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imposter syndrome

We should feel elated when we receive a promotion. We should grin like the Cheshire Cat when we pass that exam we were crippled with worry over. We should jump for joy when we receive high praise for something we worked so hard for, but alas, that isn’t easy for some people, especially for those with imposter syndrome.

More and more people have stepped forward and shared that they suffer from imposter syndrome, but what exactly is it?


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Imposter syndrome makes people believe that their achievements are solely down to luck. They do not believe that they deserve to succeed.

The doubt can spiral into severe feelings of fear and guilt. Many people feel that they are a fraud or a phony.

People with imposter syndrome feel like they’re wearing a mask and live in fear that one day people will soon realise that they are not worthy of praise, success and simply got lucky.

Joe Langford and Pauline Rose Clance originally believed imposter syndrome was particularly pervasive among females, however, they later discovered this not to be true.

It is believed over 70 percent of the world’s population suffer from imposter syndrome at some point in their lives.

People can feel guilty or undeserving of their achievements. Famous author Maya Angelou even suffered from it, despite the fact that she was an award-winning writer.

“I have written 11 books but each time I think 'Uh-oh, they're going to find out now’. I've run a game on everybody, and they're going to find me out,” the Pulitzer Prize winner once said.

Imposter syndrome affects everyone and anyone, from iconic female poets to young students in Dublin.

Luckily, there are ways to manage it. The main thing to remember is not to let it suffocate you.

One thing that can help is to drown out negative thoughts. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but we often underestimate the power of positive thinking.

Another thing that can help soothe your worries is to take a walk down memory lane and look back at how far you’ve come in recent years. Think of the days when you were in secondary school fretting about passing your history test and now look at yourself as a graduate with a full-time job.


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Remember you’re not the only one struggling with these feelings of doubt. There are so many people going through the same thing so don’t be afraid to open up about it, whether that’s to a colleague, a friend or even a professional.

Leaning on a loved-one and sharing your struggles can help lift that heavy weight off your chest.


Zoe Sugg might be the most successful YouTuber in the biz but that doesn't mean she's immune to mental heath problems.

The 28-year-old, who has more than eleven million subscribers and more than ten million Instagram followers, has proved that not matter how amazing your life looks on social media, that it is rarely the case.

She took  to Instagram to upload a picture of herself smiling in a cafe.

She then got candid about what she was going through. 


I was sat contemplating what to put for the caption of this image for so long & the reason I think I was struggling is because I have major imposter syndrome at the moment! I’m constantly doubting everything I’ve achieved, everything I’m working on business wise & everything I’m working on in my personal life! (Even down to second guessing if I should have said certain things, or “did I do that properly”…it’s bloody annoying haha) It’s such a peculiar feeling & nothing I do seems to make it “less so”. Does anyone else ever feel that way? Tell me how you’re feeling? (Be honest, we’re a happy, encouraging & very considerate bunch over here) A problem shared is a problem halved after all

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She captioned it, ''I have major imposter syndrome at the moment! I’m constantly doubting everything I’ve achieved, everything I’m working on business wise and everything I’m working on in my personal life!”

She continued, ''It’s such a peculiar feeling and nothing I do seems to make it ‘less so’.''

She added, ''Be honest, we’re a happy, encouraging and very considerate bunch over here. A problem shared is a problem halved after all.”

Her followers were quick to give words of wisdom.


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One said, ''I totally get that feeling! it’s only natural but do know that you’ve achieved so much already and done some amazing things already and you’re only 28 so much more is to come. Proud of you always.''

While another wrote, ''These kinda of posts are what keeps me coming back to your account. Thank you for always being real Zoë!!!''

Zoe has spoken before about how she struggles with social media and the impact that it has on her mental health.

She said, ''I spoke a bit last year about the pressure, expectation and fear of posting that I have often experienced throughout my decade of sharing, but now more than ever, I second guess a lot of things I say or post.''

She continued, ''I also know that SO many of you do the same thing (regardless of follower count) and you can end up feeling a little suffocated and disconnected.”

Hear, hear Zoe – it's so refreshing to have people be honest about the pressures of everyday life and making us all feel less alone.


So, you've managed to make it through four years of college, passed your exams with flying colours and even landed your dream job.

Full of enthusiasm, you dive head-first into your new role, before quickly convincing yourself that you're waaaay out of your depth.

At this stage, your inner monologue will probably a sound a little something like this: 

“WTF am I even doing here? – I'm a total fraud and everyone knows it.”

Sound familiar? – You might be suffering from imposter syndrome.

First coined the 1978, imposter syndrome is a term used to describe the feeling of not being worthy of ones achievements – and it's actually more common than you might think.

According to The Guardian, some 70 per cent of successful people across all industries have experienced the phenomenon.

Albert Einstein, David Bowie, Serena Williams and Meryl Streep are just some of the well-known faces to admit to having felt inferior at some point in their careers – proving that the syndrome can indeed be overcome.

Here's some some tips to help you cope:

1. Stop being so hard on yourself 

People often feel like imposters in their own lives because they are constantly striving to be better. It's hard to feel like your talents are worthy of praise when you don't believe it yourself.

More often than not, we act as our own worst critics, and it's this self-deprecating attitude that causes us to believe we're not good enough. 

Instead, try to accept your skills and talents for what they are and work from there. And remember, your boss wouldn't have hired you if they didn't think you were capable. 

2. Confide in colleagues 

There's a pretty high chance you're not the only one in your job that feels this way. 

Share your concern with close friends and co-workers, and you'll soon realise that you are by no means alone. 

Knowing that there are others around you in the same position makes the fear so much easier to deal with – there's strength in numbers, after all. 

3. Don't compare yourself to others 

We'll admit, this one is easier said than done. 

It's difficult to watch college friends and colleagues climb the career ladder while you're still stuck in an entry-level job, but don't get too bogged down with other people's achievements. 

Sure, they probably worked hard to get where they are, but who's to say a little bit of luck didn't have anything to do with it? 

Your time will come. 

4. Learn to accept praise 

People who suffer from imposter syndrome often feel as though external praise lacks authenticity.

Well-deserved approval can sometimes be mistaken for a patronising pat on the back, and it's this kind of thinking that leaves us feeling like total phonies. 

Make a note of every "well done" and "great job" you receive, and read back over them when you're feeling inadequate. 

5. Keep pursuing your goals 

For lack of a better term, f**k the haters and keep doing what you're doing. 

It takes a lot of courage to set aside the self-doubt and continue towards your goals, but pushing through regardless of how you're feeling is by far the best way to overcome your fears. 

You'd be surprised at what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.