had the courage to just drop everything and move to LA, there are just so many obstacles. How will I eat? Where will I sleep? It’s next to impossible to find an agent.

  215. Ive got all the Skills to start a business and become a entrepreneur…but within i feel imposter and Lack Confidence because of such …i hope i over come it ..and get a Head start to implement it..

  216. Stumbled upon this article while looking up the lyrics to Simon & Garfunkel “Faking It” I know I’m faking it,not really making it.”
    Most of my life has been a series of getting to a secure place, and then asking myself how did I get here? I have a decent job, but contstantly feel I will never “fit in”. A decent salary, never enough. Married , children , grandchildren to the outside world I’m doing fine, inside my head I’m a mess! The great thing about reading this is now I feel more “normal”
    Thank you!

  217. I guess I’m actually doing this, then. Okay, something I’ve avoided because I feel like a fraud: financial aid/scholarship applications. I’m an undergraduate in college, and every time I try to do a application of that nature, I’m overwhelmed by the belief that I don’t deserve to get any form of financial help, especially when there are so many others who need it. The kind of people who deserve scholarships are the ones who volunteer and participate in organizations, the ones who have jobs or other responsibilities. I just have to deal with school, so I often don’t feel like I should be judged by the same standards as them. “So what if I have a high GPA?”, I’d think. “If they can do well while doing so much more, I should get perfect scores.” Yet even though I don’t have to deal with as much as others, I still struggle sometimes and lose sleep trying to keep up. It doesn’t help that the state I’m in forces public universities to accept everyone in the top 10% (or maybe 7%) of their class in high school; I can’t say for sure that the college I’m in actually wanted me. So yeah, I have trouble filling out applications. I’ve always been able to force myself through the university’s application, because if I don’t, it’ll be my parents paying the bill, and that would make me feel even worse. Beyond that, though… *sigh*

    This was surprisingly therapeutic, even if it ends up being temporary. Thanks for listening, and thanks (to the author) for writing the article. I think it might help.

  218. j’ai 24 ans, et je n’ai encore jamais vivez la vie que je veux, toujeurs je change mes planning que ce soit une sortie avec mes amies a causes de mes vetement qui n’en pas a la hauteur, ou bien mes etudes je ne postule meme pas parceque je sais au fond de moi que je peux pas le faire, je suis en 1ére année doctorat. et le sentiment d’incompétence s’est agravée maintenent je suis sur le point d’abondonner ma thése parce que jai peur que mon professeur decouvert que je ne suis pas a la hauteur, et je sens que j’ai trahi la confiance que ma famille a fait en moi ainsi que tous l’entourage.

  219. I’m always worrying that I am not good at planning and organising. In fact, I do it every moment of every day! I’m going to plan less & let go in acceptance more ☺️

  220. I’ve never had something in my life I felt I was the best at, like it was my destiny. I was pretty good at sports, foreign languages, sciences and art. In highschool I had to decide between being a doctor and an architect and decided on the latter. Managed to pass the admittance exam and finished in the top 20 and I always felt I was lucky. Started working in an architecture company the last 2 years of university and got to stay after finishing, while most of my university friends just changed careers right after graduating. Got my architecture license by scoring the 4th grade in the country at the national exam and finally decided to leave architecture 2 years later because I didn’t like the environment anymore.
    Took a sabbatical for 6 months and in that time decided I want to become a User Experience designer in an IT company. Took me a year to finally get the job I wanted (well paid, excellent colleagues, all the benefits). I applied on a whim, didn’t think I’d get the call because they wanted a midlevel or senior position and I was a Junior. I passed the technical and the practical tests, to my surprise. So I’ve been working here for almost 4 months, our yearly reviews are coming up and am scared they’ll totally find me out, even though I specified at the interviews that I am a beginner. I don’t really have a mentor to guide me and I always feel like the dog doing chemistry in the meme.
    Rant over.
    Your article did help and I will try to leave the negative thoughts behind.

  221. This syndrome may explain why I haven’t accomplished anything significant in my life despite being highly competent. I would identify as an underachiever. Has anyone tried rejection therapy?

  222. My name is Wilhelmina and I am a fraud. That’s not even my real name. That’s the name of a little girl in the neighborhood I grown-ups in, who nobody believed. Even the grown ups said she was a liar. Well so was I! But no one ever caught on. They said I was smart, cute and talented. But I was lucky at school, ugly in the mirror and a fast thinker. It’s just that I could solve problems, not a big deal. They said that I was going to be successful. We they were fooled about that too. My success was simply a series of blessings from God. The senior role in the businesses that I’ve served and the credentials that I have are a result of a lot of hard work, but not talent. So now that I know that even this is a lie, I will reconstruct my truth.

  223. Don’t know if this counts as imposter syndrome, but when talking to people I always feel like I’m fake and can’t really connect with people because of it and if I am alone I will try to just be in a group of people so that I won’t be seen as a douchebag. This has been the story my whole life and I never feel truly happy because of it.

  224. We’re all impostors; it’s how we learn. We emulate and we copy and we are chameleons. Daniel Pink in his book “To Sell is Human” says that being a “chameleon” is a way of attuning to others. In fact, it’s part of our evolution. TBH, I hadn’t even heard of “Impostor syndrome” until today, but I’ve often felt it. Wondering when my students or my team were going to figure out that I really don’t know what I’m talking about or doing or planning. But, as Socrates said: “The only thing I know, is that I know nothing.” That being said, in the professional world, I feel like George Costanza and the Penske file. 🙂 I think we all do, at some point!

  225. Kinda funny – I need an Impostor Syndrome Queen crown…I’m giving a talk on it tomorrow…I can’t figure out if I’m going to be talking to them or myself.

  226. Great words. I am following your advice, leaving a comment, because even that takes courage.
    I am a senior doctor in a small district hospital with over 30 years of experience. It is easy to feel irrelevant when young, freshly graduated doctors , highly digitally savvy , but still polishing their fledgling patient interaction skills, talk and act like they know everything.
    From my own memory of youthful cockiness, I can see beneath the facade to the quaking mass of nerves. Still, on the surface, I do get fooled, everyday, till I remind myself to address what they are feeling, and not what they are projecting.
    My most successful moments of intergenerational connection have been when I have acknowledged my own past feelings of “Oh God I don’t know this”, as well as the current ones of “I am past it, what I have learnt over the years probably does not matter” the basis of both being inadequacy, completely different but each crippling in its own way.

  227. I have realised that I have been suffering from Imposter Syndrome for a long time now.
    Just when I reach a point where exciting opportunities happen I back away, because I am scared or I feel I don’t deserve it. Almost dooming my own success.

    Saying it out loud helps and I have a close friend who is also going through the same thing. If I am honest I am not sure what to do about this now. How to claim it back.

  228. I’ve avoided training to teach because I feel like I’m a fraud. I have passed my course but today fell apart in an interview because of this overwhelming feeling. It also meant I cried during a presentation in front of my peers, both experiences were totally humiliating, but I felt I was bent exposed as an impostor in those moments, both before and during. Bad times!

    • Perhaps crying is a natural expression of empathy and nerves. Try to be kind to yourself because crying is a human release. I’m a teacher of 18 years and recently, in a very difficult class, I wept in front of one particular bullish student. Years just rolled down my cheeks. Rather than being the laughing stock of the class, she warmed immediately; all her rage defused and she quietly reassured me: “It’s alright Miss”. News flew round school, via Snapchat etc but not one person was horrible. They wanted to see how far they could push me & when I broke, was vulnerable, but still there, being professional, they respected that I am a fallible human, just the same as them 😊

  229. Got it in one, I’m very good at my job- I have been told a lot. So want to share my brain with people via a blog.

    I worry I do not live up to the credentials of others, and why would people listen to me?

  230. Every time i’m talking to someone I feel like i’m trying my best to say whatever they want to hear. When this is going on I feel like they’re looking right through my disguise and seeing me for who I really am. But the thing is I don’t even know who I really am. No matter what happens in my life, no matter the significance, nothing ever makes me feel like I have any kind of meaning or purpose. I go day by day doing the same shit over and over and over and over and over and i’m stuck in a constantly loop on auto pilot. All of my time consists of me thinking about why i’m even here right now, what will people think if I do this, what will they think if I say this, I should just go back home and lay in bed and do nothing. Sometimes I just lay there with my stomach rumbling from hunger but I don’t even care to eat because I don’t feel like I even deserve to eat. Like i’m robbing the world of food that somebody more important could be eating. They need it more than I do anyways right? Because they’re actually relevant in this world. Despite all this, sometimes i’ll have days where I don’t give a fuck what anybody thinks or how they react to me. People usually respond well to it when it happens, and I try my best to stay in that mindset. But evry time it never fails that the thoughts start to slowly trickle back into my head like some kind of sickness. It feels like it’s been sitting there the whole time just waiting for me to notice so it can show me how much worse it’s gotten since I forgot about it. I’m hoping that someday i’ll get back in my good mindset and i’ll never get out of it. Fingers crossed.

    • Honest and emotional. 1. You only need to care about what YOU think about yourself. It starts there. 2. Your thoughts attract your reality. Please look into a free app called “Insight timer.” It’s a meditation app and it offers a range of meditations, talks, posts…quite amazing. 10 minutes a day for five to six weeks and you *will* start to attract a different reality. 3. You give yourself meaning and purpose. It doesn’t have to be found in a job; it doesn’t have to be found anything external to yourself. When you have a difficult time, please compare downwards, not upwards. This means that you should compare your life to other’s who have it worse. Your existence to others whose existence is fraught with unclean water, distended bellies, homelessness….and when you eat your food, feel GRATITUDE. 4. Medication can help, if you need it. Taking medication for chemical imbalances in the brain are the same as taking meds for high cholesterol or high blood pressure, etc.

      Sending you good thoughts. (Emily Dickinson: I’m nobody. Who are you? Are you nobody, too?)

  231. I was telling an old friend the other night about how I always feel like “The day is going to come soon, when everyone will realize that I really don’t know anything. I suspect that several people already know”. My friendsaid “I’ve worked with you before, and it’s not true. You have impostor syndrome”.

    Bear in mind, I’ve got 20 years of experience in my field (health analytics). I’ve never had anything other than a stellar performance review. People ask for me by name when a new project is proposed. None of this matters; in my gut I feel I’ve been mostly a charming fast-talker with a few basic skills I learned by watching other people.

    Every time I make a mistake, I privately fall apart and imagine the worst.
    This happened today… I realized I’d missed something after giving an initial report, and when I realized my mistake, I told my boss. She was very understanding, and glad I caught it. Did I feel better? No. I told my husband “I’m going to lose all credibility”, and burst into tears.

    It’s exhausting living this way; and it doesn’t only affect me. My poor friends and family probably think I’m fishing for compliments, but these fears are genuine. No amount of rationalizing from them helps.

  232. > 9. Remember: being wrong doesn’t make you a fake. The best basketball players miss most of the shots they take. The best traders lose money on most trades. Presidents are wrong about stuff all the time. The best football teams inevitably lose.

    That’s a massively powerful line mate.

    I’m suffering HUGELY from Imposter Syndrome after moving for a new job that is really well paid but the stress is unreal.

    I’m constantly fearing failure as my ticket out and the end of my career. But to read that paragraph, settled something in my mind and deknotted that ball of worry in my stomach.

    I’m going to print it out and put it on my desk.

    Thanks man.


