The Syndrome

You’ve had it…I’ve had it…Look around you and I bet many people you look at have had it…What I hear you ask…?

Why Imposter Syndrome of course! That innate feeling that any moment now your colleagues and bosses are going to realise that you have no idea what you are doing and should not actually be there!!



Sometimes it seems to flare up more than others especially when you have an important talk to give or are about to go into the field to carry out your own research for the first time after months of prep!

“I got this” you hear yourself say but then you wonder “Have I got this? Can I do everything I said I would? Will I pull it off?” Now you have put in all the work and you have done everything you can to prepare you have actually truly got it but that does not stop the sneaky imposter syndrome from rearing its ugly head to make you feel inadequate.

I think a lot of early career scientist suffer from it and maybe the late career ones do to or they have faked it for so long that they no longer feel like an imposter. The biggest issue is that can cause us a lot of problems is self doubt and comparing your self to others who seem to have it all together while you feel as if you a floundering around out there (they are probably better at faking it!). Comparing yourself to others is a double wammy as it just brings you down and brings in even more self doubt and stokes the fire under the imposter syndrome. So what to do?

I haven’t completely worked it out yet. I think believing in your self is important and if the self doubt stops that then maybe fake* it till you make it true, tell yourself that you can do it until you believe it (as you got this far). Also, surrounding yourself or be in contact with people who believe in you and can boost you up when you are feeling low. In regards to tangible things you can do, I read a post a little while ago about being accountable for your time so that you can “prove” to yourself that you are doing your job and all the things scientist do and doing it well this seems like a neat idea to have something to look back on when that doubt creeps in. One other sweet idea is to keep an encouragement and happiness folder. In this folder you will put emails or letters in which people have written encouraging and boosting things to you and whenever you feel down you can go to the folder and have a little read and bask in others peoples good opinions of you! I have started a folder but need to remember to go and look at it when it feeling in doubt of my abilities.

I haven’t fully worked out how to get rid of Imposter Syndrome yet so if you have any tips please share them below and help a girl out. Have you sussed it all out or do you still fake it?


Always remember… (image via The Nectar Collective)

*there is a lot of tale about faking it here, I obviously don’t endorse faking who you are but if you fake believing in yourself till your truly do it can only lead to good things.

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