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Do you have impostor syndrome?
Do you have impostor syndrome?

Do you constantly doubt yourself and your performance in everyday work? A psychosocial counselor explains why it is and how you can change it.


Everyone has one or two self-doubts every now and then … Even Hollywood stars like Emma Watson, Kate Winslet and Natalie Portman often feel that they do not deserve their success. But if your thoughts constantly revolve around the fact that you are “actually not good enough” or that you “can't do anything”, you could be affected by the so-called impostor syndrome or imposter syndrome.

Admittedly, the term impostor is a bit misleading at first: Usually it is used to describe people who present themselves better than they are. If you are affected by the syndrome, however, exactly the opposite is the case - you judge your performance worse and, as a result, do not trust yourself too much.

"I do not meet all the required criteria …"

Bettina Zehetner, 51, is a psychosocial advisor and specializes in supporting women in all life situations. She has come across the syndrome quite often.

In her consultations, she made the experience that women are often less proud of their achievements than men: "When you submit a job offer, most of them will say:" I do not meet all the required criteria ", most men will answer 'Sure can I mean, what is the payment? '."

Their assessment can also be scientifically proven: A 2017 study by three Canadian universities found that female students are more likely to suffer from impostor syndrome than male students. The "American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology" delivered similar results in 2020: that women in general, regardless of their academic degree, show more "imposter" tendencies.

Women at work

Basically, it is okay to question yourself, because: "Self-doubts can stimulate me to realize my potential even better. If you can accept criticism well, you can develop further." However, it becomes harmful and demotivating when you use your skills and can judge their own self-worth poorly. This causes confusion, especially in the professional environment, for superiors and colleagues: "If I don't know my self-worth, how should others be able to judge me and my performance correctly? It doesn't help anyone, themselves To make yourself small and not notice your own successes and competencies. But it is of course also counterproductive to perceive yourself as omniscient and omnipotent. " But: When in doubt, it is always better to portray yourself a little better than worse.

But why do women often not feel good enough at work? According to Zehetner's assessment, the reasons lie in our society, which: "We still disregard women and want to assign them stereotypical roles. Many have devaluing experiences."

Make it small Please do not

Consequences of the impostor syndrome range from the fear of being "exposed" to depressive moods or standing in the way of one's own professional career. Therefore, you should deal with yourself and your abilities and find out whether you can do more than you think you can - and are more suitable than you think. There is probably no lack of skills, but rather self-confidence … But good news: you can work on that. And should the job really overwhelm you, you can relax in between - even in hectic everyday life.

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