  233. My background is in fitness and wellness. We touched on activities and recreation while in school, and alas, I’m now an activities director at a fancy high-rise retirement community. While I have experience in the retirement field, I’ve never had experience making full calendars, taking 125 opinions/trying to please 125 people at once, etc. Most days I enjoy what I do. It lets me be creative and at the same time is fairly structured. When I was hired last year, my corporate boss was very excited about me and thought I was going to bring a great new energy to the community. Fast forward a year and, after a few accidental missed email replies to her, I think she doesn’t like me (I’ve never even met the woman). My first big annual review is coming up in two weeks and I haven’t done about 20% of what I was supposed to. My coworker didn’t either, and she started about a month before me. We both sometimes feel underqualified and too stressed out to keep up this charade. Most of the residents really like me and tell me often how well I’m doing and what an asset I’ve become. But about three residents hate me, mainly because I’ve had a few time slip ups/changes on their calendars lately. It’s a silly thing to get upset about, on both of our ends. But they are very rich, very entitled, very accomplished white folks who think that having the wrong napkin color is the end of the world (I wish I was kidding). I am terrified that one day it’s going to be too much and my boss will be forced to fire me because I had two conflicting events…again. I feel like I’m not cut out for this job and I often feel like I’m not doing enough good in the world (hello, millennial expectations…). I’m grateful to have found this forum and I hope someone can relate to me. Even reading this, I feel inadequate though. Everyone works in finance or investments or has their own start-up. I put on events and activities for old people. I want to do more. I want to quit my job and be a part-time personal trainer and part-time professional photographer. But even if I do that I know that I will not feel accomplished enough, not fit enough, not have the best equipment, etc. Buh. I’ll try writing all of my thoughts out after this and see if that helps a little. Thank you for reading this if you made it all the way down here. Stay strong, y’all.

  234. Omg. This article helped me a lot. Thank you for this!!

    I just founded a startup company and we’re launching on Feb. 8. I’m wayyy behind my schedule and I’m launching and not finishing many tasks to be finished. I was supposed to have finished an e-course we’re launching soon, but because I don’t feel like an impostor, and I feel unworthy to teach this course, even though I know I’m naturally a teacher and I’m good at what I teach. But I feel like a fraud and I feel like people will judge me and make fun of me. My greatest fear? Failing and seeing my family not proud of me. Ghad I hate this haha.

    But your article worked and I was able to do tasks more than I did the past MONTH. Yes. I’ve been procrastinating for a month. Haha. Thank youuuu!!! You solved my problem, and apparently a lot of people’s problems. Very much appreciated. Keep doing what you do! We don’t need the impostor syndrome.

  235. I feel that people are stupid and in an act of stupidity , nothing makes sence unless you force it too and in a world perfect for a conscious being to exist things should make more sense people should be more helping and looking what’s going on , there actions and there work is mostly nothing but like a chemical reaction

    I suddenly feel that writing all this can be the part of imposter syndrome or is it not ???
    I really don’t have anyone to talk to about this so guys please reply
    I think that I have a poor voice and I cant sing
    I think that in a 5 star place people are going to look me as pitty
    I think thaty friends are better then me , cooler then me and can handle this world better then me ..
    I think there is a part of me hidden and a little bit of it is surfaced right now
    I think too much about life and it’s flows
    I think too much if my handwriting and spellings are right
    I think and type so I can know it’s not boring
    I really don’t understand the problem with me

    • I haven’t been drawing or creating lately because i feel that I’m not talented….at all…or not even good. Even when people would compliment my work , i’d assume it was some form of pity. i feel like when i show my work it should be perfect, and it should be that way on the very 1st attempt. i feel that way because i tell people I’m a graphic designer and using that job title instead of just saying ,”I’m learning to do this”, expectations are way higher. I just feel like a fraud , like I’m tricking people to thinking I’m going to give great quality work,but i have no idea when I’m doing.

  236. I wasn’t happy at my last job, I felt like I wouldn’t be able to achieve something better in there so I decided to have a career change. This actually took me months to decide, until I finally went for it. I left my job to start a course that would prepare me for a high-technical one.
    After the end of the course, my plan was to look for a job and be (and feel) useful again.
    But I can’t.
    I feel that I can’t do it. I want to work, I want to have a job and stop wasting my savings… I love to work, I love to spend money I’ve earned with my loved ones, I love feeling useful, I love the sensation, at the end of the day, that I’ve been taking the most of it.
    But despite all that, I still feel I cannot do it. I feel that I am not prepared for that, I need more time or I will do it wrong. I feel that I am a fraud even if I got here.
    This is not the first time I feel this way, I cannot even recall how many times I have rejected something because of this feeling…
    But I thought this time would be different. I thought ‘If I commit 100%, I will achieve it’.

    It’s amazing how much it can affect you mentally and psychologically, that’s why lately I’ve started to think that maybe I should get a job as the previous one (no difficulty, no ambitions), and forget about growing professionally.

    But I want to go for it, even feeling as a fraud, I want to try it. Sometimes I gain confidence enough to feel like I can do it, maybe not now, but in a month… But then later, I can’t. Again.

    I hope didn’t sound childish or superficial or fake, I do not know how to describe all this. Sometimes it is easier to carry, but sometimes it completely collapses me and makes me hate myself and be a person I don’t like.

    • I’m in the exact same boat. I went through a small career change a couple years ago, in the same field but slightly different discipline. I’ve even been working in my new role for over a year and I still feel like I’m not good enough for this career path. Not feeling good enough has accompanied me from my first job though. Thinking back, I’ve consistently taken jobs because I felt lucky that I was offered one and wouldn’t be good enough to pursue something else. I’m feeling so frustrated with myself that I found this page, haha.

  237. I enjoyed and could relate to your thoughts. I am on a long journey of self improvement/awareness. As a part time independent beauty consultant I have many times felt “less than” but proven when in action those feeling fade.
    Also I am currently working as a contractor in high tech and am applying for full time positions, again feeling like an impostor because I don’t have a college degree even though I am smart and have the chops.

  238. I feel paralysed by this self created syndrome. At work I believe everyone else is better than me, better placed to answer questions. I have just completed my accountancy exams but am now terrified of getting a better job because everyone will find out how utterly stupid I am. Sometimes the feeling is crippling and makes me want to end my life, just to stop these thoughts.

  239. For years I’ve been trying to figure out, why I’ve felt so on edge and and dislocated from the friends I grew up with. I would always move from one friend group to another. I was always the quiet one who never spoke her opinions, in fear of others discovering who I really am as a person. I think this branched out from my need to constantly be perfect and on top of my game, when in reality, I was barely passing by successfully without having mental breakdowns or little anxiety attacks. It’s nice to finally know what I have and how to work on it during he next chapter of my life. I’m 18 and graduating high school this year, and I would like to start college with a fresh start, as the girl I always was but couldn’t accept inside.

  240. Whenever I got praised by my lecturers, I smile and beam and say thank you; but at night I’m deathly afraid that one day they’ll know that I’m just bullshitting everything. I’m not bright or outgoing at all, I’m a house-goblin who does not like socializing. I constantly feel like I’ve done a bullshit so right that many people are convinced that I’m great, even though I honestly have no idea what I’m doing…

  241. I’m terrified of writing code because I’ll sit there staring at the screen telling myself I don’t know anything and haven’t learnt anything. Even asking for help, which is best practise makes me feel as though I’m cheating.

    • I am a surgeon and my greatest and crippling fear is hurting a person bec i did not read or train hard enough, i feel like Leonardo’s character in “catch me if you can” knows more… this makes me panic and want to withdraw from ppl and the external environment bec to them none of these insecurities are on display!

  242. It’s affected my creative side. I can’t draw unless my drawing is going to come out amazing. I keep rewriting a story I’m working on because it’s not as good as the best seller novels. My work is never good enough. Someone is always going to be better than me. I can’t take any compliments. I’ll dismiss them, thinking that they’re just saying that to be nice. They don’t actually think that about me.

    It’s really bad when it comes to things like school and work. I’ve never considered myself smart or good enough. In high school, all my friends were getting straight A’s in advanced classes and I could only manage C’s in regular classes. Anytime I got an A I would just say “Oh, it was just a super easy class. I’m not smart, I swear.” I remember in my first year of college I took a handful of art classes and science classes, and was even in a sophomore level english. I got straight A’s that year, but I dismissed it all as just a fluke. I had easy art classes, I had easy teachers, I had very little homework to do. I refused to tell my parents about my grades. I was embarrassed. I was not, by any means, a straight A student, and I didn’t want them thinking that I was, only to have me disappoint them when I took some “real” classes.
    It’s hard for me to ask for help too. Smart people don’t need help. They figure it out on their own. Plus, why bother them with my stupid questions? They have better things to do than to coddle me.

    I work as an instrument repair technician. I’ve only been doing it for a year now, but I feel like I have to know everything, and be able to answer every question my customers ask me. I’m often told that I’m the tech, I’m the expert, but I feel far from that. There’s so much that I don’t know about repair and different brands and quality of instruments and things like that. I’m hardly better than the average person when it comes to fixing things. I just know a few tricks and have a bit more practice at it.
    To make matters worse, in repair school, we’re told that our personality and reputation will have a huge impact on how successful we are. I’m a very shy and quiet person, and it’s hard for me to strike up a conversation with people when all I hear in my head is “I’m too shy. I’m not outgoing. Nobody likes a shy person. I don’t have anything interesting to say. I’m not a good person to talk to. I’m not really qualified to give my opinion.”

  243. I tell myself not to draw or create because its not going to be as good as other artists so there’s no point and it wont be perfect anyway. I see being creative as a waste of time because while others will do it or teach I will never be good enough to make money or support myself and im fouling myself to think other wise. Its a waste of time that could be spent accomplishing something worth while. Im not an artist and never will be no matter how many times ive tried or how happy it makes me.

    • I’m at the exact same point right now myself.
      I’ve decided to create a small 2D game for mobilephones.
      The coding of the actual application isn’t a problem for me, I feel very confident there.

      But when I was about to start making a background for one of the scenes it took me four days to even open up the software for it. I did get some work done and looked at it the next day and felt that a 3 yo. could have done it way better than me.

      I dabbled a little more and was feeling OK with parts of it, but still it all sucks and will never be good enough to put in a game.

      So I took a pause, starting writing down why I feel so stressed and ended up here 😉

      It feels a little better and I might even convice myself that I too can actually produce some good 8-bit pixelart – it’s not rocked science.

      Falling forward is a good thing, I think I am doing that right now. So you’re not the only one feeling like this.

  244. I sometimes feel when I make people laugh or do something funny that I’m actually a boring person and that everyone is gonna find out that I’m actually boring and not fun.

  245. I recently qualified as a life coach? Who am I to be able to coach others who are smarter, slimmer, more successful. Why would anyone pick me….. and yet I am a natural coach

    • Hi S!

      I am also a life coach, and I have facilitated a lot of self-improvement seminars, and every time I do either one, I feel like a fraud! Even when my coaching clients tell me I’ve helped them a lot, the praise doesn’t last. Besides I’m afraid they’ll discover that I really don’t have it all together like they think I do! They’ll discover that my own life is a fraud and that I have fears and insecurities that are worse than theirs!!!
      I want to start my own seminar company here in 2018, but I keep procrastinating because I feel like a phony! What do I know! And if I DID know something about a topic, no one needs it! They’ve already heard it from someone WAY SMARTER than me!!!
      One thing that is helping me is not only realizing that I have Imposter Syndrome, but also becoming more spiritual. Some of you may not believe this or want to hear it, but believing that God has a purpose for me and that I am worthy in His eyes and that it doesn’t matter what others think of me has started healing my feeling of unworthiness. I know that He values me. God knows the desire in my heart to help others is genuine and authentic, and He will honor my passion and desire to help others. He alone has the power to help me achieve my goals, overcome my low self esteem and lack of confidence, and trust the abilities he gave me!

      Just saying…Something to think about.

