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A Few Results from My Research on Imposter Syndrome

Some of you may not know that I am a PhD with a background in academic research. I love to learn about how our brains work and how we find a way to push through the challenges in our lives to reach our goals. Imposter syndrome is one of the most common challenges women face.

Lately, I have been interviewing women with imposter syndrome about how it works in their lives, how it affects their work, their parenting, and their relationships. I’m doing this research to discover what types of interventions work the best to overcome their imposter syndrome and how much time women spend on working through moments when imposter syndrome keeps them from moving forward.

Here are some of the things I have learned so far:

· There is no set age when imposter syndrome shows up in someone’s life or length of time that it lasts. Women reported their first encounters with imposter syndrome as late as 62 years of age and as early as their late teens.

· For women who work outside the home, it is most often triggered when we move into a new position or are promoted.

· On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “no interference” and 10 being “completely debilitating”, most women report their imposter syndrome as being a 5 or higher.

· All of the women interviewed reported also dealing with perfectionism and 50% reported being “people-pleasers”.

· All of the women interviewed reported one of their biggest worries was being judged by others in the workplace.

Imposter syndrome is interesting because it affects high-achievers who are practiced at finding a way to get things done. It rarely keeps them from getting their work done, but it does affect how much time they spend focusing on negative thoughts and worrying about how others will react.

The real question is, what could we achieve if we didn’t have to deal with the distraction of imposter syndrome? Most of the women I interviewed had trouble imagining a world without their imposter syndrome, but if they could, they used words like “peaceful” and “confident” to describe that world.

As I continue my research, I would love to hear from you! If you would be willing to give me about 20 minutes of your time for an interview about how imposter syndrome affects your life, please schedule at time at and choose “Imposter Syndrome Interview”.

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