Do you sometimes worry that other doctors know more than you? Do you worry about consulting with colleagues about your toughest cases because they might discover you're not as good as them? If so, there's a good chance you're dealing with imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is defined as a syndrome in which you doubt your abilities and fear being found out as a failure. In this video, taken from our Burnout Prevention Masterclass: Your Path to Resilience course, you'll learn about this insidious syndrome, why it's very common amongst doctors, and how it contributes to the development of burnout.
Join our Burnout Prevention Masterclass: Your Path to Resilience course now!
With this course, you can say goodbye to clinician burnout. Build resilience and identify signs of burnout so you can stop it in its tracks. Worried about medicine burning you out? This course will teach you exactly how burnout develops, what its risk factors are, and how to identify it in yourself and others so you can prevent it before it happens or reduce its impact if it does. This course was created for any clinician who wants to build resilience and is ideally suited for those in leadership positions.
Do you sometimes wonder if the other doctors know more than you? Do you worry that you only got your job, residency placement, or admission to medical school by luck? Do you feel like you don't want to consult with others about your toughest cases, for fear that you'll be found out as not belonging? If you answered yes to any of these questions, imposter syndrome might be present for you.
Imposter syndrome is defined as a syndrome in which you doubt your abilities, and fear of being found out as a failure. Once a star student in high school and college, you're now surrounded by other star students, some of whom you suspect are smarter than you. There are many times throughout your journey that your confidence is challenged.
You had a multitude of entrance exams, a series of board exams, residency match and more. You are a high achiever, known for your academic accomplishments. But now, you are just one of many talented people. You may have many external achievements, be really accomplished and well respected by your peers. However, you may still not fully identify with your success or achievements, and still not feel good enough.
Often, imposter syndrome follows you into your career, and is associated with perfectionism, anxiety and can lead to isolation. If you think that you may not be good enough, you are less likely to consult or seek out help around complex cases. You are less likely to learn from your mistakes and less likely to feel like you belong in medicine.
Medicine can be a field in which it does not feel okay to show what you don't know. It can also be scary to worry about being blamed. This culture of only showing the best parts of yourself, and hiding your doubts or areas of growth creates fertile ground for imposter syndrome. If you experience imposter syndrome, remember these tips.
The feeling of being an imposter can shrink when the feeling is shared with others and received with compassion and care. Share your feelings with people you trust to diminish the sense of being alone in your feelings, and reduce the intensity of your negative beliefs about yourself. Make note of times when your fears or negative self talk don't line up with reality, and begin to build a more accurate vision of yourself.
When it comes to imposter syndrome, your thoughts about yourself are often driven by fear, versus an accurate reflection of yourself. Know that imposter syndrome is common, especially when you're starting out or learning something new. Knowing this can help you to avoid internalizing the thought that you're an imposter, and recognize it is a common experience that isn't about you or your performance.