  246. For the last year and a half I’ve been putting off my stats class incomplete grade because it’s the only thing standing between me and my internship before graduation. How can I complete an internship with actual clients if I don’t know crap about HR? I barely remember the classes I took. Of course I have a high GPA because I’m good at homework, but that’s way different than calling myself a master of something. Who did I think I was going for a masters degree. I didn’t sign up for stats for a reason. I think I tell myself I have imposter syndrome, but really it’s an excuse because I don’t know anything.

    • Yes since you mentioned it, I can definitely see how this has affected my romantic relationships…

  247. Thank you for this article. I have only recently admitted to this feeling. My poor therapist has to talk me off the ledge weekly. I told him that I feel like an alien watching humans live life as they are supposed to, but I’m mimicking them poorly. I know that I’m smart and have something to offer most days, but the self-doubt, depression, paralyzing perfectionism, and fear of rejection creep in quite often.

    Like several others who have posted, I’ve always had high expectations for myself because I was told early how smart I was. Most things came easy to me when I was growing up. My undiagnosed ADHD kept me distracted and unable to focus a lot. As things became more complicated, I wasn’t equipped to handle them, and I thought the facade had been shattered. I learned to manage it and took medication to get the distractions under control, so I was able to keep fooling everyone.

    In most jobs, I have been able to overcome imposter syndrome to get the job done, but I know it has held me back in advancing up the corporate ladder. Now that I’ve started my own business, I have let this syndrome shut me down, mentally. It all overwhelms me, and I can’t move forward – thus, the therapist.

    There is some relief in acknowledging this feeling to others and knowing that it’s an actual thing that others experience. I am thankful for my God, my therapist, my tribe of friends and network of other business professionals who have helped me know that I’m not an alien. If only I can remember that each day.

  248. I have been given an opportunity to be a junior researcher in an area that I’m very interested in but I am afraid to start. Most of the people I work with have PhDs and I’m still finishing my masters.
    This list has helped me realize that there is a reason I have been given this opportunity and having a “broader perspective” than the PhDs could be an asset.
    Also, if I don’t accomplish as much as I hope, I will still have great experience and have learned a lot in the process.

  249. I know I’m brilliant and I’m a good person but I constantly hold myself back from letting my light shine. For instance, I have an archive of finished and unfinished poems, songs, books, and videos… After I create something (video, music, painting, poetry, business idea) I and others tell me wow this is really good but then I don’t share it or try to pursue it, so it just becomes another dreams deferred. I don’t want to hold myself back anymore. Reading this article puts a name to the disordered mentality even though I still have doubts but want to see myself really make an impact in this world. I don’t want to die wishing I could have yet I don’t know how to just do it as some say! Perhaps I am making it all way too complicated… I guess I want to believe in myself but don’t really know how to…

  250. I’ve won awards and been highly praised for my work ever since I started out doing it in high school. I avoided applying for internships throughout college because I felt like I wasn’t skilled/qualified enough and like I wasn’t ready to do real-world work in my field. I convinced myself that I had to get better and more prepared before applying. I didn’t understand that internships are HOW you get better and professionals WANT to help students succeed. I finally lucked into an internship last semester through a connection I had. I’ve been embarrassed of myself there ever since the day I interviewed because I felt like I rambled too much and sounded pretentious and dumb. I was a few minutes late to my first day because I had a panic attack that morning and got lost on my way there because I couldn’t think straight. I think about it every day. I constantly feel like I’m blowing this amazing opportunity, even though my colleagues (and even my far superiors occasionally) tell me that I’m smart, that they like me, that I’m doing a great job, etc. One of my professors recently told me that he and others he’s spoken with consider me an “impressive individual”, and I seriously can’t bring myself to believe he was telling the truth. I got offered to stay another semester at my internship, and I feel like I’m just barely skating by. Now I’m a senior, four months away from my degree, and I’ve been especially nervous at work recently because I feel like I’m always being critiqued and compared to the other intern, who has been there a year longer than me, and is incredibly lovable, talented and almost guaranteed a job offer there after graduation (and we are graduating at the same time). Even though I’m an anxious wreck all the time, I’m absolutely in love with working for this organization, and I’m going to be so upset when I’m shooed away after I graduate. The worst part is that I know I’m smart and that I’m good at what I do, but I seriously just can’t convince myself that I’m not actually a complete idiot. I feel like everyone knows so much more than I do. I hate it.

  251. A big hi from an investment world here.
    I am in charge of a big real estate portfolio for a second year now- first year went very well, we had 100% success on the market. Now I am at the beginning of a year two and I just feel like I should resign and find a ‘lower’ position because a year one was just a big luck! Like I did not do anything, it was all just a help of my colleagues etc. I am really stressing out because I do not feel like I have done anything right and people are just keeping congratulate me to my success. All I want to do is to scream “are you all mad?”… glad to know there are more of us feeling the same way 😉

    • Hey Lucy, I just wanted to say: you’re not alone. I work in banking – I never planned to, I just sort of fell into it via marketing (which I never really wanted to do either). Every year I get excellent performance reviews. Last year I literally got 5/5 – my boss told me that in 7 years of working there, managing dozens of people, he had never had anyone achieve that before. I was was of only five people in the company of thousands to achieve a 5/5 last year.

      Think I feel better? Nope. I turn up to work every day, convinced I’m a fraud, that the senior managers all loathe or pity me, that I’m about to be rumbled. I exist in near paralysis for most of my days at work.

      I can’t shake it. What is it? Why is it there?

      A few weeks ago I got a promotion. Like you, people keep congratulating me, and it surprises me every time because I remember: oh, to most people this would be a GOOD thing, but to me it’s just one step closer to letting everyone down.

      I just wanted to say, anyway, that I really relate to your story, and wish you all the best.

  252. I’d never heard of this until I confided in a friend that I’m afraid of playing Trivial Pursuit when it’s not on teams because I’m terrified people will think if I answer incorrectly I’m not intelligent. I’ve always been an excellent student and gotten nearly perfect grades, but I feel someday people will find out it’s just luck and I’m an idiot. It’s part of what keeps me from furthering my education as well. I also am afraid people will find out I’m a horrible mother. So afraid that I feel the need for constant reassurance that I’m not, and even then I don’t believe it. I wish I’d know about this syndrome before. Thank you for writing about it.

  253. I’ve been promoted to a lead position for a game company. I’ve worked in the company for over 9 years and I’m constantly freaking out on what I don’t know and keep comparing myself to other people in my fold. No matter how many blogs I read trying to combat this feeling, I can’t stop this unsettling feeling in my stomach daily. It doesn’t help there is a long lead-in time before my project kicks in so I have the opportunity to see other leads lead their project. People I’ve trained or known for years now seem to flourish and present this presence of confidence I simply lack. I ended up leaving the company for year and came back with everyone in my previous position are now leads (in way less time than me). To be honest, this a promotion I should’ve attempted earlier and when I talk with most people they feel I’m “perfect for the role”. It’s a horrible cocktail of “regret for not taking the opportunity sooner” which leads me to feel inadequate in comparison to others in the same position and ends up negating the experience I know I have. Everyone I know and trained currently moved up to Producers, Project Managers and such and here I am freaking out over a basic lead position. Yes…..don’t compare myself with other people. I know, it’s just instantly where my brain goes when I have any thought. In my quest to be perfect, I end up associating people in similar position as the STANDARD and putting them on a pedastal (….I think that’s how you spell the word) and constantly measure progress based on them (abilities, time taken to comprehend, ability to foster a team, etc). I wish I could see what they’re seeing and trust that I can handle it. I guess I can say I’m 50/50 there, I’m at the stage where I’m aware that how I’m feeling is felt by most people and that what people have been saying about me isn’t completely wrong…..just getting past this sickening feeling in my gut every time I have to do anything specific to my role. Things I’ve already done before but now carry the added weight of “leading” and “creating” instead of “following” and “improving”. Okay, this comment is way longer than I wanted to type but it does feels good to get it out there. I feel like I could keep typing but I don’t wanna break this website. Thanks for hearing me out

  254. I have been experiencing Imposter Sybdrome because I want to teach personal finance classes to help those avoid the financial pitfalls I have experienced, but I am struggling to pay off my credit card debt and student loans too!

  255. I’m an amateur writer-director who’s working on his craft (and getting pretty good, though there’s still a way to go).
    My father has always told me that what you do or whether or not you succeed is important, just try your best (which my mind reads as “Get ready to blow it”).
    Most of my friends, though aware of my ambition, have little to say by way of praise or criticism, which I translate as “They don’t believe you can do it because you’re not a director”; then when I actually get some sound advice from someone I hear “Do they not know I’m not a director?”
    And finally, most of my family talk about me in relation to other professions I might be interested in, and people I meet never seem to instinctively think of me as a creative character or an authority figure (people often think I’m an actor, which, though it is something I did once, is also something I don’t want to be), which my mind reads as “All authority figures are recognisable as sich, so you must be one”.
    I am aware of the problem, and I savour the advice of the handful of friends who know where I want to go, and I try to rest assured that most people wouldn’t have thought a young Hitchcock, Kubrick or Spielberg would ever have the mettle to be authority figures… I just wish I was able to purely trust in myself…

  256. I started a new job a little more than a month ago and I feel like such a fake. Honestly, right now, I feel like I can’t do it. I simply feel like maybe I don’t actually have the right skills. I’m a bit overwhelmed by how much shit I still need to learn about the organization and the actual job before I can even get close to becoming good at it. The people I’m supposed to line manage will eventually realize how much I DON’T actually know, right? Plus, in this new position, I’m totally being pushed out of my comfort zone. I have never actually done this kind of work before but somehow I managed to convince the people that hired me that I had the right skills and personality to pull it off. What a phoney! To make matters worse, I moved to another city for this job and now I fly back almost every weekend to be with my husband. He is incredibly supportive and thinks this is a great opportunity for me to grow professionally. But is it really? Or am I just a selfish narcissistic bitch who will eventually disappoint him? So now I have a huge amount of responsibility at work and I’m expected to start delivering results asap and I’m not sure I’m up to the task. I keep on telling myself that I’ve overcome even tougher professional challenges in the past but I’m wondering if maybe, this time, I just bit off more than what I can chew. Now I’m even wondering if I really wanted this job. Why the fuck did I get myself into this?
    A few weeks ago, I met up with someone who used to be an intern at another organization I used to work for a few years ago and she told me that she looked up to me, that I was a role model for her, and she wanted career advice from me. Me? Really? I felt like such a fake!

    • this is exactly whats going on with me…I feel like an impostor 🙁 I also make a lot of sacrifices for my new job…I feel like I havent got that perfect skill yet

  257. I wish to believe I have done a great success up to now. I have just finished my bachelor with a first class honor. But I have NEVER feel like I actually got it. All my friends compliment me for doing a great job. But I never think I really am. And it always bugs me in trying something news.

    Since young, although my friends said I have talents but my family usually says that I am just not good enough. There are so many things I want to try. But when i finally decided to try something, they always bring up my weak spot saying I am not good enough, I am stupid (in a humorous way for them, but not for me) and that is very discouraging. I find myself harder and harder in trying new things even posting stuffs on facebook because I am afraid to hear those discouraging words. Although everyone says I can, I always doubt that I could.

