Imposter syndrome: do you suffer from it?

Imposter syndrome: do you suffer from it?

A combination of anxiety and lack of self-confidence, imposter syndrome results in a feeling that one is “faking it” and causes people to play down their merits and successes. Does that sound familiar? Take the test to find out if imposter syndrome — which can affect even the most brilliant businesswomen — affects you too.

Tip: Keep a tally of your points by using the calculator app on your smartphone!

1. Have you ever chalked up a promotion or new job to luck or your professional connections?

a. Yes  (1 point)
b. No  (2 points)

2. Despite your successes, do you secretly worry that you are not up to the demands of your job?

a. Yes  (1 point)
b. No  (2 points)

3. You are congratulated for your contribution to a successful team project. How do you respond?

a. “Oh, I’m just doing my job.” (1 point)
b. “It’s all thanks to my team.” (2 points)
c. “Thank you very much.” (3 points)

4. You are given a new assignment, but you find yourself stumbling up against questions for which you don’t have any answers. Do you dare ask for help?

a. Yes  (2 points)
b. No  (1 point)

5. You are getting ready to speak in front of dozens of people. Do you dread the idea of being inadequately prepared or being criticized?

a. Yes  (1 point)
b. No  (2 points)

6. You are informed that your last report was not quite up to par, that it lacked accuracy. Do you spend hours agonizing over this type of comment?

a. Yes  (1 point)
b. No  (2 points)

7. One of your colleagues is singled out for their fine work during a meeting. What is your initial reflex?

a. I applaud her wholeheartedly; she really deserves this recognition. (2 points)
b. For a moment, I wonder if I’m as talented and appreciated as her.  (1 point)

8. You signed a major contract with a client. Just as everyone is congratulating you for your courage and tenacity, you think…

a. “It wasn’t that hard, this client doesn’t know how to negotiate.”  (1 point)
b. “I’m really proud of myself!” (2 points)

9. When you reflect on your career path, you think to yourself…

a. “Wow, I’m so lucky to have met all of these great people who helped me along the way!” (1 point)
b. “Working hard was really worth it.” (2 points)

You occasionally suffer from imposter syndrome.

Like around 65% of the population, you ascribe your success to luck, circumstances, or your professional connections. Even though it doesn’t completely stop your progress, imposter syndrome sometimes prevents you from fully enjoying your successes and seizing interesting opportunities.

Here are some tips to help you avoid imposter syndrome:

  • Make a list of your skills and qualities to help make you aware of your worth.
  • Make it a habit to say “thank you” to take ownership of your accomplishments.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Being talented doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone. No one will think you’re less capable because you ask for help when you need it.
  • Have faith in people. The people listening to you give a presentation or who give you an assignment are not waiting for you to trip up. They are there with you because they believe in your abilities.
  • Learn to accept criticism. You’re getting feedback that your report lacks accuracy? It’s not about being no good; it’s a matter of knowing you can do better. Adjust, turn the page and move on.
It looks like you don’t suffer from imposter syndrome. Well done!

You are part of a select group—according to a U.S. study, between 60% and 70% of the population suffers from frequent or occasional imposter syndrome.
Although you are able to recognize your value and make it known to others, do you sometimes worry that your assurance could be perceived as arrogance? Here’s some advice on how to shine without worrying about overdoing it:

  • Avoid false modesty: it’s easy to spot. When you are congratulated for your successes, a sincere “thank you” and a smile is all you need.
  • Recognize the talents of others. Always give others credit where credit is due.
  • Be thankful. Your successes have nothing to do with luck, but you are very lucky if you are surrounded by people who recognize and highlight your talent and your successes. Be thankful.

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Catherine Bergeron


As a writer for over 15 years, Catherine Bergeron has contributed to many publications. She loves finding the right words to inspire, help, and inform by sharing truths, great and small.