Imposter Syndrome is a real thing…

Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which individuals doubt their accomplishments and fear being exposed as a fraud. It is a common experience that affects people of all ages, genders, and professional backgrounds. Imposter Syndrome leads to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and anxiety, ultimately limiting an individual’s potential. Imposter Syndrome at work is a challenging experience affecting an individual’s confidence, performance, and career growth.

The symptoms of Imposter Syndrome can vary from person to person, but here are the common symptoms:

  • Feeling like a fraud: Individuals with Imposter Syndrome may feel like they don’t deserve their accomplishments or that their success is due to luck or external factors. In addition, they may feel like they are not qualified for their job or not as talented as their colleagues.
  • Self-doubt: Individuals with Imposter Syndrome may doubt their abilities and constantly second-guess themselves. They may worry about making mistakes or not living up to expectations.
  • Fear of failure: Individuals with Imposter Syndrome may fear failing or making mistakes, leading to anxiety and avoidance behavior.
  • Perfectionism: Individuals with Imposter Syndrome may have a tendency towards perfectionism, which can lead to unrealistic expectations and self-criticism.
  • Overworking: Individuals with Imposter Syndrome may overwork themselves to prove their worth and avoid being exposed as a fraud.
  • Self-deprecation: Individuals with Imposter Syndrome may engage in negative self-talk and self-deprecation, leading to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.
  • Difficulty accepting compliments: Individuals with Imposter Syndrome may have difficulty accepting compliments or acknowledging their accomplishments, as they may feel like they don’t deserve them.

The six steps to better manage Imposter Syndrome

  1. Recognize the symptoms: The first step in dealing with Imposter Syndrome at work is to recognize the signs. Individuals who experience this syndrome may feel like they don’t deserve their job or are not qualified for their position. They may also worry about being exposed as a fraud or receiving criticism from their colleagues. When you recognize these symptoms, you can take steps to address your feelings and regain your confidence.
  2. Talk to your colleagues: Imposter Syndrome can be an isolating experience, but it is essential to understand that many people have experienced similar feelings. By talking to colleagues or mentors who have experienced Imposter Syndrome, individuals can gain a better perspective on their feelings and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
  3. Reframe negative self-talk: Negative self-talk can contribute to Imposter Syndrome. Individuals may doubt their abilities, feel like they are not good enough, or worry about making mistakes. Individuals can change their mindset and build confidence by reframing negative self-talk into positive affirmations. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t deserve this job,” individuals can say, “I worked hard to get here, and I have the skills to succeed.”
  4. Focus on your strengths: Individuals with Imposter Syndrome tend to focus on their weaknesses and mistakes. Instead, it’s essential to focus on their strengths and accomplishments. By recognizing their strengths and the value they bring to their job, individuals can gain a greater sense of self-worth and confidence.
  5. Seek feedback: Many individuals with Imposter Syndrome worry about receiving criticism from their colleagues. However, seeking feedback can be an excellent way to learn and grow in their job. By seeking input from colleagues and managers, individuals can better understand their strengths and areas for improvement.
  6. Practice self-care: Imposter Syndrome at work can be stressful and exhausting. Practicing self-care and prioritizing activities that bring joy and relaxation is essential. Whether exercising, meditation, or spending time with loved ones, taking care of oneself can help individuals feel more confident and resilient in the workplace.

Imposter Syndrome is common and challenging, but there are ways to deal with it. By recognizing the symptoms, talking to colleagues, reframing negative self-talk, focusing on strengths, seeking feedback, and practicing self-care, individuals can overcome Imposter Syndrome and achieve their full potential in their job.


Rich Jones is the Founder/Principal of Leading2Leadership LLC. Before starting his strategic planning agency, he spent over 20 years in leadership roles in the financial services sector. Before becoming an executive in the financial services sector, Rich was an entrepreneur, building and selling two businesses and working for early-stage start-up companies in executive roles in marketing, business development, and seeking investment partners. With more than three decades of experience, he brings innovative thought to companies and executives. Rich published “Leading2Leadership, a Situational Primer to Leadership Excellence.” The book is available on and was designed to be used as a book study for leadership development programs; it breaks leadership skills into manageable situations for discussion and reflection. Rich works with credit unions, CUSOs, and vendors, designing digital, data, culture, marketing, and branding transformation strategies. In 2014, Chosen as a Credit Union Rock Star by CU Magazine, and in 2018, Rich received the Lifetime Achievement Award from CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. A Marine and graduate of Colorado State University, Jones shares his expertise at

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