"Imposter Syndrome" is that feeling of not being comfortable in your own professional skin even though you're at the top of your game. Sufferers are in so denial of their success that they feel like a fraud, which causes them to constantly worry about being unmasked some day. And women are more likely to suffer from this syndrome than men.
Over at The Huffington Post, Caroline Dowd-Higgins highlights on this syndrome, saying that "There are high-achieving celebrity impostor syndrome sufferers
including Tina Fey, Maya Angelou, and Sheryl Sandberg, who have all
openly admitted to feeling like an impostor at some point during their
Of course, the most immediate question for imposter syndrome sufferers is "how do I make it stop?" Instead of thinking that way, Higgins quotes Dr. Valerie Young, author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive In Spite of It, who advises that:
"when you feel yourself sliding into competence extremism, recognize it for what it is. Then make a conscious decision to stop and really savor those exhilarating mental high points and forgive yourself for the inevitable lulls."
"The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: ‘I'm a fraud! Oh God, they're on to me! I'm a fraud!' you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud," writes Young in her book.
Another way of coping with these feelings is to be aware that it actually indicates positive things about you as a professional. Feelings of faking it are usually associated with intelligence, diligence and, paradoxically, competence; Slackers, blusterers, and the genuinely incompetent tend not to stress about feeling like fakers.
The main message to take from all this is to know that these feelings are normal and that you are not alone. Plenty of successful people doubt themselves from time to time, and that just goes to show that you take your successes very seriously.