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Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Spot The Signs And Build Your Finances

profileHui Juan Neo

Are you constantly doubting yourself and feeling like your achievements are undeserving?

This might be a sign of imposter syndrome.

Source: Tenor

Imposter syndrome is the feeling when one believes that he or she is not as capable as others perceive them to be, hence undeserved of their achievements, or that they have come far solely by chance.

People who experience imposter syndrome may also fear they’ll be exposed as frauds.

If you’ve been feeling this way, we’re here to share with you how you can overcome this feeling of inadequacy.


TL;DR: What is Imposter Syndrome, Who Suffers, How It Affects Your Finances And How To Overcome It

Click here to jump:

Sources: American Psychological Association, Anasa.com, Cleveland Clinic, The Wall Street Journal, Womenwhomoney.com and mindmoneybalance


What Is Imposter Syndrome?

NGL. I’ve had my moments where I feel that I don’t deserve certain achievements.

This is the feeling that you’re not worthy of success, and you keep telling yourself that you cannot fail, because you can’t risk letting others know that you’re not qualified.

But, I’m not alone.

Source: Tenor

Despite their exceptional academic and professional achievements, many women suffer from the imposter syndrome.

This phenomenon of self-doubt leads one to believe that their successes were attributed to them working harder than others, and/or by sheer luck.

They believe that they are not brilliant and have deceived anybody who believes otherwise.

According to a 2020 global survey by workplace application tool Asana, Singaporean workers are more likely to experience imposter syndrome.

Nearly 74% of Singaporeans are experiencing imposter syndrome as a result of feeling overworked and uncertain over roles, while 83% have experienced burnout.

Here are some signs of the phenomenon.

Signs of Imposter Syndrome

  • Attribute the success to external factors even though you were well prepared and worked hard for a project’s success
  • Find it difficult to accept praises or compliments from others about your success
  • Make excuses for yourself when you haven’t done anything wrong
  • Hold yourself to extremely high (and often impossible) standards
  • Strong fear of failing
  • Afraid that displaying confidence may be perceived as overcompensating or annoying
  • Experience some kind of anxiety
  • Believe you are inadequate.

What Triggers Imposter Syndrome?

Source: Tenor

There are no specific causes of imposter syndrome.

However, most researchers pointed out that this phenomenon could stamp from factors such as family history, culture, background, upbringing and personality traits.

In fact, a well-known study by Pauline Rose Clance & Suzanne Imes found that “imposters” are typically categorised into two groups, in relation to early family history.

The first group consists of those who have a sibling or close relative who is considered the “intelligent” member of the family.

Conversely, the “imposter” was told that he or she is the “sensitive” or socially adept” one in the family.

That then leads to the feeling that they can never prove that they are just as bright regardless of what they have accomplished intellectually.

The second group consists of those who were told they can do anything and are superior in every way.

However, when the individual begins to have experiences in which cannot do any and everything they want to, they might still feel obligated to fulfil the expectations of the family.

Similarly, this then leads to distrust of their parents’ perceptions of them, hence they began doubting themselves.

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Who Is Most Likely To Suffer From Imposter Syndrome?

Source: Tenor

While both men and women can be affected by imposter syndrome, the study found that more women suffer from this syndrome.

Particularly those who are highly educated and respected in their professional fields.

Why do so many intelligent women, despite consistent and impressive accolades, continue seeing themselves as people who pretend to be bright?

This is due to women consistently having lower expectations than men in their ability to perform successfully on a wide variety of tasks.

Source: Tenor

In keeping with their lower expectations, they are more prone to attribute their successes to external variables such as luck or effort.

Men, on the other hand, are more likely to attribute their successes to their own skills.

Women are also more likely to perceive failure due to a lack of skill, whereas males are more likely to attribute failure to luck or task complexity.

With these, women have also internalised the normative sex-role stereotype that they are not regarded as competent since they have lower expectations for their own performances.

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So, How Can Imposter Syndrome Affect How We Perceive Money?

Imposter syndrome has been said to have an effect on work performance and how we perceive money.

You may feel like you don’t deserve your wage, downplay your financial successes, or speak negatively about your money.

Source: Tenor

Some of the things you might be thinking include “I’m only well-paid because I’m the only minority here”.

To put it simply, you’re underestimating your financial capabilities.

You might also be setting high financial objectives for yourself, convincing yourself that you’re excellent only until you’ve saved a specific amount.

If not, it could be goals such as being able to pay off your debts or improve your credit score.

However, if you’re chronically overworking, you’re probably not getting enough sleep or looking after your health.

This could add a tremendous amount of stress to your life leading to exhaustion and…. burnout.

Source: Giphy

Your work performance would suffer as a result, which could have an impact on your earning potential.

If you’re burned out, you might need to seek medical help, which could harm your financial situation.

Furthermore, imposter syndrome causes psychological pain and self-doubt,

These can hinder you from applying for positions with more responsibility and higher pay.

Similarly, you may put off asking for a raise or considering pursuing an advanced degree, both of which could help you grow your career.

Imposter syndrome can also keep you from being a successful entrepreneur since it makes you doubt your ability and make you feel doomed to fail before you even begin.

Because of the emotional toll, you may find yourself lacking the energy to start a side business to supplement your income.

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How Do We Overcome Imposter Syndrome?

There are multiple ways to help yourself when you are experiencing this phenomenon.

1. Be Kind To Yourself, Acknowledge & Celebrate Your Success

The imposter phenomenon will certainly interfere less with your well-being as you learn to work through it.

However, they may still come back.

Source: Giphy

You can start by embracing your successes and accomplishments.

Tell yourself that you deserve the praises, the pay raise and the promotion.

It is not just because of your hard work, but also because you’re capable to complete the tasks.

When there’re achievements, celebrate them and don’t downplay your successes.

2. Use This Mentality to Catalyse Personal Growth

As you start acknowledging that you might be bogged down by inner voices, you can also turn these voices into motivations for personal growth.

Take the chance to encourage yourself to learn more from those around you and adopt a development mentality.

3. Share Your Imposter Feelings With Others, Including Failures

Sharing your feelings with another person helps reduce loneliness and opens doors for others to share what they see in you.

Source: Tenor

Choose who you’re sharing with wisely such as trusted individuals.

They can be outside your professional circle and can provide a more helpful picture of your accomplishments and value.

4. Focus On Your Personal/Career Progress Instead of Perfectionism

You can adjust your standards for success and focus on your progress instead of aiming for perfection.

Many people with impostor syndrome are high achievers who hold themselves to extremely high standards.

They are dedicated to doing their best and being the greatest.

But, no one can do everything perfectly.

Holding yourself to such standards can actually be counterproductive, hence becoming a roadblock for yourself.

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Closing Thoughts

If you know anyone who may potentially suffer from imposter syndrome, try to raise it up to them and help in the process.

After all, no one likes feeling like they are not good enough.

It can be difficult to overcome, but with a mindset shift, it is possible to do so.

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome before?

Share your thoughts with us by creating a free Seedly account and start a discussion on Seedly Community today!

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