Imposter Syndrome Imposter Syndrome
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Imposter Syndrome, so what is it?

But what if am not as good as everybody thinks I am? What if I do not really belong here? What if people have overestimated my abilities and will later find out that I’m nothing but a fraud? What if I do not really deserve this achievement? Ladies and gentleman, to anyone that has ever struggled with imposter syndrome, these questions are definitely no strangers to the vacant space in your mind. They plague your thoughts and roam your mind freely like a tenant that has paid one year’s worth of rent in your headspace all at once.

So what is imposter syndrome? Imposter syndrome refers to feelings of shame and guilt because a person does not feel that they truly deserve their job or accomplishments. It’s as if everything they have achieved is a result of serendipitous luck as opposed to their talent and hard work.

Not sure if you suffer from imposter syndrome? Check this out

Symptoms of imposter syndrome range from perfectionism, where one sets extremely high standards for themselves, and constantly feels like they cannot accomplish a goal or start a project unless everything is absolutely “perfect” (which will never be and that’s PERFECTLY okay), the need to be “superwoman” or “superman” and excel in each and every sector of life. Failure in one aspect of life makes people suffering from imposter syndrome feel like total failures in EVERY other aspect of their lives. Imposter syndrome is also usually accompanied by the need to constantly feel like one has to work harder than everyone else in order to prove that they are not an “imposter”.

Dangers of Imposter Syndrome

Left unchecked, feelings of imposter syndrome may actually alter your course of destiny. For instance, you may find yourself never applying for challenging career roles because you feel you’ll never make the cut. Or you may find yourself micromanaging everything and not being a team player because you want everything to be perfect so you try to do everything yourself. Or you may even trade in your family time for longer work hours because you feel that you need put all your energy and strength into your work. You might become extremely difficult to work with because you take constructive criticism too personally and constantly need reassurance. Imposter syndrome makes you a slave to external validation. But the saddest pitfall about imposter syndrome is that you live your entire life not embracing the journey, continuosly living each moment to the next trying to be an over-achiever.

Sad Statistics

Not surprisingly, more women than men tend to be particularly vulnerable into experiencing imposter syndrome due to cultural demands and impositions. Their achievements not often celebrated well enough and are coupled with the pressure to dumb down. One feels like they have to work overtime and be the perfect boss, the perfect colleague, the perfect partner, the perfect mother, the perfect everything, lest they be seen again as an imposter. It’s exhausting.

For the longest time, I too struggled with finding my place. I always wondered if I was actually capable, if I was actually smart, if I actually deserved the things that I had accomplished, or even sometimes made trivia of what I had managed to accomplish. Imposter syndrome and the need to be “perfect” shackled my every move and caged my wings. I ruminated constantly about whether to do or say or start something, by worrying that if I did it and it didn’t work out, then people would think less of me. Again, it was exhausting.

I dare you…

Today as you read this article, I want to dare you. I want to dare you to live. I dare you to live life without fear of failure, without fear of making mistakes, without fear of appearing “imperfect”, without fear of not always having it together and finally without fear of appearing like an imposter. It’s quite unfortunate, that it’s usually the people that are plagued with feelings of imposter syndrome that are the most worthy and deserving in the room, but they never let themselves own it.

Not to sound dismal, but we only have one life to live. Do not live that life playing small and feeling unworthy. There are people out there that do not possess even a hundredth of your potential that are doing everything you aspire to be simply because they possess the confidence and self-belief of a god. Today, I dare you to free yourself. Free yourself from feeling that you do not “belong” or do not “deserve”. You are only an imposter when you dim your potential out of fear instead of basking in your highest form of authenticity and truest version of yourself. Today, let’s take this dare together, and dare to finally start living. No second thoughts, no regrets…

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Hilda Tizeba
Written by

Hilda Tizeba

I am a lecturer and the CEO and Founder of a mental health organisation called Guided Path. I strive to eliminate stigma through education, advocacy and utilising the law to bring forth meaningful policy and legal reform in the mental health sector in Tanzania.

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