    • I’ve had literally the SAME problem. Both my parents are researchers and my mom is truly one of the best in her field in the world (it’s very specific of course, in neuroscience). I always had to go the best schools in my country while my mom said “oh I didn’t even think they would call you back for the 2nd interview.” My chidhood was spent being under the siege of my father’s utter criticism for literally everything I do (from what music I lieten to, to HOW I DONT PUT MY SHOES IN PARALLEL.) LOL fucking ridiculous. Later I found out my dad was also struggling with impostor syndrome, he almost didn’t dare to post his bachelor thesis in experimental physics. This helped me to see how unimportant seeking the perfection is.
      I was a very stable kid and I always got the balance in my life in this constant battle, until i just got overwhelmed and “mentally collapsed” around 18. And now I’m in an engineering uni (the best in Hungary, of course) where I’m very close to being fired. I failed my math course so many times even though I found some new formulas proven by my teachers, and even though they say I am good at it. I also battle severe depression and agoraphobia because I’m a slightly older girl with 80% boys. But I’m in my last chance and it seems like I only succed if I beat myself through the fright of the possibility to fail.
      My advice for you: 1. Leave your parents, find the possibilty to move out or distance yourself. They won’t change their attitude. Ever. You will feel relieved a lot. 2. Don’t even talk about your ambitions. It’s enough if they just see the results. Remember, it’s not them who evaluate whether you’re good or not.
      You are enough the way you are. I wish you luck to find the way to settle down and be in your confident self.

  258. First, this is absolutely incredible, thank you. I’ve known that I’ve had this issue for a while, but I shoved it under the rug up until recently, as I’ve been feeling awful about myself. All this morning I had a terrible feeling in my chest and I’ve wanted to cry out of some kind of despair, but now I want to cry because I feel understood. It’s amazing.
    Second, I don’t know that I can come up with one concrete example of imposter syndrome in my life, but something generalized is that while I speak of my accomplishments, I tend to draw out my sentences and make them seem less than they are. I’ve always been told not to brag, and I think that’s where this comes from. Speaking about good things I accomplish isn’t bragging or boasting, it’s speaking about the good things I accomplish. I need to be more to the point where this is concerned, and I’ve been working on this lately, but I intend to work on it even more after reading your post. I am proud of myself, I do matter, and I am relevant. Everyone is relevant, and their relevancy does not diminish mine, something else I picked up from your article.
    Lastly, writing this down does help. Thank you for that as well.
    Best wishes to you, Kyle, and best wishes to everyone else!

  259. I feel like a fake coach. I have no clients and have made few efforts to get them. It’s too much trouble and anyway they might not want to pay as much as I want to charge, whatever that is. I tell people I’m a coach, but I feel very queasy inside because I know I’m not really a coach if I have no one to coach. I’m afraid to go out and find speaking gigs, because they will be sure to find out I’m a total fraud and a loser. There! Big imposter! I said it out loud!

  260. I am 23 years old. I used to be very much full of life but recently I have been different. I used to be the life of a party and someone who would solve problems, any sort of problems, on the go and forgive easily and move on. I have failed for 3 years in my bachelor’s degree of engineering. I am interested in branding and I took up a job as a graphic designer for 2 years. My degree isn’t over yet though but I have no other option but to finish it because I need a bachelor’s degree. All my other friends have moved to US for further studies while I am still not sure about the path. I am lagging behind in life.

    On top of everything, I’ve recently fallen for a girl. She is a very beautiful soul and I just found out that she suffers from clinical depression which is in control now. We are not dating yet though. I told her about the problems I am facing at home and with the directionless-ness of my life and I felt good. I want to be the person who she turns to for help and not the other way around.

    It’s not that I didn’t have problems earlier. I had them but I dealt with them very smoothly without overthinking. I used to have infectious energy within and around me. I used to set things straight and happy for people. Now, I am the one who needs support and this feels very helpless. Everyone thinks I am super smart and I will make it big in life. Even more so because I am an underdog now and the underdog always wins. I have lost faith in things and I don’t know what to do.

    On the lighter side of things, I feel my life is an ideal case study for someone who wants to observe problems in all the areas of life because right now ALL the areas of my life are pretty much on fire and I am just a fool not taking action.

  261. I feel like a fake. I just started a new job in a field trip that I know nothing about and I feel less deserving of it. I feel like I will fail at the job and loose everything. I feel like things will eventually fall because I keep taking risks and I don’t feel smart. I feel like I but off more than I can chew and people look at me like I’m stupid for being in this position. I met the qualifications but I still feel like I shouldn’t have gotten the job versus someone with over 20+years of experience. I’m scared of work because I know some people want to see me fail because I’m young and African American in a position that would be suited for an older Caucasian individual. I’m scared I will fail.

  262. I have been avoiding applying for internships because i feel like i can’t do any of them despite fitting all of the requirements. I’m so terrified they’ll accept me and when I get there find out I’m not actually qualified (even though I am). Even when it comes to my hobbies, gaming, cosplay, writing, I feel like a fake. Am I really interested in all this stuff or am I just faking it to fit in. Sure I’ve poured thousands of hours into these interests, but I still feel like I’m not as “into” them as I should be. I know it’s ridiculous, but I can’t make my brain stop screaming liar at me.

  263. Thanks a lot! I keep going back to school because I’m scare of actually working in my field. I’m collecting diplomas so i can prove to the world that I know how to do something that I haven’t done yet. That’s life in academia.

  264. The interesting thing about imposter syndrome is the mindset needed to process the fact you might be failing….the irony is that the same mindset will be the one making you succeed. I work hard to see it as a double edged sword that I want to work with more than without. After two decades not knowing what this was, putting a name to the thought process alone makes a difference, reading people’s thoughts and experiences even more so. Thanks all.

  265. I’ve just landed a much bigger job leading a team of engineers. I’m lay here in bed , it’s 1.26am, and I’m in a cold sweat thinking about how in three months I’m going to leave the comfort of my secure small team faux leadership role and leading a group of guys who I feel will see through me. I’m smart but my field is vast, I know so many weaknesses I have but have gotten by somehow so far. Strangely the tempest in my gut settled as I read this. Perhaps I will read it a few more times…. I need to also plan my 3 month self improvement plan to work on my weaknesses… Gotta keep these demons under control somehow…

    • Dude, just accepting the fact that you don’t know everything has already set you up for success. You got this Kev! Just do me and yourself a favor and sit down with each of your team members every 3 months and ask them how they’re doing, feeling, etc. Ask them their goals, and what YOU can do for them. Also ask what they ARE doing, and then ask them if it aligns with what they WANT to be doing. You may find you’ve tasked the wrong people, and they can actually swap… Best of luck!

  266. I am a researcher/scientist in biological sciences. When we submit abstracts to a conference, we can go for a poster, a talk, organising a symposium. One critical thing I have avoided doing due to Impostor Syndrome was to even attempt anything better than a poster. The reason was not the fear of having the abstract rejected – it was having it accepted and then be faced with having to talk about my research (in my head, useless, unworthy, etc) to an audience and have them ‘out’ me, i.e, see that I am a fraude. 🙁

    • Words can’t express how much I relate to this. I recently published a paper as first author. And I don’t feel like I deserved it. I did all of the grunt work but my PI came up with all the ideas. I feel like he put me as first author out of pity. Its a low impact paper anyway. I’m terrified they’re going to me make present about it. And people will realize I don’t know what I’m doing.

  267. I have always been expected to achieve greatness. Not because I was pushed, but because I showed potential beyond others at a very early age. My mind works differently from others, and I can barely focus on one thing at a time. People around me started to call me “expert” in certain areas and rely on me to provide advice, opinions, and guidance. I have a lot of books on my shelf in special subjects, but I haven’t read a single one cover-to-cover. Every day I feel like I am losing ground on the life I should be leading. Thank you, Kyle, for giving me some ways to step back and overcome Impostor Syndrome!!!

    • I’m with you dude. And honestly, don’t worry about reading those things cover to cover. You should read “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher. You’re probably a Scanner. And the reality is you have gotten what you need from the book, hence you stopped reading it. This one you’ll want to finish because it appeals to the Scanner mindset, which tells me she knows her stuff.

  268. Thanks for such an in-depth post on this Kyle. We recently covered impostor syndrome but from the perspective of freelancers, who often feel like this.
    Would love you to check it out.

  269. I don’t know if I should thank you more or thank all the people who wrote comments here which were as important in changing my view as your article. It is so nice to see all these high credential people who share the same feeling like I (a simple bachelor degree) do. So it can’t be lack of credentials as you said… I wrote all your steps in my book, but I referred them to my own topic so I could really feel what you were talking about. This is going to be my “To read” when I feel like fraud. Man! I thought I was the only one in this word! Now I actually have a name for this stupid feeling!! This is awesome! I’ll finish my book this year. Thank you for writing this Kyle!

  270. Im only good at taking tests, not writing papers, but a masters in organizational leadership is all about the latter, and I’m about to fail out because I can’t continuously write papers. My family and fiancée all believe I’m smarter than I am, and I don’t want to let them down.

  271. I’m 26 years old and recently finished my PhD in computational neuroscience. People call me smart but I feel like I’m faking my smartness. There is so much that I don’t know about, and be smart at the same time. I’m going to start a new post doc position soon with an amazing professor. Everyday I feel like I lied to her about me somehow and I don’t deserve this job.

  272. this isn’t even the hugest thing, but I still feel like an imposter for it… well, I’m 16 and just recieved notice of my PSAT score: 1500. I got near perfect and I feel for some reason undeserving of the score. Like I have a restless anxiety that College Board will be like “aha just kidding!” And swap my score report for one that gives me a 1460. At school, I’m not usually associated with being smart. A lot of people think very little of me and have low expectations for me. Apparently I got a higher score than a handful of very very bright people – people whom you would actually expect to have gotten a 1500, but didn’t. It’s just surreal to me… I feel like I don’t deserve my score. I’m in constant denial.

  273. Wow, I’ve just read comments all the way back to Nov. 11 and many of them seem to be from younger-ish adults who feel they are imposters due to their age and seeming lack of experience. O-Ho! Guess what? I’m 55, have been in my career for darn near 20 years and have always received good or excellent job performance reviews. Yet, I feel like an imposter as I start my own gig in the same career framework. Why? Because things are always changing, and while I LOVE to learn new techniques, technologies, methodologies, you name it, I feel like the younger generation will ALWAYS be the better choice over me. I have to realize that No One – at any age – with any life – can stay on top of everything and be more knowledgable than me in all situations. So, thank you Kyle, for reminding me that I am not perfect, will never be perfect – and that is also true for everyone else!

  274. I say I am “just good at taking tests” and that I don’t know anything when I am in medical school and pass a test. I’m afraid they are going to find out that I’m not a good student and that I shouldn’t be a doctor.

  275. I often feel like I’m still this little girl that needs to seek others’ approval to go ahead with my ideas, even though I’m in my forties.

  276. I’ve played at international level of my sport and I’m a PhD student. I’ve dropped out of my club and stopped going to work because I don’t think I deserve to be there. At this point I can’t tell if it’s impostor syndrome or if it’s simply true.

  277. I’ve just started a small online business selling my handmade custom herbal tea blends and I wake up feeling like a fraud so often. It’s what led me to google “I feel like a fraud” at 5:45 am the minute I woke up and ultimately what led me to this article. Having anxiety has always made me put off starting my own business because I don’t feel equipped to handle it. I don’t feel like an entrepreneur. But I’m forging ahead anyway, and so far the business has been successful.
    Appreciate the article and its advice. Cheers to ignoring the crappy voices in my head!

  278. i feel i’m a crap scientist, and i dont know my field. i want to quite science because feeling like an impostor.
    not going to social events, not talking to girls because feeling worthless.
    not writing on topics i’m not formally qualified to do so, though i know a lot abt them.
    the list is infinite…

  279. Kyle, thanks so much for this article. I have just started a new job (dream job in something I’m so passionate about). But with this I am definitely feeling the grips of imposter syndrome. Where I feel that I’m going to be caught out or not now ENOUGH or EVERYTHING. I seem to be continually seeking approval so that I don’t feel like a fraud. I must say that just writing this makes me feel better. Your advice of not taking everything so seriously and having as much right as anyone else to be here is spot on. I know that I have to just keep moving until a pass this phase and start to feel a bit more comfortable. Until then I will use your technique, including writing on a daily basis.


