ADHD and Impostor Syndrome

doubting yourself

Impostor syndrome is a term coined by clinical psychologists in the 1970s to describe high-achieving people who struggle to recognize their accomplishments. They live in fear of others finding out they are a fraud. They aren’t a fraud. Their successes are real and a direct result of their hard work and effort.

ADHD and Impostor Syndrome

Many individuals with ADHD can struggle with Impostor Syndrome. They may already feel like imposters because they may hide their difficulties from public view. Their boss and coworkers know they are smart and get results. But they know they have to work harder than anyone else at the office to get those results. They meet deadlines by pulling all-nighters and by making personal sacrifices, such as less time with family.

The struggles they have can cause intense anxiety about taking on new challenges or goals. This may lead to choices that limit their careers unnecessarily. Keep part of yourself hidden can cause feelings of shame and guilt. and causes fear about what would happen if people found out.

Signs You May Have Impostor Syndrome

Here are some of the signs of impostor syndrome

  • You don’t believe your success was connected to your hard work, intelligence, or creativity – If you have Imposter Syndrome, you may not know how to acknowledge your contribution to your organization’s success. For example, you may feel any success is all owed to your colleagues, or is due to a stroke of luck rather your efforts.
  • You spend a lot of time thinking about failures – You might spend time dwelling on what you did wrong, rather than on what you did right. You may also compare yourself to others, believing they have had to make a much smaller effort to achieve the same results as you.
  • You don’t celebrate a success. – Instead you look at the next thing that needs to be done. You don’t allow yourself any time to bask in the glory of a job well done.
  • You doubt your success – You may also be unable to celebrate current success, worrying instead about the next deadline or goal and doubting if you will be able to achieve it.

Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

If this sounds like you, here are some things you  might try to stop feeling like a fraud.

  • ADHD Coaching – A Certified ADHD Coach can point out things you may be doing that are a result of Imposter Syndrome.  A coach can also help you maintain a sound life-work balance by providing ways you can manage your time, plan and prioritize. Finally, an ADHD Coach can show you that instead of feeling ashamed about your achievements, you can learn to embrace them and use them to motivate you to further success.
  • Cognitive behavior therapy: Working with a cognitive behavior therapist is also helpful. They can help you to balance your thoughts. Rather than focusing on the negative, they will help you to see the full picture.
  • Keep track of what you do: Start to track what actions you do so that you can fully appreciate the success you have and stop attributing it to luck. When you track your actions, it becomes easier to see what role you played in your success. This, in turn, makes it easier to own and celebrate your successes.



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