Is Imposter Syndrome Real?

Apr 23, 2022
is imposter syndrome real?

I had a great chat with a colleague the other day about imposter syndrome. She said ‘but is imposter syndrome really a thing?’ I love this type of challenge! Rather than taking things at face value, it’s important to understand all aspects. And one aspect of imposter syndrome is that some people don’t think it’s a real thing. 

Is imposter syndrome really a syndrome?

The biggest issue she had with it was the use of the term ‘syndrome’. Syndrome implies that there is some sort of medical element to imposter syndrome. There is not. It’s all in your head. Because of this, I have heard of it being referred to as ‘imposter complex’ or ‘imposter phenomenon’ and more recently, and I liked this, ‘imposter feelings’.

But just because imposter syndrome doesn’t have a medical diagnosis doesn’t mean it’s not a real thing! It’s very real for those experiencing it, and often times it’s a relief just to know it *is* a thing - “you mean this is a thing, other people feel like this too? I thought it was just me”.

Do people really "suffer" from imposter syndrome?

She also questioned the use of the term “suffer” from imposter syndrome. Do people really “suffer” from imposter syndrome? Again, this depends on how you look at it. You could have all the imposter feelings (see what I did there?) and still be taking action towards what you want to achieve, and not letting that voice in your head stop you. 

But the suffering comes in when we get in our own way, we self-sabotage (sometimes completely unconsciously), we don’t take action, we feel like we don’t belong, we suffer in silence, and our anxieties about being “found out” are heightened. So, for some people, yes “suffer” is a perfectly apt description.

What next?

If you have those imposter feelings, and you don’t want to suffer any more, definitely check out my Imposter to Empowered® programme - you can take the DIY course, the group coaching programme, or the individual coaching programme. Find out more here.

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