David Billings on Unsplash

Ever feel like no matter how hard you try, you don't quite measure up to your own expectation, even if you've had successes in life?

You're not alone, and that notion of feeling like a failure is referred to as Imposter Syndrome.

People wanting to avoid being associated with Imposter Syndrome, or "perceived fraudulence," try even harder to succeed but never achieve their impossibly unattainable benchmarks in life.


Seeking advice from strangers online, Redditor FossaRed asked those who might be familiar with the phenomenon the following question:

"'Impostor syndrome' is persistent feeling that causes someone to constantly doubt themselves and their abilities, despite evidence, and fear that they may be exposed as a fraud. Reddit, do you feel this way about work or school? How do you overcome it, if at all?"

Although everyone has different strategies, there were good points made that could apply to one's specific mental hurdles.

Helpful Tip

"One of the best advice I have received about imposter syndrome is that it all comes from comparing yourself to others. Don't compare your blooper reel to someone else's highlight reel."

– kitskill

Powering Through It

"Haha, f'kin daily, my dude."

"I don't know if I really overcome it. I power through it and ignore it, but that self-doubt is always there. Any misstep reinforces it."

– Keksis_theBetrayed

Accentuating The Positive

"Jesus, that's my entire day in a nutshell."

"One thing about imposter syndrome for me is that I end up working twice as hard as anyone else. The sense of not feeling like I deserve this just pushes me to work harder and submit higher quality work when compared to my peers. So I suppose there's an upside to it , since I never take what I have for granted, I never slack off and submit bad work."

– jhwyung

Jumping to conclusions when being called by a boss for a meeting was common among these Redditors.

Prepared For Termination

"I had to tell my boss to text me that I wasn't in for discipline when he sent those messages. I always think I'm gonna get fired when I'm called there. Never happens. Haven't had a discipline meeting in 10 years."

– pnwinec

The Surprise Twist

"I got a call telling me that I needed to come down to headquarters two hours away to have a talk. What was the soonest I could come?"

"I made time to go down that week. Stressed. Mentally preparing for the worst."

"They wanted to thank me for all of the great work I had done and wanted me to become an owner along with the two of them."

Lifesagame81

Confusing Review

"Whenever I have a review or some such at work (yearly, quarterly, whatever) I think 'this is the day they drop the axe' but they always tell me I'm doing good and to keep it up."

"Like, really, you're sure this is my review? Do you know who I am? So they give me another client and a raise. I don't get it; of all the f'ked-up things management does, this is the most inexplicable."

– TheBelhade

These Redditors recalled thinking they had no business being in an enviable position.

Shaking Hands With A Legend

"Without going into details, I found myself at a small private event shaking hands with Paul McCartney being thanked for the work I did getting the event off the ground, so to speak."

"I'm standing in the room with the fruits of my labours (objectively I know I did a good job looking back on it) and all I can think is sir I am a poor dude in an ill fitting suit, what business do I have shaking your hand."

– ayoungtommyleejones

Meeting A Prime Minister

"I also experienced this impostor syndrome a few times before. Once, I met the Prime Minister of Peru, some cabinet ministers, senators and high ranking Generals."

"The whole time I kept thinking: what the f'k am I doing here? i post memes in Reddit."

– NuevoPeru

A Leading Expert

"I'm the same."

"Professionals in my field contact me regularly to ask me questions. Each time I think 'This time, someone is going to figure out that I have no idea what I am talking about.'"

"It turns out that in my field I am one of the leading practitioners, but half the time I am wandering around in dazed bewilderment wondering how the bloody hell I got here."

-- UncleHeavy

Altering perspectives seemed to be an advantageous tactic.

It's Not Real

"I took the horseshoe approach: I realized everything is fake. It came back around to normalcy."

– DrinksPondScum

Minimizing A Stigma

"I think people have a really negative perception of 'fake it till you make it' as some how being disingenuous or deceitful. But as you point out realizing everyone else is faking it while you are faking does help the world to feel normal."

"It does begin to become terrifying when you realize that like everyone is faking it to a degree, but it is a comforting terror."

– Nrussg

According To One With A PhD

"Worked with a PhD holder a few years ago that once said, 'when you get your Bachelor's Degree, you think you know everything. When you get your Master's, you discover that you don't know anything. When you go for your Doctorate, you realize nobody else does, either.'"

"I try to keep that perspective."

– just_some_a--hole

I haven't personally experienced Imposter Syndrome but I understand how perfectionists are especially hard on themselves when they think they haven't reached a benchmark in their lives that should be much higher, according to them.

I would offer that they should take a moment and look back and realize how far they've come to get to where they are now.

Not everyone's accomplishments are the same, which is why I believe comparing yourself to others on social media is a dangerous trap.

Focusing on the accomplishments thus far might be the best motivator without exerting too much pressure on yourself.

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