What is Imposter Syndrome


Imposter Syndrome is defined as when an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent, internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud. A common phenomenon amongst veterinary professionals. It was first documented in 1978 by Clance and Imes in high achieving women, but has since been shown to affect all genders equally.

It is a not a diagnosis, but a psychological reaction to a set of stimuli. If left unaddressed, for some people it can progress to anxiety and depression.

I go more into this in my free webinars, but this is a brief introduction.

Is it a veterinary specific issue?

This certainly is not isolated to those in the veterinary profession. Medics, dentists, lawyers, business owners, sports people, teachers. Everyone. It is common. You are not alone. This is experienced by vets and nurses at all experience levels, from students to diplomates. A study by the International Journal of Behavioural Science found that up to 70% of men and women have struggled with feeling like a fraud, at some point in this lives. They note that “anyone can view themselves as an imposter if they fail to internalise their success.”

Could this be this you?
Struggling to accept praise and positive feedback. Discounting your own success.Signs of being a victim of Imposter Syndrome include:

  • You may be described as a perfectionist.

  • You may stay behind at work for hours longer than expected

  • You are worried about "failing".

  • You often compare your successes to others.

  • You focus on what you haven't done, rather than what you have. You feel like you didn't earn your qualification, or someone will take them from you.

  • You feel like you are "winging it".

  • Feeling like you got "lucky" or anyone could have done the same.

What are the effects of Imposter Syndrome?

Resulting effects of Imposter Syndrome include:

  • Anxiety and worry.

  • Lack of self-praise.

  • Opportunities being passed up on.

  • Lack of job satisfaction.

  • Avoidance of new tasks.

  • Career changes.

  • Over-working and exhaustion.

  • Feelings of frustration and isolation.

  • Continuous concern over "being found out."

I have adapted a superb strategy that helps you to realise what is actually causing these thoughts, and how you can address it to move forward.