  280. I have learned about this syndrome today, the very first time in my life!! Your article literally changed the way I look at myself today…. Thank you so so so much!

  281. Today is the first time I have heard the term “Imposter Syndrome” yes I have it. I recently bought a little condo and I feel I don’t deserve to own a place….I walked away from a condo I was buying 8 years ago.
    I am also an abstract artist and have sold my art in the past…I say to myself…it’s abstract art, it’s not really art.
    I havnt painted for years. I want to paint again and sell my art again.
    Thanks for the blog and the comments.

  282. I knew I had imposter syndrome so I read your article and helped me with tools to overcome it. Thank you.

  283. I am objectively successful, but feel like I do not deserve it. I look at the skills of others and think “I am a great BS’er, and that is it.”

    I honestly think about this every single day and constantly worry that those around me are about to call me out on it and my whole life will come crashing down around me.

    This is the second greatest fear in my life.

  284. Thank you. I googled Imposter syndrome because since starting my mental health counseling business I feel like a fraud. Thing is – I love counseling, and I’m licensed to do it. It’s just the small business part that scares the snot out of me. I started to doubt myself, not because I’m underprepared to counsel, but because running a business is something I was never taught – I’m literally learning as I go. Thank you so much for your vulnerability and encouragement.

  285. My imposter syndrome is so bad I actually sabotage myself to prove it. I got my personal training certification and I work at a health food store but I am now 60lbs over weight. I have no money because “I can’t find something I’m good at and because I don’t have a university degree I don’t deserve it.”

    I’m a heterosexual trans man and with women I feel like a fraud yet publicly no one notices the difference.

    Thank-you for your article and your insight. Stumbling onto this will change my life. It already has.

  286. I have been telling people around me that I’m a business coach, I even have a certificate. But how can I be a business coach when I don’t even have a successful business yet?! I’m a total fraud so instead of talking to prospects – because I couldn’t help them anyway – I just keep being small and struggling to make ends meet. Smart right! I’ll even give you my website so you can check out just how big of a fraud I am!

  287. I am studying to become a life coach everytime I am going to begin a session in my practice I think I am going to stink at it, that they are going to know I am a rookie and that I am full of it. After reading this I understand why, I imagine myself being praise almost like a savior, and becoming the next life coach guru in the world and I am just going through the certification process, like what the hell do I do this to myself why do I put so much pressure on me, maybe I will be great at it later on, but expecting the things I daydream about when I am just getting started is just not only an impostor syndrome but a self sabotaging

  288. my biggest dream right now is to go to a specific art school.
    i have my doubts about my art skills and that i’m not talented enough so i won’t even draw.
    i wan’t to draw more yet i’m not.
    talk to new people, getting praises from other and not knowing what to say – those are also examples.

  289. I am a Junior clerk in a retail industry now, about 5 years ago I was in a senior management position and I was fired for misconduct, I was young and ashamed and decided to close that chapter of my life. I then started afresh from the ground up, from being a shelf packer to jnr clerk, Recently Senior Management had appointed me for one of the department management position that has just opened up but I have this great fear and I am actually dragging my feet with regards to giving them an answer, and I don’t know what they see in me that made them appoint me, but everyone around me Say’s I’d be perfect for the position but I have self-doubt, my previous failures are getting the best of me, but I’m not getting any younger, but the fear is also so great! And I have no doubt that if I could get over those fears I would rise, excel & exceed their expectations.

  290. I’ve been working in IT for almost a decade. I’m completely self/on-the-job taught. My bachelor’s degree is in biology, so, completely unrelated to my career. I get paid very well for my position, but I’m always afraid they’re going to figure out I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m afraid to look for new jobs at higher levels because they might figure me out.

  291. I have been postponing in creating a series of design album to promote my interior consultation business because I am terribly afraid that I am just that. Not as good as what my lecturers used to say or not as good as I always believed. Though I have a job now(continuing family business that have almost no relation to my interior degree), I feel like it’s a job that I get because I am my dad’s daughter. That if I were to promote myself or trying to get a job on my own, many offices are going to turn me down.

    Honestly I keep thinking that I’m just someone with a big mouth waiting for other people to say it in my face that I’m just too arrogant and what I aimed to do will fail miserably

  292. I’d like to write novels. And I’d like to teach the books I’d like. I guess I feel that I’m not qualified to talk about certain books; that I’m not smart enough, haven’t read the right theoretical models, or I simply am not a good enough writer/teacher. I constantly think I’m not doing the right thing.

  293. I was just selected for a huge job in the federal govt. a rare opportunity and a high rank/grade and all I have to do is retire from the military and take it. I feel everything about it is luck, because I already work at this place as military, I know those who interviewed me even though there were 25 candidates and 6 people interviewed I feel like I’m always just lucky. I can never accept I’m good because I feel like I only ever give 75% but everyone see this superstar at work…how can it be anything else? No college degree not even an associates but now a chance at a job based on experience that people would dream to get an opportunity at.

  294. I move from job to job all the time and only ever stay in a job for a few months for fear of being found out as a fraud. I have changed career twice. Although I have many qualifications and accolades I never stop feeling like a fraud. I am in a constant state of fear that if I express myself it will expose me as a fraud. It is worse now than ever.
    I would love to start my own business but am too scared to try because of this.

  295. I feel like I’m too dumb and not funny or witty enough to keep up with conversations when I perceive the person is cooler or smarter than me. I downplay any success I’ve had because I don’t want to come off as arrogant and unlikeable. I also feel like people perceive me as “fake” because I try too hard to be friendly and I want people to like me. This comes off as cheesy because after the small talk, I’m not intellectual enough to have a genuine conversation so I just keep smiling like an idiot (even though I genuinely want to connect). Then perhaps people think I don’t care. (and sometimes I actually don’t care….does this make me a bad person?)

  296. Despite graduating with a master’s degree in social work with a 4.0 GPA and actually SEEING that I make a positive impact on my client’s lives (I work as therapist with kids in foster care) I am afraid one day everybody will find out that I am a fraud (supervisors and clients). I feel anxious and depressed. I started therapy last week and my therapist suggested to do research on the impostor’s syndrome. Yep, it makes sense.

  297. I hide being a co-founder of a company cause i feel like im too young, not an authority, and compare myself to others.

  298. I am a therapist and always afraid that my clients will find out that I have to little knowledge about things. Therefore I avoid going out broadly and make it big business 🤔

  299. I feel like a fraud because I want to be a writer, filmmaker, photographer, musician, singer and actress. I have studied all of these things and have a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in theatre, and I do have a business now where I film commericals and events. I do product photography and I work as a project manager for a company in my field. I freelance write for other publications as well as my own blog.

    I feel like a fraud because I feel this is too many things to aspire to… like who do I think I am? When I was a kid, my father used to tell me all the time that there was no way I could be “all these things”…that I needed to pick one thing and just get really good at it and that’s it…and I truly believe that has stuck with me and part of the reason why I feel like a fraud 99% of the time..I hold myself back because I feel like there is no way I can do all of these things. When I go to events with other creatives, I see their work as so much better than mine, even though people constantly respond well to my work. I feel like people are going to find out I’m untalented, that I have no business being in this industry…. and that I think too highly of myself because i’m attempting all these things instead of “just picking one”. Most people are happy just to be a good singer..or a good musician…and here I am trying to do both plus like 5 other things. Sucks…

  300. Sometimes I feel that I’m just pretending to be a good person. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I am who I want to be. If I want to be a good person then I am a good person even if I don’t always make the right choices.

  301. I didn’t finish my PhD because I was sure they would find out I couldn’t do it.
    I don’t go to parties where there are too many people I don’t know because they’ll realize I have nothing interesting to say.
    I don’t look at attractive men because I’m afraid they’ll notice that I’m not attractive when you look closely and not interesting.
    I don’t like going to courses for teachers because I’m sure they’ll find out I’m a fraud and shouldn’t be a teacher.
    I’m even afraid doctors will tell me I’m not really feeling the pain I’m feeling, I’m just complaining for nothing.

  302. People tell me I am intelligent, but i believe they just don’t know who I really am. That results in me feeling bad about feeling good and inhibiting myself by the things I love (Do I actually like them? – My confidence is actually going up at the moment because I have started pinning good experiences I made on paper to internalise them {harhar, it’s myyyy story} ) and the people I care for. It’s actually a really weird kind of arrogance. Sometimes I feel like I can’t believe that I am only that and afterwards I am stunned by something I did and can’t believe it either.

  303. I’m interviewing for a new managerial position and I feel like I’m faking my way through the interview, I’m normally shy and abit reserved but when it comes to my work I put that all aside to really excel at my role, however moving to management is really scary seeing that I’ve never really managed people before I feel like they’ll find that out and probably not give me the job. I know I trully excel but I’ve got so much doubt about my self … this article is really helping me see how I can deal with this

  304. I’ve been in a new management role for 9 months & I feel like a fake. I think it’s holding me back from really excelling in this position & doing my absolute best. I still do a good job, but I’m holding back because I’m afraid everyone will find out I’m a fake.

  305. Took on a new management position. Not feeling like I’m qualified to lead my team. Have been procrastinating on a large accounting project for months.

  306. I’m hesitant to watch TED talks (you know, the short talks about complex subjects that are simplified specifically so that regular people can understand them), because I’m afraid that I won’t understand them. My friends have repeatedly recommended them to me, but I’m afraid that I’ll listen to one, not be able to grasp what they’re talking about, and my entire charade of getting good grades in school, getting a decent job, and generally doing well at it will be shattered, and I’ll have to face that I’m actually just an idiot who’s managed to fool everyone into thinking I’m intelligent.

    The other day my mom told me that she’s never tried to play checkers because her older sister told her she would be too dumb to understand how to play. Strangely enough, my mom is smart enough to understand how to play chess, and plays quite well. I guess it runs in my family.

  307. I finished my master’s program 2 years ago as well as getting my teaching credentials. I’ve been so frozen by fear from imposter syndrome that I haven’t even applied for a teaching position. I don’t know how to move forward.

  308. I started my teaching qualification and got through the university and placement parts of it and am now in my first year of teaching my own class.

    As time has gone by I’ve been feeling more negative about my capabilities and have lost belief in myself. I have convinced myself I got through the my placements due to luck and although people keep telling me I am meant to be a teacher and I need to keep going, I’ve become really depressed and anxious and each day is a struggle and I feel I’ll stop myself from completing the year

  309. I am in a high position at work and appear to have the respect of everyone on my team, but it feels like everyone is humouring me with my “bad ideas”.

    It’s hard to get past. I am waiting for someone to say “be quiet, the grown-ups are talking”.

    Because of this, I find myself rambling a lot to try and get as much out as possible to cover as many angles as possible hoping one of them will be right.

  310. I am in my second year PhD. I think I have imposter syndrome from the past 12 months. I am afraid tgat people will find out that I can’t do this, I can’t do that. I feel like I don’t deserve to receive that scholarship. But sometimes I feel like I deserve to study at higher rank university. Well i don’t know what I am thinking. After all I am very confusr and I don’t know how to approach the situation I am in properly.

