Why You’re Stuck With Imposter Syndrome

Maryam Taheri
8 min readApr 3

Did you know that around 80% of employees with over 3 years of experience in their field have experienced imposter syndrome at some point? So if you are feeling like you’re incompetent despite years or decades of experience, you’re not alone. Most people will experience imposter syndrome multiple times in their life, in multiple different contexts, regardless of their individual expertise or the supportiveness of their environment.

Imposter syndrome can come from a wide variety of triggers. It can arise from some aspect of a specific project, work dynamic, or confluence of external personal factors at a given point in your life. According to one article by HCA magazine, 90% of women and 80% of men suffer from imposter syndrome. However, most people aren’t aware that the inadequacy and insecurity they feel is imposter syndrome — only 25% of respondents were able to link their symptoms to the source that they stemmed from.

Why Do We Doubt Ourselves?

I’m sure a hundred possibilities popped into your brain when you read this heading just now. If anything, it’s probably a shorter list to think of things that wouldn’t make us doubt ourselves. But let’s dive into the details of those things that can throw us off our confidence and send us spiraling into imposter syndrome on any day of the week.

Our Childhood and Parenting

There are many ways our childhood and the way we were raised can plant the seeds of imposter syndrome. Maybe you had incredibly strict parents who stressed the importance of achievement and ignored or shamed you if you fell short. Maybe you had a family that ignored you, or only gave intermittent or highly-conditional praise. Or maybe you were shamed for the things you didn’t do relative to a sibling or friend. These factors can set you up to believe that you’re never good enough, constantly see how much “better” everyone is than you, and generally make you feel like you don’t deserve the success that comes your way, even if as an adult, you’re not sure why.

Even parents who try to be highly supportive by constantly praising their children can, despite their best intentions, contribute to this. Parents who constantly and hyperbolically praise their children (“the smartest”…

Maryam Taheri

Certified Coach, Founder, Advisor, Mindset + Leadership Expert, and Dog Mom http://linkin.bio/maryamataheri