“Why are we whispering?” I asked. “There’s no one else on the line.”
“I don’t know,” she replied. “I guess I’m feeling like I’m an impostor and I don’t want anyone to find out.”
When we start something new, whether it’s a new job, a promotion or expanded responsibilities, it’s very common to question our abilities. Can we really do this? What if we aren’t up to it? What if “they” are wrong about us?
The greatest obstacles to success are often our own self-doubts and a lack of confidence in our ability to perform at what feels like an elevated level. This condition is called impostor syndrome.
In 1978, psychotherapists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes found that many women with significant achievements also had high levels of self-doubt. Their lack of confidence was associated with feeling inauthentic and not being able to internalize their successes. Subsequent researchers have reported such fears in adults of all ages and both genders.