Impostor Syndrome – When you feel like an impostor

impostor syndrome

Impostor syndrome is a relatively recently described psychological phenomenon, but what is the meaning of impostor syndrome? It manifests itself in virtually constant doubt about one’s own abilities and is based on the belief that everything you have achieved in life is due to luck, chance or just your ability to hide your incompetence from others. Even people who trade the stock markets and are very successful at it can suffer from impostor syndrome. And that can eventually bring them to the edge of the abyss. If you are one of these people, we have good news for you: It is possible to fight it successfully.

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What is impostor syndrome?

Perhaps everyone catches themselves doubting themselves from time to time. Did I do it right? Do I have what it takes? Am I good enough for this job? Is my success justified enough by my skills? Such a question can come to almost anyone’s mind now and then. It’s just that when doubts about your abilities, skills or competences are the order of the day, you should pay attention.

This may be the so-called impostor syndrome, equivalent to impostor syndrome in English. It is the all-too-frequent questioning of whether we are doing things right, whether we have earned our success or whether we are good enough for the job. In addition, a person suffering from impostor syndrome often feels that he or she is not competent within his or her work team and that every one of his or her colleagues must find out sooner or later. Because he or she got into a particular position by some kind of inadvertence or even fraud.

impostor syndrome

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Impostor syndrome was first described in Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes’ article “The Impostor Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention,” published in 1978 in Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.

Do people who got rich thanks to cryptocurrencies suffer from impostor syndrome more often?

Once impostor syndrome was described and explained, research began on who typically suffers from it. While scientists initially thought it was a problem affecting mostly women, it turns out that it can affect virtually anyone. And various surveys show that approximately 70 percent of people experience the signs and symptoms of impostor syndrome at least once in their lifetime.

So it’s impossible to say definitively who is more likely to have impostor syndrome and who is less likely to have it. Whether we are talking about gender, level of education or a particular occupation. Thus, it is not even certain whether cryptocurrency traders suffer from impostor syndrome more often than people in other professions. Yet successful cryptocurrency trading may depend to a considerable extent on chance or luck. On the other hand, impostor syndrome is quite common among people working in the financial world. Lucy Puttergill, a former securities trader who worked in this position at JP Morgan for nine years, described her story.

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“I wish more than anything in the world that someone had told me before I stepped on the stock market floor that impostor syndrome exists, what it means, that virtually everyone has dealt with it, and how to overcome it,” Puttergill told

Puttergill describes how in her worst moments when she struggled with impostor syndrome, she told herself over and over again that she didn’t belong there, that they would surely soon notice that she couldn’t afford her job, and that she would surely be fired from the bank.

“I was always panic-stricken when I had to present something. I wrongly assumed that this would be the moment when everyone would realize I was a complete idiot, when I would be exposed and eventually fired,” Puttergill writes.

She says this feeling was based on the fact that the banking sector attracts ambitious people who aim high. And if one is to succeed in such a world, and if one doesn’t have talent, one has to “really work hard”. Otherwise, one risks failing. And again, it turns out that he or she has nothing to do in the job.

Why can investing in cryptocurrencies be difficult for individuals with impostor syndrome?

Although it cannot be said that people from the financial world, or even cryptocurrency traders, are more likely to suffer from impostor syndrome, it is quite likely that it is more difficult for such a person to survive in the financial world. Indeed, Lucy Puttergill herself described this.

It is logical. That being said, success in the world of risky investments depends to some extent on luck and chance. Moreover, if a trader, whether in equities, cryptocurrencies or commodities, faces impostor syndrome, he or she will be more prone to greater hesitation. He will want to repeatedly convince himself that he really should make the investment he is considering, and if he has already made it, he will wonder whether he has done the right thing. Moreover, if failure comes, doubts about the ability to invest properly will only intensify. It is a tragedy if a cryptocurrency trader (and not only a cryptocurrency trader) allows the impostor syndrome to take over. In such a case, the likelihood that his decision to buy or sell crypto assets will be influenced by emotions increases. However, emotions are not a good guide for a person who wants to make a living and a real living from investing. To navigate the world of financial assets, one must keep a cool head and not be seduced by self-doubt.

How to cope with impostor syndrome

Fortunately, the impostor syndrome can be effectively combated and even defeated. The first piece of expert advice is to get out of your own social or work bubble. Simply put, get out among people who are not part of your work team. Suddenly, you’ll find that you’re just as competent to solve common everyday problems as everyone else. So there is no reason to doubt that you will do just as well in your profession.

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Also keep in mind that anyone can suffer from impostor syndrome. And often by people you wouldn’t expect. Michelle Obama, the wife of former US president, also admitted to impostor syndrome five years ago in an interview with the BBC. “The feeling that people shouldn’t take me so seriously has never really left me,” she said, among other things. And she immediately added one experience that can help many people with impostor syndrome: “I’ll tell you a secret. In my lifetime, I’ve been in contact with some of the most influential people on Earth. I have worked for non-profit organizations, large multinational companies, been on their boards, attended meetings of the most powerful from all over the world. And those people are not as smart as you think.”

the meaning of impostor syndrome

But other techniques can also help you fight impostor syndrome. You can start by writing down your achievements on paper. When you see the list for yourself, you’ll probably realize that you couldn’t have been so lucky so often and that you really are much better than you think.

You can continue by writing down the tasks that you have to do each day. This will bring some order to your work, which will help you overcome the fear of not getting something done. Then check off each task you complete so you can see how well you’re doing.

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