  311. I have been working at one of the most innovative and creative studio in the world and had great success during this time. My boss and all collegueas were enthusiastic and I was also very happy at the beginning… But after a while I got so obsessed and overwhelmed by my sense of duty and responsibility that I overdid, I was always the last one to go home even if it was an internship, and I got sick (depression, tiredness and lack of sleep for months). After that I should have started a Master in London with experts of another sector of mine and I was so weak and so full of doubts about my capacities and my credibility that I was not able to start it…

  312. Applying for a job, trying in exams for my degree sometimes, going out at times on weekends. Loads of things I stay away from.

  313. Even though my boss tells me I’m doing awesome and my teammates are full of compliments, I’m constantly struggling with my fear of getting fired. That I’ll take a risk at work or will finally be ‘exposed’ as not knowing as much as people think I do (‘fraud’ is a great word). I’m super responsible and none of the actual facts back it up, but I always have a dark cloud over my head afraid I’ll lose my job because I don’t deserve it and then lose my house. I’m working through it but it’s hard. Nice to read this article and hear others stories too.

  314. I found that NOT giving 100% works ok. Trying not to think to much and make some choices. Hopefully will find another way one day.

  315. I don’t want to take a job, as I feel the interview was awful. I’m worried that if they take the job, they’ll be talking behind my back about how bad I was, and that I’m not qualified or deserve the job. My dad told me that I need to stop thinking it’s all about me, that I beat other candidates to that job, and that I need to take responsibility for my own sucesses. If they are offering me the job, they believe in me, so I should start believing in me as well.

    Reading this has really helped me see that it’s not just me who feels like this. I’m not the only one. 😊 So I’m gonna work on it.
    And I’m taking the job, cos I’ve earnt it and I’m experienced.

  316. I’m trying to think of a way out of a massive overseas work event where I need to provide digital Comms support. It’s been given to me to develop, I’ve asked for it, and already I feel a failure. I definitely realise I see my role as more important than it actually is.

  317. I’ve avoided talking to the lawyers at my firm who work in areas I’m interested in because I’m scared they’ll realise I don’t belong here and talk among themselves about it. I forego exploring my own interests because I’m terrified I’m useless at them – it’s easier to think I like something and not do it than to do something and not like it.

  318. I was taking a quiz trying to find my niche when I stumbled across this term…”Imposter Syndrome”. Then I found your site, Now why did I click on your site instead of the hundreds of other pages? Because you’re good at this. I feel like I’m ‘stuck’ just starting out as an entrepreneur… I don’t want to be a fraud! I soon found out, I too, suffer from this syndrome. I have put off drawing pictures all together because I’m amazing at copying what I see but have no imagination. To me, that’s not art, that’s fraud. I need to get over it, you’re very right and I’m now intrigued in your blogs. Thank you for helping me!

  319. This has been a theme throughout my life and I’ve never had a name for it.. I got top in my year for 5th form graphics (tech drawing) but didn’t continue as I didn’t think i really knew what I was doing.

    I studied music composition at uni but never got a piece of music performed publicly as I didn’t want everyone to hear it and realise I was terrible. Nor did I do conducting past year 2 as after that you had to conduct the uni choir and I was worried that then they’d all see me pretending to know how to conduct.

    Now it has appeared again in my work. I’ve been promoted and my boss is the person who has pointed this out to me. Reading everyone else’s experiences and the coping mechanisms above is so helpful. Glad I’m not alone in this struggle.

  320. Mannnn….its been a long time coming. I was always regarded as this incredible basketball talent by my peers, family, and friends. But for some reason when i got on the basketball court i was terrified of being exposed as a fraud. Im 6’6 with the ability to be very versatile and also a 36 inch vertical leap. Loved basketball forever but convinced myself that maybe it wasn’t for me. Maybe im just not a team player i thought. Since high school I’ve had numerous crappy jobs just barely getting by. Im 25 years old now snd most family and friends have shunned me and believe im done for. They’ve criticized and turned their backs on me and it hurts. I never knew what i was experiencing and I’m still a bit hesitant to take the step to try an make it to the NBA. Filled with emotion. Hopefully i come out pn the other side victorious. Thanks for sharing your story.

  321. Wow! honestly wtf. This was the most amazing blog read and extremely eye opening for me. I glazed over some of the comments and now i’m here feeling so comforted. I am a singer/songwriter who moved to LA at 24. I am now 31 and For the last 7 years of my life, I’ve had such a lack of understanding for how hard i am on myself and how i cannot for the life of me internalize what i have accomplished. I’ve written on grammy nominated songs with major artists, i’ve put 3 projects independently that have received quite a lot of praise, now after all these years of building i’ve finally been scooped up and invested into by one of the most prestigious A&R’s in the music industry to now getting ready to release my next and most proud works yet. (These accomplishments took me approx. 37 minutes to decide if i was going to post on here, afraid of some sort of lashback smh) even as i continue on.. i’m urged to say non of the accomplishments i’ve expressed really matter, and truth be told something doesn’t feel right about even mentioning them. This is an issue. Even in anonymously speaking, it’s uncomfortable to face or speak on accomplishments, accolades, credit of my works etc. I’m on the verge of tears thinking about it. My man who i work with always tells others we work with “She is sooo modest and nice.. too nice for her own good.” What’s interesting is my man is usually the one who constantly speaks of my accomplishments for me and isn’t afraid of what anybody has to say about it. I admire him so much for being so brave in this world, not just for me but about everything! For so long i connected these feelings to social anxiety and low self esteem issues that have followed me from my early teenage years. Maybe those are valid culprits, however i’ve now realized there is more to this. there is particular mystery that surrounds me as an artist, to my viewers and followers.. but it’s not for show. It’s there because i’m honestly afraid of self-expression, voicing my opinion, being wrong and being exposed, Deemed an expert on my craft and making mistakes when it comes to it.. and interviews.. omg, i hate them and i want nothing to do with them, though i will be forced to do them. I’m so nervous as to how i’m going to face the world, seriously face to face. i try not to, but sometimes tend to question why God chose me to be another artist to be looked at as a leader, even though that’s what i worked my whole life to be. And i know i’ve been made to be exactly that, that’s why it’s happening. It’s so strange and contradicting! I think i’m going to need therapy and soon.. Which to me isn’t a bad thing! I want to get over this. I need to get somehwhat over this so i can use the experience to properly express to others that might be facing the same mental blocks.
    Also I’m not sure if anyone else experiences this, but in new crowd situations where i’m speaking to people i have never met.. or the environment calls for me to be alert and interested. In these moments spent conversing, I’m truly not even present. I’m mostly in my head trying to think of what i should say next to keep the conversation going so i don’t appear awkward or lost. So it doesn’t get too quiet in between subjects, because that feels like exposure to me. I begin to speak to myself in my mind and coach myself through conversations in hopes that i’m not stunned with a question i have no idea how to answer. I then admire those who are quick witted and and communicatively intelligent and usually at that point.. i gracefully bow out of the event in entirety and leave. Convincing myself that i’m too cool to be there for that long anyway lol! Honestly, i feel like an alien walking the earth sometimes, so i really needed to read this blog this morning. Now i feel like i have identified my issue for the most part and finally i can begin to conquer it. Thank you Kyle, seriously.

  322. Wow! This is great! I did not know about impostor syndrome. I keep trying to find out why I feel so inadequate in the master’s program. I am a new grad student. I feel like I cheated and somehow I got accepted into the program. I keep comparing myself to others and very often I bite my tongue (not literally) when I have a comment/thought that I want to share in class, afraid people will laugh at me. I just started to realize this self doubt is affecting my clinical experience. I need to overcome this feelings. My family, friends and mentors are very proud of me and think highly of me, Why do I keep second guessing my abilities??? I cannot thank you enough for this!!!!

  323. Ive let other people gain the credit of the things ive done because I thought I didnt deserve it, still do even when someone tells me that somethings happening because of me I deny it and overappreciate them or else i feel im being rude. Anf sometimes i cant even appreciate someone cos think theyre gonna think shes just idk tryna be too nice and think im noy being honest. My friends think i care too much about others feelings. And even my family tells me that i overthink about what everyone else thinks or about anything in general. Idk. And sometimes i have this urge to tell oeople every single thing im feeling exactly how it is or else somethings gonna go wrong and i hink thats exactly what ive done herecos i think most of the stuff i wrote is irrelevant or incorrect. I keep asking poeple that what ive done ot said is acceptable or not and keep finding critism in everything i do or say. And i can NEVER justify myself and if i try to ill feel sorry for the other person and regret it forever. I didnt even know writing this comment could be such a huge challenge for me but its also kind of a relief. I had no idea i was holding in so much stuff. Nevertheless your post has opened up a new perpective for me cos I didnt even know such a disorder existed. I dont know if i have it, maybe im just overanaylyzing anr relating myself a bit too much idk but thank you so much really i think if i try following what u said it would help me and a lot of other people through different things. This probably doesnt make much sense but if it werent for the challenge I wouldve erased all of this. Okay Just this last bit i just have to let it out im sorry, i think im alright i just probablythink too much

  324. Yep, this blog sure rings true for me. I have procrastinated about finishing a certification program, fearing it will not be perfect enough. Believing someone will challenge my legitimacy my field of work is the next fear in the chain because I feel like a fraud.
    This blog has been truly helpful. Thank you!

  325. I got a girlfriend. Nearly six years since the last one. It was about this time last year. And I was so happy. I had said for many years that if it couldn’t be her (this particular woman), it couldn’t be anyone. And then one small disagreement – miniscule, eminently fixable, but poorly timed and badly dealt with – mushroomed mainly because of me. It could have been fixed. It should have been. But My behaviour was so irrational whenever we communicated that she told me I was never to speak to her again. I messed it up. And I think it’s because I was looking for that trigger; that little push for me to into full impostor mode and mess the whole thing up before I could get too happy. That was in March. I’m thinking of it now because I was such an idiot I even blocked the possibility of her being my friend again. And as a result I’m sitting here crying.

  326. I am reading this because I am tired feeling like a fraud at my new job. This helps a lot ! Very good insight and practical advices. Thanks a lot and keep up the good work !

  327. Good to read your article. Glad to see such current comments on it! I’m a musician with a first class degree, and consider myself a jack of all trades within that field – including a certain amount of music tech. I’ve been given opportunities in the world of theatre – as a musician this suits me, but I’ve also been able to take on more sound design and theatre sound engineering roles. The level of tech knowledge within the industry feels way above me and I seem to be surrounded by professionals who have the schooling and background to handle complex sound systems, which I don’t. My approach to this technical work has always been positive and I know I work well within teams, and I feel this is why opportunities have kept coming. But I feel there are people way more qualified than me – why should I be booked over them? I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had. I’m going to continue to learn, and draw strength from the positive testimonials and feedback I’ve had. But it doesn’t help shake the feeling that I’m not necessarily the best person for the job…!

  328. I was trying to explain this feeling to a non-developer friend quite recently.

    I think a lot of it has to do with the nature of the job and the pace at which things change. I can’t even look back on projects and feel a sense of accomplishment – even after doing this for almost 20 years I’m learning new techniques every week, so every past project “could have been better”.

    The job can often be isolating which intensifies that idea that everyone else is better than me. And more often than not the skillset is so broad reaching that it becomes impossible to be a master of every aspect.

    But, no matter how burned out, I always feel a sense of quiet joy in the job. It’s sometimes a kind of ekphrasis – transcribing something visual into another language – even “getting” the most simple thing right is rerwarding.

  329. Thank you for this article! I’m 45 years old and only yesterday in a very difficult conversation told my manager I was terrified of one of my projects because I’m not the expert and don’t think I’m the right person. Took me an hour to get the words out – when I did, she cheered, and told me “now we can work together and I can help you”. I almost messed up my job due to this, by trying to hide it as I felt like such a fraud to get the promotion and the project that came with it earlier this year. Turns out my job is completely safe, and they were desperate to find out why I was behaving how I was. I hadn’t heard of imposter syndrome until yesterday, depsite the fact I’ve spent my entire working life telling people “some day they’re going to find out I’m not good enough to do this!” in every job I’ve ever had. Now I know what it is I feel I can do something about it to stop having these thoughts.

