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Unpacking Michelle Obama’s Impostor Syndrome

In a December 2018 talk at an all-girls school in North London, Michelle Obama was asked how she felt about being viewed as a “symbol of hope.” That’s when the former First Lady disclosed something countless millions of women and men around the world experience, but often don’t have a name for. "I still have a little [bit of] impostor syndrome, it never goes away, that you're actually listening to me." Impostor syndrome describes a core belief that we're not as bright or competent or...

The True Opposite of Impostor Syndrome

Impostor syndrome describes the tendency to dismiss evidence of our accomplishments. To believe instead that we’ve fooled others into thinking we’re more intelligent or capable than we “know” ourselves to be and that it’s just a matter of time before we’re found out. But what’s the opposite of impostor syndrome? In Valerie Young’s 2017 TED Talk she referred to people who don’t experience impostor syndrome simply as “non-impostors.” Even then, she knew the term was not ideal because people...

Fact Check: Impostor is Not a Scam or Conspiracy

Fact Check: Impostor is Not a Scam or Conspiracy

Impostor syndrome is a scam.

Worse, it is a deliberate misogynous strategy created to hold women back.

Besides, it’s not even real.

That was the troubling and wildly inaccurate message of the 2023 commencement speech at Smith College.

3 Ways to Unlearn Impostor Syndrome in 2024

As we head into 2024, our mission remains the same: To address the (avoidable) impact of impostor syndrome on individuals and organizations. Here are a few steps you can take at the individual level to address impostor syndrome: 1. Reflecting on 2023, identify specific ways impostor syndrome impacted your work/life? For instance… Did overworking or over preparing cause you to miss out on time for family, friends, self-care? Did you hold back from going for a promotion, starting or scaling...

Impostor Syndrome Institute | Do what you want but know what you're doing

Where Does Impostor Syndrome Come From — and Why It Matters

There is no shortage of people with strong opinions about impostor syndrome. While everyone is, of course, entitled to their own opinion, in many cases, they are uninformed. I don’t expect the general public to do a deep dive into the research. After all there are countless hundreds of studies on impostor phenomenon. But I do expect therapists, coaches, advisors, mentors, or really anyone who works directly with individuals who may experience impostor syndrome, to be informed. Case in...

Top 10 Ways to Know You Suffer From Impostor Syndrome

Top 10 Ways to Know If You Suffer From Impostor Syndrome 

Impostor syndrome describes the belief shared by millions of men and women around the world that deep down we really aren’t as intelligent, capable, qualified, or talented as everyone seems to THINK we are — despite evidence of our accomplishments. But impostor syndrome can often be confused with low self-esteem, self-worth, lack of confidence — and a variety of other human experiences. So leading expert Dr. Valerie Young offers up these 10 ways to know if you suffer from impostor syndrome:...

The 5 Types of Impostor Syndrome

What’s In Your Competence Rulebook? I’ve spent close to four decades helping people who feel like impostors, fakes, and frauds. In that time, I’ve come to an important conclusion: If you want to truly put yourself on the fast track to feeling as bright and capable as you really are, then nothing — and I do mean nothing — will get you there quicker than adjusting your beliefs about what it takes to be competent. Why? Because the impostor syndrome goes beyond a mere lack of confidence....

Impostor syndrome or impostor phenomenon?

Is it Impostor Phenomenon or Impostor Syndrome?

There’s been lots of buzz lately about the term impostor “syndrome.”  I don’t mean buzz about the actual experience of believing we’ve fool others into thinking we’re more intelligent, capable, or talented as others “know” ourselves to be.   What I’m referring to is the buzz about popular use of the term impostor syndrome to describe what was originally referred to as the impostor phenomenon. Buzz is probably the wrong word. If you’re a psychologist a better word...

Who Do You Think You Are to Not Go for It?

Have you noticed how when you dare to go after a dream, resistance is intent on keeping you small?  The closer you get to believing that you actually can do it, the more likely you are to receive an unwanted visit from that niggling inner voice. The one that demands to know, Who do you think you are? In reality the question you should be asking yourself is Who do I think I am not to go for it?  Whether you know it or not, your actions, and conversely your failure to act, have implications...

How NOT to Determine If You Have Impostor Syndrome

In a recent LinkedIn post a coach shared her unusual method for determining if a client is experiencing impostor syndrome. Her technique comes in the form of a question: Would you rather give a talk in front of 200 people or to 6 senior execs at your company? If the client chooses the audience of 200 people over the small group of execs, the coach informs them they have impostor syndrome. Nonsense. There are a number of valid reasons for choosing the larger audience other than impostor...

Impostor Syndrome does not mean unworthy

Do People With Impostor Syndrome Feel “UnWorthy”?

A licensed therapist/executive coach insists impostor syndrome and lack of confidence in general stem from a belief of feeling unworthy. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, I don’t think the reason Michelle Obama identifies with impostor syndrome is because she feels unworthy. Or for that matter that… * people who work in STEM or in creative fields who are more prone to impostor syndrome * or students whose knowledge and intellect is literally being tested every day * or people who...

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