Part II: Who Gets Imposter Syndrome?

In Part I, What is Imposter Syndrome? What It Is and How It Affects You, we explored the feelings of self-doubt many high-achievers experience. Imposter syndrome is a common psychological phenomenon that affects most adults at some point in their lives, but not everyone experiences it to the same degree. In this article, we’ll explore who is most susceptible to imposter syndrome and why.

Personality Traits That Contribute to Imposter Syndrome

Certain personality traits can make an individual more susceptible to imposter syndrome than others. For example, individuals who are highly conscientious and detail-oriented may set high standards for themselves – too high – and feel like a failure when they can’t live up to those standards. Perfectionists may also be more likely to experience imposter syndrome due to their tendency to focus on their mistakes and flaws rather than their accomplishments. Individuals who are highly anxious may also be more susceptible to imposter syndrome. Anxiety can lead to self-doubt and a lack of confidence in one’s abilities, which can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and “being a fraud.”

Environmental Factors That Contribute to Imposter Syndrome

Environmental factors can also contribute to imposter syndrome. For example, individuals who are part of a minority group in a particular field or industry may feel like they don’t belong and that their achievements are not valued. This can lead to feelings of being insufficient.

Professional Fields That Are Susceptible to Imposter Syndrome

Individuals in highly competitive or high-pressure environments like first-generation college students may be more susceptible to imposter syndrome. And, people who have a high degree of responsibility like C-Suite executives, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, or those working in medicine or technology where the pace of innovation consistently requires new skills are more likely to experience symptoms of imposter syndrome. The pressure to perform at a high level may cause them to doubt their competence.

Similarly, individuals in the creative fields, such as writers, artists, and musicians, may be more susceptible to imposter syndrome due to the subjective nature of their work and the lack of objective standards for success.

So, now you know – imposter syndrome can affect anyone! But certain personality traits and environmental factors may make you more likely to experience these kinds of feelings. By understanding the factors that contribute to imposter syndrome, you can learn to recognize and overcome it. But if you’re still wondering, “is it imposter syndrome?” check out our Imposter Syndrome Quiz:

Take The Quiz

1. How often do you doubt your abilities as a business leader?
A. Almost always
B. Sometimes
C. Rarely
D. Never

2. How often do you feel like you’re “faking it” at work?
A. Almost always
B. Sometimes
C. Rarely
D. Never

3. How often do you feel like you don’t deserve your success?
A. Almost always
B. Sometimes
C. Rarely
D. Never

4. How often do you compare yourself to others in your industry?
A. Almost always
B. Sometimes
C. Rarely
D. Never

5. How often do you feel like you’re not qualified to be a leader?
A. Almost always
B. Sometimes
C. Rarely
D. Never

6. How often do you fear being exposed as a fraud or a failure?
A. Almost always
B. Sometimes
C. Rarely
D. Never

7. How often do you attribute your success to luck or external factors?
A. Almost always
B. Sometimes
C. Rarely
D. Never

8. How often do you feel like you need to work harder than everyone else to prove yourself?
A. Almost always
B. Sometimes
C. Rarely
D. Never

9. How often do you feel like your accomplishments are not good enough?
A. Almost always
B. Sometimes
C. Rarely
D. Never

10. How often do you feel like you’re not as competent as other entrepreneurs in your industry?
A. Almost always
B. Sometimes
C. Rarely
D. Never

Scoring:

For questions 1-10, assign 1 point for every “A” answer, 2 points for every “B” answer, 3 points for every “C” answer, and 4 points for every “D” answer.

If your score is:

10-15 points: You may be experiencing imposter syndrome, but it is likely a normal response to the challenges of being an entrepreneur. Remember, everyone feels insecure from time to time.

16-25 points: You may be experiencing moderate imposter syndrome. It’s important to remember that your feelings are not based on reality and to focus on your accomplishments and strengths.

26-40 points: You may be experiencing severe imposter syndrome. It’s important to seek professional help to work through these feelings and learn to recognize and appreciate your accomplishments and strengths.

Looking for support? Check out our peer advisory program and join the interest to list to find out when our next cohort begins. Learn how to manage these feelings – check out Part III: How Imposter Syndrome Shows Up: Recognizing + Overcoming Self-doubt.