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Neuro-psychobiological Underpinnings Of Impostor Syndrome

  • 21st Dec'21

Aim high to hold yourself to a high standard for success and productivity. A famous quote is there, “shoot for the stars, you’ll land on the moon.” Likewise, if you build high standards, no one else can stop you from reaching success. 

Being perfect is not possible; everyone has their own positive and negative points. So, don’t quickly judge and set yourself away from unreachable goals. If you’re determined, nothing is impossible, and you can quickly achieve your goals. 

“I didn’t really see anyone who looks like me doing what I did, and this whole impostor syndrome thing, it’s a real thing. Especially when I’ve come from rooms that are filled with just white people and me,” said Candice Carty-Williams.

The person who suffers from impostor syndrome always doubts reaching their goal. They feel things are so complicated and tend to have a mindset of impossibility. Even if they’re going in the right direction and have better skills, they end up feeling lost. 

Impostor syndrome and perfectionism are two inseparable terms that can damange mindset. These people simply feed their mindset to be hopeless and behave less charged.

Maya Angelou says, “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.”

Impostor syndrome is something related to a sense of self-doubt. The people who suffer from this disorder tend to feel like losing despite their high chance of winning. This will break down their pathways from success and stop them from reaching goals. 

However, a person who suffers from impostor syndrome may not experience the same defects. The symptoms or thoughts can be different for every individual. 

According to Abby Rawlinson, a UK-based integrative psychotherapist, “a person who deals with impostor syndrome has five types of experience: the Perfectionist, the Superhero, the Expert, the Soloist, and the Natural Genius.” 

The underpinnings of impostor syndrome are crucial for humans. Here are five key steps to escape from impostor syndrome and contribute yourself towards success.


1. Be Aware Of It

“It never goes away,” she said. “It’s sort of like ‘you’re actually listening to me?’ It doesn’t go away, that feeling of ‘I don’t know if the world should take me seriously; I’m just Michelle Robinson, that little girl on the south side who went to public school’.” Michelle Obama

Ensure to boost your self-awareness; this is the first step to succeed over self-doubt. Don't be afraid about things that will happen out of your actions. Perfectionism can sometimes move you away from the success pathway. 

People are more judgmental and set more standards for themselves. This will never help you to do more and prove you at work. However, you can try to analyze your fear and protect yourself from it. This self-awareness will illuminate your mindset in a good way and help you achieve goals.


2. Improve Your Self-Task

“I have spent my years since Princeton, while at law school and in my various professional jobs, not feeling completely a part of the worlds I inhabit. I am always looking over my shoulder wondering if I should measure up.” - Sonia Sotomayor.

The fact is the message you tell yourself will help you to achieve in life. You’re reinforcing in this process and pushing yourself to do things at ease. But don’t take it as a specific task that will result in anxiety and stress. 

You don’t have to achieve specific things to be successful. Instead, you can try to boost up like advising a friend. I would suggest that a person who can support them like a friend can achieve greater things. Being a perfectionist is not always important. 

As a human, you might be imperfect at certain things. This is common, so build your internal messaging positively.


3. Try To Make Hard Tasks Into Simple

“Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great,” “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.” - Maya Angelou.

Sometimes our mind used to think hard tasks are not achievable. What can you do at this moment? You can train your mind to split hard tasks into smaller ones. 

This will help you to manage the tasks easily. Your mind will get trained to perform the easy tasks in a shorter term. Also, you can achieve in everything you do irrespective of the complexity in tasks.


4. Write Your Achievements

“You think, ‘Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? And I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?’ - Meryl Streep.

Make a habit of writing about your achievements. This will help you to win some hard circumstances. For instance, if your manager is sending you an appreciation email. Just bookmark to read it later, even if your friend tells you that he liked how you handled some hard situations cleverly. 

Mark the message; all these things will help you to win self-doubt. You can even make an accomplishment reminder on your phone or laptop. This will boost your mind and help to reduce stress at some point in life.


5. Do A Reality Check

“[It was] the same way when I walked on the campus at Yale. I thought everybody would find out, and they’d take the Oscar back. They’d come to my house, knocking on the door, ‘Excuse me, we meant to give that to someone else. That was going to Meryl Streep.’ - Jodi Foster.

If you look into Jodi Foster's criticism of herself, you’ll think she doesn’t trust reality. That’s how a person who is in self-doubt becomes their own harshest critic. Talk to your loved ones and share your thoughts. 

Ask them for feedback; this will help you to identify your mistakes. It can be anyone that you trust; sharing your ideas or work will only improve in the end. Don’t lose track and be equipped to handle even the hardest things.

Do you feel like an impostor? Never lose your mind; you can easily overcome it with practice and time. Generally, self-doubt is a part of every human being. You can easily win everything with a positive attitude. Try to trust yourself, do things to prove, and leave the rest to the outcomes.


Shellye is committed to helping people from diverse backgrounds to achieve their aspirations in careers and life. The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

Shellye Archambeau is determined to help you with all possible strategies to climb the ladder of success. She values your feedback. Do mention them in the comment section below.


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