The Real Reason Why You Have Imposter Syndrome

Julie Shenkman
Posted by

Imposter syndrome is an internal belief that you aren’t as competent as others think you are. Imposter syndrome typically shows up as a sense of self-doubt that makes you feel like a fraud—even though evidence suggests otherwise. Imposter syndrome is typically associated with perfectionism.

Perfectionists typically believe that being competent means they should never make a mistake and if they do they’ll be seen as a fraud. It’s unrealistic to be perfect all the time, no one can always be the best, the smartest, the fastest, etc. 

If you hold yourself to a high standard for success and productivity and you’ll settle for nothing less than perfect, your goals and standards become unreachable. As soon as you equate that goal of being perfect with being competent, it’s easy to feel like you’re always failing. A version of this mindset is typically present in people who deal with imposter syndrome and perfectionism. 

3 signs you may have imposter syndrome and the need to be a perfectionist.

1. Overdoing

A sign that you may be stuck in this cycle of imposter syndrome and perfectionism, is some version of overdoing, over-preparing, or overworking in an effort to achieve an unattainable goal you set at work. 

2. Can’t work with others

You may also have trouble delegating, working as part of a team, or asking for help. If you have the idea that “If you want something done right, I must do it myself.” That’s a sign. 

3. Can’t complete or start a project

You can’t complete a project because when it’s done, it will never be “good enough” So you avoid finishing it because there’s no point in trying or even starting it at all. 

Luckily being stuck in the imposter syndrome-perfectionist cycle doesn’t have to last forever, here are 4 steps to break the cycle. 

1. Be aware that you’re in the cycle. Understand what your perfectionism is trying to protect you from. What would happen if you set realistic expectations? Are you giving up something by not working so hard to meet those “perfect standards”? Often the answers to these questions help you realize that being a perfectionist isn’t doing you a service to reach your larger goals. 

2. Change how you talk to yourself, by treating yourself the way you would talk to a friend in the same situation. You’d never tell a friend they need to be perfect, right? You’d tell them they’re great just the way they are.

3. Take baby steps. When you break up big to-do items into smaller steps, they’re much more achievable and the more you accomplish the better you feel.

4. Get some perspective from someone you trust. We’re our harshest critics so check with in with someone you trust to keep you grounded if you feel like you’re slipping back into an old mindset. 


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • Parvez M.
    Parvez M.

    Yes mam it's true

  • Rahmat s.
    Rahmat s.


  • Cory M.
    Cory M.

    Lol some of the things that you are saying are true about life and everyone but when you speak directly towards someone that you don't even know you have no idea what you're talking about when someone puts their self in a position that I've been dealing with for the last 10 years that's when someone speak about my situation I believe I have literally over 50 to 100,000 people watching my every move using while they're watching my every move cuz they're trying to see what I'm going to make that one mistake so let's keep doing money that I'm already trying to give them now you tell me you're famous theology about that

  • Kim E.
    Kim E.

    I never knew this was a sort of 'condition'., I never thought others felt this way either. I find it very embarrassing in a sort of way because I think it brings out other disabilities, if you will, such as social phobia, which has stopped me from so many great things in my life.

Jobs to Watch