    • Hi Paul, thanks heaps for sharing your story. I can relate my experience to yours easily. Like your sentence “……. I’ve spent my entire working life telling people “some day they’re going to find out I’m not good enough to do this!”

  330. I feel like I’m a fake at everything. I (think that I) talk a good game but then when I reflect back on conversations, I think “I’m the biggest idiot in the room and they’re all being nice to me because I’m too slow to catch on” . Not only do I think I’m a fraud, but I think that by thinking about it makes me self centered, or discussing it would make me an attention seeking narcissist. I just wish someone who knew me would be 100% honest and give it to me straight. If they said anything positive tho, I probably wouldn’t believe them.

  331. I feel like a fraud calling myself a professional actor when I’ve moved into smaller cities with limited opportunities for theatre/film, and when I haven’t been cast in anything in a long time. No matter how much I rehearse monologues on my own, or try to write my own screenplays to produce, I feel like it’s never enough and doesn’t mean anything outside my home office or even outside of my own mind. It doesn’t help when people in this community look at me confused when I introduce myself as an actor… like, what are you doing HERE, then? Which is what I ask myself every day. But we are in this town for my husband’s job and I am trying to make the best of it but feel I’m losing my identity, and more and more feel like a total fraud claiming that I am still a full time actor. I realize I’ve always felt this way, even auditioning for Broadway in NYC— like nothing I did as an actor was enough. But now it’s like my external circumstances validate the impostor feeling inside, making it much worse.

  332. I thought I had social anxiety disorder but I couldn’t figure out why I thrive in social settings but in work situations (interviews, meetings, conferences) I get nervous…butterfly sick nervous and my skin gets all blotchy. While I’m talking, I can hear my own voice out loud but the voice in my head that doubts me is louder. Tonight I got help and my counsellor told me it was Impostor Syndrome. What a revelation!! The first step is naming the problem…all evening I’ve been saying in my head “you’re totally smart and capable, it’s just IP” and I smile. Why hadnt I heard of this before?!! I’m really excited to move forward now that the problem has been named. Eff off IP!

  333. Wow, it’s kinda scary how accurately this describes me. Then again, it’s also a relief to realize that there are tons of people out there suffering from Impostor Syndrome as well, and that I’m not the center of the universe. Actually, reading your article was like a slap in the face – but the good kind, like a wake-up call. So thank you very much for writing this article!

    A couple of years ago, my oldest brother and my mother both died and I feel like I’ve never really recovered ever since. For the past years, I’ve been spending most of my time thinking about it and suffering from it. I feel anxious and helpless, I don’t sleep very well and I am suicidal regularly. But every time I try to get the help I need, every time I want to pick up the phone to make an appointment with a psychologist, I don’t because I get overwhelmed by the feeling of being a fraud, of just faking my bad state of mind. I’m afraid the psychologist will expose me as a fraud and tell me to ‘stop being such a p*ssy’ and to ‘just get over it’. I’ve been trying to find help for years now, but I just can’t because I feel like I don’t deserve any help and I’m just ‘pretending’ to be in need of it.

    It was my trainee teacher who ‘exposed’ me as someone suffering from Impostor Syndrome, and I really hate him for doing so. But I’m also deeply grateful for showing me the truth because it feels like he’s my reflection in the mirror, but at the end of road of a successful recovery. It kinda gives me hope, and yeah, he’s my role model.

  334. I was very successful as an arts student in college. I would get in to 80% of the plays I auditioned for and audience members would often tell me after the show I was their favorite part. Now I’ve moved to a small city where the theater community is so small and therefore very selective, and they don’t often accept newcomers into productions, they typically cast people who’ve been in the community for a long time. I’ve done plays but haven’t really broken into the scene. I’m struggling to enter this community and worry that I won’t ever break into it. It’s been a general disappointment as I get called back for second auditions but haven’t gotten cast in the productions themselves. I’m struggling to understand why I’m here to begin with if I can’t seem to break into the community I’ve always loved.

    Thanks for this post, it’s a great reminder that I have to remain generous and not take any decisions personally. I think this all comes down to struggles with status. We have to remember that trying to achieve something doesn’t ever make you or anyone else any higher or lower status than anyone, in the grand scheme of things. It just makes you in pursuit, curious, and eager to share any answers you’ve come across. Just keep asking questions. Best of luck everyone.

  335. I moved to a new city and feel alien in it. It’s a place that is now full of outsiders that all have good intentions, trying to learn from the customs of the city and from the people and culture in it. But I can’t help but feel the city would be better off with fewer outsiders. I don’t feel like my opinion matters here because I just don’t know “what’s best” for the city yet. It’s a really traditional place. It feels actually very closed off rather than open-minded. I find that attitude among the people here, and I respond with a similar attitude cause I just don’t know how to breach that. I don’t want to lose the culture I come from but I can’t help but feel like assimilating is the only way I could actually feel a part of the community and be happy here. Makes me want to leave, but that makes me sad cause it’s such a delightful culture here. I feel like to be happy here I have to be willing to change my ways in a way I’m so unfamiliar with, shed my taboos, basically take the stick out of my ass, but I worry that if I do that I won’t ever chase the dreams I had of my adulthood growing up–the career I wanted, the kind of place I wanted to live in. It makes me wonder if values really can change or if I was never planning on staying here. Perhaps the latter.

  336. I just moved to South Korea to teach English. I have worked with kids since I was one as a babysitter and then a nanny, and a camp counselor. I have more experience with kids than some of my friends who went to college for teaching. My bachelors degree was in music, but i got a teaching certification to supplement it. I know deep down i have the personality, experience, and training to do this, as well as I have been praised by my fellow teachers here that I am doing a great job, but I just keep having this paranoid feeling that I’m gonna get fired any day because I’m not supposed to be here. I’m really ambitious too so it’s like i set myself up to be miserable. I have wanted this for so long but I can’t even enjoy it because I’m overthinking everything and I’m so scared someone is going to find out I’m not cut out for this. This is how I was at my camp counseling job, and my job as a barista, and when I got into the top level music ensembles in college. Logically, I know I need to get over myself but I just find it SO HARD to not tell myself that I’m a fake and they just dont know it yet. But, this definitely helps. Thank you so so much for these. I am going to write some of them down and put them on my wall so i don’t forget to keep them in mind moving forward!

    ps- the one that resonated with me the most was “being wrong doesn’t make you a fake.” my whole life i have had a complex about wanting to be right all the time so i don’t look inferior and i think that also plays into my imposter syndrome. so, that one really is gonna help my perspective. Thank you so much for this! 🙂

  337. Wow..,I have never heard of this before. It describes me perfectly. I have two Masters Degrees and I can’t figure out why. I have worked in numerous jobs trying to figure out who I am. I was a cop, probation agent. Now I am a realtor, network marketer, manager, hair stylist. Everyone praised me at doing all of this and keep pushing me but I feel like a fraud because I really do not care for any of these things, except maybe hair and managing. I start and stop things because I compare myself to others and get tired of pretending that I like it. I get praise at how well I’m doing and how I can go far but deep down I don’t have the confidence nor do I like it, I just waste money and pretend. I feel like if I let my guard down to be honest I will disappoint people and lose my fake credibility, so I just keep faking along. I’m really not sure how to function without this and I wish I could just drop everything and start fresh but then I would probably be faking that. Huh….,.

  338. I’m currently a 2nd year student in a PhD program. I feel like it’s not real. I also hold down a full time job as a therapist and help other children realize their dreams. But meanwhile I don’t ever raise my hand in class or at staff meetings at work. I never talk about my accomplishments and if people compliment me for having reached so far in school my usual response is, “I just read a lot”. Terrible!

  339. I had very good marks at the university. I even finished with a phd. A lot of people valued my opinion. But the whole time I thought I was just lucky and everyone is overestimating me. I am even ashamed of my phd and believe that I do not deserve it. Extreme illogical to that is also the feeling of shame that it just got the 2nd best mark, because it only shows how stupid I am (regardless of the fact that I do not deserve any mark for that piece of shit in the first place)
    However, I got quite an interesting job. Of course I only scored it because I knew the boss through some other people I worked with at the university. I know he must have known my previous work, still I believe I just got lucky.
    Of course I feel I suck at my new work and someday they will find out I am fake. Disturbingly, I feel underestimated because I could’nt prove myself yet at work. So, people there do not appreciate my opinion as the others at the university did. Therefore, I believe everybody hates me and also think I am stupid. Really stupid is, that I also think that I am much smarter than most people at my work. But I am afraid that the people I believe to be much smarter than me think that I am not only more stupid than everybody else but also a fraud.
    Finally I helped my colleque attending as Interviewer in a job Interview in his place, but there was not any time for briefing before. So I really were unprepaired and sucked. Of course I think it was a trap.
    Unfortunatly, my other Boss also attended as main Interviewer and I now believe he found out I am fake. Also there were a lot of questions he asked the applicant that I couldn’t have answered myself because I could not remember any of it (I once knew). So I also couldn’t tell if the applicant was right. I also don’t know if the applicant should be hired or not. So I am frightend what I should say when my Boss finally values my opinion in that matter.
    At last I am afraid that I don’t have the imposter syndrome but the dunning Kruger effect of not even knowing that I am too stupid too see that I am stupid. And certainly I learnt there is a lot I don’t know, but if anybody finds out they will take away my job and probably the shitty phd (which, how shitty it is, sucked all my tears, sweat, strength, happiness and love away and got me only sadness anxiety pain and loneliness)

    • I feel sad after reading your post just because I understand your feeling! I think You are very smart and capable/knowledgable in order to get to your position right now. Not many people can do that, and nothing come from pure luck. It came from hard works…! Please try to make peace with your self… or try to practise meditation or have an open mind with Buddhism philosophy. I hope that you will feel much better, find happiness and confidence in your work/life. I wish you a happy succesful new year 2018 !

  340. I had never even heard of impostor syndrome until about a week or so ago. Once I started doing some research it described me perfectly. I’ve been living this exact life for most all of my adult life and career. It has been exhausting trying to do everything I can just be keep form being “exposed” as a fraud. I hope to continue my research and find out who I truly am. This article is truly informative and will be a great tool for me to use to get my life moving in a positive direction. Thanks for putting out there.

  341. I have the skills and tools to produce a movie but I’ve been afraid to move forward for fear it won’t be good enough. This article provided me much clarity in that if I don’t at least TRY then I will never know whether the film is good enough or not. Also, that I am not alone in my fears.
    THANK YOU for the much needed tips!

  342. I majored in a language but never became fully flent to the level I wanted to. I can read and write, live in this foreign country (thought I dont), make friends, and hold a job, but because I dont know the meaning of every kanji or know the direct translation of every phrase, I feel like an idiot telling people what my college major was. Im so sad about it every day. I feel like I wasted my life doing something im still “no good” at. :(:(

  343. Firstly – Thanks for a fantastic article at a fantastic time in my career.

    I am in the middle of shifting jobs – from a great firm that I had worked for the past 14 years to a new job at an absolutely new firm. Why am I shifting? – I had been on a fast track in my career up until 2 years ago, when things started slowing down for me. It got me worried and concerned, and had me start looking out. I am now stuck in between ‘excitement from change’ and a ‘what the eff am I doing’ feelings, leading me to doubt my own caliber, skills and authenticity. Thanks for helping me understand these feelings better!

