Impostor Syndrome: The Disorder You Didn’t Know You Have

3 min read · 7 years ago


As an entrepreneur, there is a good chance you may suffer from a disorder you did not know you had–or that even existed–and its ruining your chance at success.

Therapy is available that will help you deal with the lifelong repercussions of such a problem, even if you are never able to achieve full recovery.

What disorder is this?

It is the all too common, but largely unknown,  “Impostor Syndrome.”

Let me go into detail about this disorder so you can determine if you have it, and then learn how to get over it a.

What is Impostor Syndrome?

Its a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.

Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

The term was first used in 1979 by Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in an article they wrote for Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. It discussed how many high-achieving women did not believe they were intelligent, but instead that they were lucky or over-evaluated by others.

However, this is not a disorder only among women.

Many men who have achieved much success may feel this same way. In fact, it is said Chuck Lorre, Neil Gaiman and perhaps even Albert Einstein may have suffered with this throughout their careers.

A high percentage of people who have experienced any level of success have likely felt this way at some point. The problem occurs when a person suffers to the degree that it prevents them from trying to achieve even more.

Just recognizing it exists may help, but often isn’t enough. Luckily, there are ways that you can move forward and grow, even if impostor syndrome is a very real issue for you.

Therapy for Imposter Syndrome

For some, the best therapy for Imposter Syndrome is simply recognizing that it is a real thing, it is natural and that others feel the same way.

However, if you want to go an extra step and squelch those feelings, it may require a little more effort.

Instead of constantly trying to prove to yourself and those around you that you are an expert in your field, focus on being an “educator and advocate for your clients’ and prospects’ success.”

What does this mean?

  1. A client or prospect should feel that you understand them
  2. He or she should recognize you provide valuable information
  3. You should show, not just tell, that you truly care about the results of the project

Best selling author, Jack Mize remarked, “Its hard for many entrepreneurs to call themselves an ‘expert’. This is where Impostor Syndrome can start creeping in and holding us back. But a simple change of positioning yourself as an ‘educator and an advocate for your customers’ success’, is easy. You are taking the focus off of you, and putting on to helping your customers.”

When you no longer feel you have to be an expert, it is common for these feelings to slide away on their own. In learning how to become an authority and educator, you may realize that you actually are an expert–or that if you are not, it truly does not matter.

You are doing something good for yourself and your clients. That’s the ultimate goal.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Impostor Syndrome: The Disorder You Didn’t Know You Have

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