What is imposter syndrome?  The Caltech Counseling Centre describes it as “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persists even in the face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt and feelings of intellectual fraudulence”.

People suffering from imposter syndrome believe that they are not as good or smart or intelligent as they appear to be. They are plagued by self doubt and think they do not deserve the success they have achieved. They think they are phonies and are always scared the others will figure out that they are faking their achievements.

Luck is given all the credit

They refuse to believe that they are successful because of their efforts – in their mind, luck is given all the credit as they think they will not be able to repeat this success again later. They also tend to underplay their victories and do not like accepting peoples’ praise for their work.

All in all they are uncomfortable taking credit for their accomplishments because they firmly believe they have done nothing to deserve it.

Emotional and psychological problems

This kind of mindset can lead to emotional and psychological problems. This can happen to anyone, not necessarily to working people alone. But when it happens to an entrepreneur or someone who is running a business, this can spell the death-knell for the business.

If you think your work is not good, if you feel that the positive results you have obtained in your business are actually neither good nor an outcome of your ability, if you believe that you do not merit the acclaim you are receiving and that you are undeserving, then the whole purpose behind your business goes kaput.

Serious implications

This can have very serious implications for your business. Your enthusiasm and the desire to do well dries up. You no longer see the need to put in effort. Your work quality gets into a downward spiral as you spend time worrying about your perceived abilities and keep thinking that everybody will realize that you are no good. This takes a toll of your ability to focus and stay on top of things. Consequently business suffers, profits dip and your insecurities get worse.

Being subject to imposter syndrome is thus a major setback when you are trying to run a business and make a success of it. It has been seen that successful people are more prone to this problem than others. In addition, as people improve in terms of performance, they are more likely to fall prey to this syndrome.

Should not become chronic

Everyone goes through these feelings some time or the other but if it becomes chronic then problems and difficulties creep into your ability to handle work and other aspects of your life.

To deal with this issue, discuss things with a well-wisher or a mentor who can talk you out of your feelings of inadequacies. Or make a list of your successes and talents and refer back to them every time you feel you are unworthy and useless. Don’t let these feelings of insecurities undermine your efforts and your successes. Try and differentiate between reality – that you are successful because of your abilities – and delusion – that you are useless and incapable of achieving anything worthwhile.

Believe that you are good and keep believing it – so that you can make a success of your business. Don’t fall a victim to the deadly impostor syndrome.