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Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

Your list of accomplishments is long, and you have risen to numerous challenges to get where you are today, yet somehow you feel like you don’t belong, like a fraud that landed here based on sheer luck alone. What gives?

Well, welcome to the club—many high achievers also experience this psychological phenomenon known as imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome refers to a pattern of internal beliefs in which people experience feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem despite a long list of achievements that indicate otherwise.

If you are on the path to a successful career, but you feel like you don’t deserve it, you may have one of the five types of imposter syndrome:

  • The Perfectionist: You set ambitious goals and high standards for yourself, but even small failures lead you to question your competence, despite your overwhelming success.
  • The Superhuman: You push yourself to work harder and harder to prove you’re not a fraud.
  • The Natural Genius: You think you aren’t good enough if things don’t come easily, or it takes multiple tries to get it right, despite your current work being the most challenging of your life.
  • The Soloist: You feel the need to accomplish your goals independently—reaching out for help feels like a failure.
  • The Expert: You can never know enough, but you only feel competent when you know everything there is to know about a topic (which, of course, is impossible).

If any of these sound like you, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are things you can do to overcome imposter syndrome and uncover your confidence.

  • Embrace your mistakes. Mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. Each of your mistakes is an opportunity to learn and better yourself, part of a growth mindset. You’re guaranteed to make mistakes, so why not welcome them as opportunities for growth? Cliché, but invaluable advice.
  • Shift your focus. Try to focus more on internal validation rather than external validation and eliminate negative self-talk.
    • Internal validation is your sense of self-satisfaction and internal pride. It comes from within after accomplishing a tough task.
    • External validation comes from feeling proud and accomplished based on external input. For example, positive feedback from a supervisor or receiving a high-performance review.
  • Reframe your self-perception. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were you or your accomplishments. It takes time to achieve great things. You’re not falling short; you’re a masterpiece in progress, so take a deep breath, be patient and keep working at it.

If you are experiencing imposter syndrome or simply want to boost your confidence, think of ways to incorporate these mental health tips into your everyday routine and check back in with yourself to make sure you’re following through. If it’s still hanging around, don’t hesitate to reach out for support from mentors, advisors, or family members. Lifting this burden and the psychological distress it causes will let you focus on what matters to get you where you want to be.




Diversus Health is a mental and behavioral healthcare organization that has been serving the Pikes Peak and tri-county area for over 145 years. If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health, call 719-572-6100 to begin the Same Day Access intake with one of our professional mental health providers at Diversus Health today. If you need immediate assistance, call our crisis hotline at 844-493-8255, text ‘TALK’ to 38255, or visit our 24/7 walk-in crisis center at 115 S. Parkside Dr.


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