Home  >  My Life  >  Reflections

Imposter Syndrome: 20 Signs and Ways to Stop Feeling like a Fake

If you feel if someone knew who you really were, or what you felt on the inside, they would see the fake you. You just might have the imposter syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome

We have all been in the situation where we feel we are in over our heads. Whether it is your first day on the job or presenting yourself to a group as an “authority,” there are some things that alters our self-image and makes us wonder who and what we really are. The imposter syndrome is when someone is extremely fearful they will be found out as a fake, even though they aren’t.

The imposter syndrome is a condition where someone who is highly intelligent or excels in a specific area doesn’t have the ability to internalize their own accomplishments. In not being able to do so, they don’t feel worthy of the respect, adoration, or authority they receive.

Because they don’t recognize their many gifts and talents, they feel as if someone knew the real them, they would certainly figure them out as a fraud.

Telltale signs you have a case of imposter syndrome

People with the imposter syndrome live their daily life feeling as if they live a lie. They don’t feel they deserve what they have. They are convinced they didn’t achieve what they have. Consequently, they refuse to admit their accomplishments have anything to do with who they are. They view their success as entirely external.

#1 You are a perfectionist. If you are a perfectionist and won’t give anything but 210%, then you just might have imposter syndrome. Never feeling like what you do or what you have to give is good enough or authentic and worthwhile, you strive to do better than your best. [Read: How to finally get over the fear of not being good enough]

#2 You always work overtime. You always work overtime to get it right, even well after it is right. Working on something ad nauseum when you knew the answer to begin with, but keep going over it again and again won’t make it any more “right.” You just beat yourself up because you feel like a fake. [Read: How to stop overthinking: 11 strategies for more piece]

#3 You refuse to relish in your accomplishments If you see all your accomplishments and successes as something outside of you, you probably feel like a fake.

Sure, there are times when we all feel like we just came upon something, but if that is the way you feel about everything you have done, then you don’t take the credit you should.

#4 You have an extreme fear of failure. We all fear failure, but if you have an extreme and unrealistic fear, then you have a case of imposter syndrome. [Read: Fear of failure and why you shouldn’t be afraid to fail]

#5 You disconnect from any praise thrown your way. If you refuse to accept any compliments or praise, then you don’t think you are worthy. You see all your achievements outside of what you have done.

#6 You feel like a fake. You feel like if anyone knew what you were really like, what goes on in your head, or how insecure you are and how much doubt you have, they certainly wouldn’t ever think highly of you.

#7 You always attribute your successes to luck. You were just in the right place at the right time. You never earned your success, fought your way to the top, or studied your ass off; things all lined up?

#8 You are a high achiever, always have been. It isn’t that you one day woke up and decided to put your nose to the grindstone to get what you wanted. You have always been driven, a hard worker, and highly intelligent. It just came so naturally you didn’t recognize that you worked your ass off to achieve what you have.

#9 You have very little confidence in your performance, even if you hide it. If you feel like you pretend to be someone confident while you shrivel inside with insecurity, then you probably feel fake. [Read: How to build self-confidence: 16 ways to realize you’re worth it]

#10 You use charm to mask your feelings of insecurity. If you feel like you must have a distraction so that no one sees the real you by using charm and wit to hide your insecurities, then you hide inner feelings of a fraud.

#11 You doubt yourself continually. If everything you put your name to causes you angst, anxiety, and overwhelming fear of failure, then you don’t believe you know what you are doing, even when you do.

#12 You over-prepare, go back and do things again and again, and aren’t ever done until you must be. If you finished the test twenty minutes into it, but are the last to hand it in because you go over it a thousand times, then you probably doubt yourself a little too much.

Ways to overcome the imposter syndrome

If you find yourself continually feeling like a fake, that isn’t healthy. Nor is it a fun way to live life. Enjoying your success and not hiding out trying not to be “found out” instead. If you have the imposter syndrome, the good news is there are ways to overcome it.

#1 Accept your accomplishments. If you don’t start seeing the part you play in your own accomplishments, you aren’t ever going to recognize you played a huge part in getting where you are. [Read: 15 feel-good secrets to feel better about yourself]

#2 Take luck out of the equations. Stop putting luck into the equation. Luck only accounts for what, half? So, if you are only half responsible for 100% greatness, take it and run!

#3 Take a mental note of the number of people with positive things to say about you. The more people who agree that you are brilliant, the more you can be confident that they are right. Even if you have a hard time believing in you, no one else around you does, so let it go.

#4 Stop comparing yourself to others. The only person that you should ever be comparing yourself with is you. If you outdo yourself time and time again, then that is the only competition you should worry about.

There might always be someone smarter than you, that is just the way the world works. But, that doesn’t negate your talents or diminish your accomplishments. [Read: How to overcome the things that keep you stuck]

#5 Being wrong doesn’t make you a fake. Everyone is wrong at some point. That doesn’t erase all the times you’re right. Stop focusing on the negative and accept the positive.

#6 Recognize that NO ONE knows what they are doing and second guesses themselves. We all second guess ourselves at times. No one is perfect. We all harbor doubts about who and what we are; it is human nature and part of humanity.

#7 Find someone to confide in. If you let your secret out of the bag, it won’t be a secret anymore. If you confide in someone and hear yourself say it out loud, you just might hear the error of your ways. At a minimum, let someone besides yourself know that you are a fraud and ease your conscience. [Read: 21 steps to raise your sense of self and feel like a million bucks]

#8 Realize we all fake it! We ALL fake it! Every one of us has felt that we don’t know what we are doing. Whether it is being a parent and winging it, being the newbie at the office, or teaching a class for the first time, we ALL faked it at some point.

I want to let you in on a little secret, every time I write a feature, I think to myself “what do I have to give the world?” The truth is that if I help one person feel better about their life or themselves, then if I am a fake… so be it! You have so much to give those around you. Stop second guessing who and what you are and just let yourself have it.

[Read: How to stop being insecure and transform your life]

The real truth about the imposter syndrome is that the only people who are truly faking it are the ones who never think they are.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

Julie Keating

A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...

Follow Julie on