The Upside of Imposter Syndrome


Imposter Syndrome

The feeling that your achievements are not real or that you do not deserve praise or success

Cambridge Dictionary

Up until now, Imposter Syndrome has generally been viewed as an obstacle to success, but what if we viewed Imposter Syndrome in a positive light? It’s refreshing to come across perspectives that challenge the conventional notion of Imposter Syndrome being a negative experience.

A recent article by Jeff Haden on claims, “If You Experience Imposter Syndrome, Science Says You’re Probably More Interpersonally Effective and Likely to Enjoy Greater Success”.

Haden’s article presents a novel outlook on Imposter Syndrome that may surprise you, particularly if you have ever experienced the notion that your achievements are not deserved.

According to the article, experiencing Imposter Syndrome can actually have beneficial effects. It suggests that this feeling prompts us to become better listeners, ask insightful questions, and become more adept at recognizing and praising others.

Leaders who exhibit Imposter Syndrome are seen as more effective in their interpersonal interactions, which positively impacts their performance and competence-related outcomes.

What’s more, a touch of Imposter Syndrome not only makes us more likeable, but also motivates us to work harder and earn the recognition we deserve.

Yet, what is perhaps the article’s greatest revelations are the following points:

  1. The power of the narratives we create for ourselves. How can we transform our stories and beliefs into sources of motivation, self-confidence, and the drive to achieve our goals and dreams?
  2. The critical concept of balance: just like with anxiety, Imposter Syndrome can have positive effects when experienced in moderation. It only becomes toxic when it immobilizes us, causing us to miss out on opportunities and abandon our dreams.

Next time you experience imposter syndrome, try not to see it as a negative thing. Embrace it. Know that shifting your focus to the surrounding team can be a really positive thing. Imposter syndrome can give you the added motivation to put in the time and effort to focus introspectively and see that you do deserve your successes and that you are as talented as you have been led to believe by those around you.