  344. Although I’ve been admitted to top schools in the U.S., I always considered myself as not smart enough. Especially when I was surrounded by very intelligent classmates, I started to consider myself as a fluke. I looked at my admission to such prestigious school as pure luck or mistake of admission committee.

    As a matter of fact, I did struggle a lot in school and some classes I ended up failing, which I never imagined myself getting into. I failing classes was just another proof of that I am not good enough not just to be in the top university, but also not good enough to even make a decent career. I always wonder if I can ever have skills and intelligence to make a living and might just end up working at McDonald’s for the rest of my life.

    Friends from back in high school always used to admire how smart I am and perceived me as a gifted kid, but it was remotely true. They always thought that I would make it to medical school with ease and become successful. What am I doing now? I dropped out of school because I couldn’t resist the feeling of ‘not good enough’. I was scared and I was embarrassed 90% of the time I was in class. 90% of lecture material, I never understood and seemed quite challenging.

    Although I can’t still quite shake off the feeling of ‘not good enough’, I guess it’s certainly relieving to know that I’m not the only one having these self-doubt issues that I carry on in my head on my day to day life.

    • I’m exactly the same. I recently changed jobs and went into a completely new field of work. I got into it through a friend. I have since made other friends who are very competent in their roles, I feel like I know nothing, and a total fraud.

    • Me too. When some things are starting to be better I subsconsuly feel that I don’t deserve it, that I don’t deserve to be happy.

  345. I have 10 years experience in Bioinformatics, but because I learned on the fly – I took a 2 week bootcamp course and then taught myself Perl and R as needed for analysis at work, I have resisted calling myself a Bioinformatician. I had this fear that I would be considered a fraud because I just make up scripts one problem at a time, googling and trying and retrying the code until I get the results I need. I don’t even remember the code I’ve written. I have it indexed and have extensive notes on how I do different analyses and remember the person I did the analysis for, look up the notes and associated code and modify it as needed.

    The fear that I was not good enough has prevented me from applying for jobs as an analyst. It has also lead me to choose more safe seeming jobs to prevent myself from having to go through the interviews needed to get a new job. I have recently realized that there are no “safer” jobs – regardless of the funding source or employer, so this time I am resolved to apply to anything that interests me and that I can learn to do – not just jobs I feel I can handle from day one.

    I have been worried that if I take a risk and I fail, I will hurt my kids by putting my family in a bad financial position, but I realized that by working in a bad environment for fear of taking the risk to look for a new job, I am hurting my kids by showing them that you have to put up with unacceptable behavior because looking for something better is too risky. The worst part is that after putting up with unacceptable behavior from my boss and his wife, I was fired to make way for someone younger and less expensive. If I had started looking for a new job as soon as I realized that I was in a bad situation, I’d be closer to a better situation.

    • Kathie,

      I just learned about this syndrome, and realized that I’ve had this my whole life. I was always told that I was “gifted”. Anyway, I walked into genomics 10 years ago, and recently started to feel like more of a fraud with the increasing responsibilities of each more senior position.

      This has prevented me from taking a position at a startup which the founder reached out to me and said, “Come interview tomorrow. You have the skills that would make a big impact here.” Instead, I went to a startup that I knew would fail from the instant I was in the interview because the other one was too scary.
      I just recently went through the same situation at work as well. My boss was promoted to group director, and their behavior towards me got even worse. I took it time and time again, and got into fights with my partner over working too much because I was afraid everyone would see me as a worthless faker.
      My review was a slaughter. I was told things about myself that no one had ever said to me, or seen in me before. I put up with it for months, and then same as you, fired because the junior members were “better” than me.
      I hope your disclosed thoughts helps you-I’m certainly going to take this advice as well.

  346. I just finished an intensive program where i learned full stack web development. I built websites, I learned all that i need to know to build more websites, and enough to know how to ask for help as i need it. Yet, I still feel like a big fat loser fraud. I know at the same time that this is a false belief and that I have proven myself to be able to do the things I also simultaneously feel that I cannot do, I still havent been able to get over this mental block. I want to code I want to learn more I want to undertand more, yet, I keep hearing that little voice that I am not good enough, not as good as the others, and if I start applying for work, they will see that I am a fraud, I am not a software engineer. Im a little faker.

    This article has helped me to get a little further towards overcoming the mental block I am currently battling. Thanks

  347. Thank you for writing this Kyle. I have never heard of this until I came across your blog. It describes me. HA! HA! HA!

  348. I’m starting a new job tomorrow, and I have to work with a software I haven’t touched in ages. Even though I will remember quickly, I’m scared as sh** that ‘they’ will find out that I don’t know anything. Writing this down, I realize how much my mind is exaggerating.. And being aware that this is just a mental projection into an unforeseeable future + reading this article, I rest assured that everything is going to be fine. Once in a while we need to be reminded that all of this is just a grand illusion anyway. So thank you for your insight and making me kinda snap out of it!

  349. Wow…I am a mess. I have spent a great deal of my career talking about information security, even went so far as to get two masters degrees in the subject, I know and think about what threats exist or how I would try to take advantage of systems or processes.

    It is all academic, theoretical. Yes I have taken many technical courses in the infosec industry, have a few certifications, but it is more of an I can remember X or Y, but can I actually “DO” it? I fear the failure that if I try the hands on that I will fail and be recognized as a fraud.

    There is just so much out there to learn that I get overwhelmed that I avoid taking action because it may prove that I dont know anything about security and shouldnt be trying to guide others.

    Am I just as screwed up (normal) as everyone else?

    • No mate, your fine. Info security is a huge topic, its impossible to know it all. I’d suggest to focus on one sub-topic and to know it, and if you can’t be able to explain why that is. But ye, I am in a similar situation

    • I can totally relate to this. I work in the field of marketing as a consultant. I have a masters degree and many smaller certifications but feel like I can’t actually ‘do’ it. Marketing is such a big field, with so many sub specialties and I feel like I should know it all. It don’t. I’m constantly waiting to be found out and let go by my clients.

  350. My first job was with a big consumer goods firm where I always felt that others were way more skilled than I was. I never got promoted, though. In fact, I didn’t do great in one job rotation, so I got shipped to another dept.

    I got my MBA, but was frustrated with how much there was to learn and how little time we really had to read/absorb it all. It was tough, and I was surrounded by people who looked so confident and sounded so knowledgeable.

    Then I joined an accounting firm where I found that I really didn’t understand tax and accounting/auditing weren’t easy. Eventually, I got the boot b/c I didn’t pass my exams, although I did bring in some business.

    Then I worked for a car leasing company and, although I learned a ton and enjoyed much of it, I wasn’t a natural salesman and people around me seemed to be. I did bring in some business, though.

    After that, I went to school to become a teacher, and was very stressed out by all the work, the huge learning curve, and how confident everyone else seemed to be. I felt good about my grades, but not so much about my performance in the schools where I taught.

    After graduation I got a job teaching, and I wanted to quit for each of the first five years. I found the work overwhelming and the kids’ behavior a challenge. In all that, though, I know I made a positive difference in some kids’ lives.

    I’ve just begun a year’s leave of absence b/c I’m ground down by terrible student behavior, unfair expectations by Admin, and long hours prepping/grading. All the way through the past 20 years of teaching I saw my colleagues as way better than me, but I kept going.

    Now I’m pondering whether to stay in education, start my own business, or do something else. At this time in my life, I feel very much like an imposter–the young ‘uns seem super-skilled and the old guard have forgotten more things than I’ll ever know. My dad had his own successful business for 40 years, my brother is very successful in finance, and I’m trying to find something that I’m good at–preferably really good at–so that for once I don’t feel like an imposter.

  351. My life feels like I’ve lived the imposter life instead of the life I wanted, forever in fear of doing what I actually was intrigued by because it was silly and unproven. I want to research resonance of environments and the impact on the body. I have a geophysics degree, graduated 15 years ago and since then have never had enough belief to look into it myself and continue even in writing this to think I need to find someone else who’s already doing in to follow. The imposter syndrome has become my life such that now I’m worried others will find out about me living worried. Redic.

  352. I have 11 successful years in marketing and customer experience and have generally always done well and been promoted consistently. But I think due to never completing my tertiary studies, I always feel like that will be found out, and that others all have this level of qualification to be in the job they are in (even though often people don’t, or it’s in an unrelated field). I have been asked to speak at a conference, and I’m petrified. I imagine them saying, “This guy isn’t saying anything special, why would we listen to him, he hasn’t even got a degree and has done nothing that amazing really”. I’ll do it, but be quite humble try not to act that I know more than them, just sharing my story and experience.

  353. I have 20 years’ work experience in a variety of roles across the private, public and voluntary sectors (UK). Every time I start a new job I feel like a complete amateur – a joker who has dared to take on this role that is completely beyond her capabilities. Every time I leave a job everyone is shocked that I am going – they don’t want me to go, can’t believe I’m leaving, tell me what a huge loss it is to the organisation etc etc. It doesn’t get any easier with time. It doesn’t get any easier the more people tell me they’re sorry to see me go – I still start the next job feeling like I’m incapable of the simplest task and that people are going to ‘find me out’ for the fraud that I am…

  354. Great article!
    I’m a consultant and often provide services to big corporations and international clients. I’m often hired as an expert but I’m so aware of the many many things I know little about but have to occasionally consider when providing advice… I often work under a more senior consultant but am now being pushed to lead on projects and am often finding excuses not to.. I know I’m smart and able and have great qualifications but often feel like a fraud and afraid clients will see me for the non-expert that I am! I just read about impostor syndrome today and a google search led me to this article which was great to read and likely useful in managing this frustration going forward. Thanks!

  355. Firstly thank you. Its great to hear so many people struggle, not that i want people to struggle, just that im not alone in my struggles! Comfort zone and leaving it is scary as hell. The thing is comfort zones are little dull. Youre 100% right, change only comes from pushing yourself out there, trying something. Ive handed my notice in at work and i’m setting up a business. I have this over whelming feeling of self doubt and self worth and not being worthy, thats the irrational part of my brain. The rational side knows that im good, i can do it, i may even do ok at it. Its a contant battle between everythings going to be ok and ‘what the hell have i done!!!’

    • I know that feeling all too well, my fear is that I will get alot of attention for following my dreams. I don’t want the attention.

  356. I’m building my career in a men’s world. I am not from this business, I never studied it and still I managed to get promoted several times. I’ve never had meetings / dinners with clients and now I’m going to Europe as my company’s representative. I am scared as hell! I constantly am thinking they will find everything out! There will be around 300 people from big companies and I’ll be fooling around there.. Still, this feeling doesn’t stop me from doing things, but it keeps spinning around in my head and keeps me in fear. It’s an eternal battle…

  357. I’m afraid of engaging in anything remotely intellectual for fear of not being smart enough to understand anything and terrified of sounding stupid to anyone else. Hope that makes sense. Great article!

  358. Great post!
    I am stopping myself from going into consulting business, because I’m afraid that I don’t know everything and will look like a fake. I find that when people ask me for advice I end up helping, but I feel like the information I give everyone knows so it’s nothing special.

  359. Great post. I have to admit though, I do things. I take action steps however, I feel I take steps in a fashion I am told through other “successful” people will work instead of following my own process with just as much enthusiasm. I expect my thoughts to automatically fail because what do I know? What credentials do I have? So I pay people, programs, etc to feel more confident in what I am saying. Even use their words all because I am forcing myself to take an approach with the expectations of, “after I succeed at this, people will listen to me.”

    When in fact, looking back on my life, more people have been impressed by what I have said, in my words. I could nitpick that somewhere in the world, in some time or some way someone else has said the same thing. Why does that make me a fraud if its coming from my own understanding?

    It doesn’t.

    Thank you for this post.