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Those who feel like a fraud at work or school may be experiencing impostor syndrome

Medium front shot of young white male with a pensive look leaning against a wall of an elevated walkway looking to his right at the city. He is wearing a dark blue suit, light blue shirt and patterned blue tie.
Gregory Hayes
Impostor syndrome is when even though one is successful, feeling that it is not deserved or earned.

Also called 'perceived fraudulence,' the condition is common in both men and women with minority groups showing particularly high rates of occurrence.

Up to 82% of adults feel they are unworthy of their success.

People experiencing imposter syndrome are afraid of being discovered as a fraud, says Julie Norem, professor of psychology at Wellesley College.

“You really feel as if other people evaluate you more highly than you evaluate yourself,” Norem explains. The view of imposter syndrome as she sees it needs to change from symptoms in an individual to "a reflection of systems that don't accommodate real people in the way that they should."

As Kharissa Forte was starting her business, she began to lose her usual confidence because of the pressure to succeed. She believes impostor syndrome to be common among women of color who often code switch in order to fit in work environments lacking diversity and inclusion.

Forte envisions a work environment where “you get to be yourself. You don't need to perform for anybody. You are free to fully, authentically be yourself within this organization.”

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Eleanor Nash is an intern for KCUR's Up To Date. You can reach her at enash@kcur.org
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