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Are You a Real Impostor or Just Have Impostor Syndrome?

Do you sometimes feel you don't deserve the credit you receive? This happens to a lot of people. It is an odd condition called impostor syndrome, and it is more commonplace than you might think. For instance, one survey of Harvard Business School students found that 75% felt like they got into school because of some failure in the admission process.

Successful people in all walks of life often feel like they are going to get "found out", with everyone around them one day realizing they are not the successful achiever they appear to be. If you have experienced this, you could live in constant fear of people discovering you don't deserve the wealth, career, success or job you currently have. In most cases the person with these feelings does indeed deserve what they have achieved.

How can you tell if you are just suffering from impostor syndrome, or really are an impostor?

The following signs and traits are commonly found in people who wrongly believe they have cheated the system to get where they are. If more than a couple apply to you, take it easy on yourself. Stop believing you have incorrectly or unjustly received the attention, success and rewards you have earned. If none of them apply, then you really might be a fraud after all.

· You have a real problem accepting praise. No matter how many compliments, awards and hallmarks you earn, you truly don't believe you deserve the credit that is given to you.

· You work too much, and spend time on a job or task long after it has reached the stage where you can pass it on to someone else who it is more appropriate for.

· You tend to be a perfectionist. You constantly think your work is not good enough, and even if 99% is achieved, you push for 100% perfection.

· You feel like you must be the best at what you do. Being just one of the best is not good enough for the person suffering from impostor syndrome.

· The idea of failure sometimes paralyzes you into inaction. This state can be absolutely stressful, filling you with high levels of doubt and anxiety, and you believe that not only is failure a bad thing, but it is simply not an option.

· You have a hard time displaying confidence. This trait is more common in women with impostor syndrome than men.

· You justify your successes. While this can be a sign of true modesty, people with impostor syndrome tend to relate their own successes and victories to the work and efforts of others.

· Sometimes you actually have a fear of succeeding. Since you don't feel like you truly deserve the credit for the things you achieve, you don't look forward to success.

· You chalk wins and successes up to look, charm, good looks or something else. Stop doing this. You worked hard to get what you have, so give yourself credit for doing so.