6 Reasons Why You Feel Like A Phony In Life And At Work

You’ve worked extremely hard to build up your place in life. You’ve reach its pinnacle, yet you feel like a phony. You feel you don’t belong somehow, which makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s the fear you’ll be exposed, because you don’t think you’re accomplished or are competent enough.

This happens to those who’s experienced success in the business or entertainment world, who has these thoughts.

This feeling of being an imposter, happens to everyone every once in a while, exception to those who are egotistical, narcissistic, lazy, or are just crazy.

No one is immune when it comes to this self-doubt about themselves.

Know The Reasons Why

There are many who has achieved everything they’ve wanted in their career, yet they don’t feel that great about it. What it comes down to, is what their personality type is.

Experts claim there are five different categories: those who are perfectionists, the super-hero, the macho individualist, the genius, or the expert.

Perfectionism and they thinking they’re a fraud, which goes hand-in-hand with being insecure.

What perfectionists tend to do, is set high impeccable standards for themselves, and once they don’t reach them, they think they’re losers once they don’t reach their lofty goals.

“Super hero’s” are those always working late to achieve more, putting their life on hold, as it’s work that only matters.

Geniuses will base their success on their abilities, their gifts, instead of their effort.

If they need to work at something hard, they think they’re failures. Individualists work alone, while experts think they know everything.

6 – Don’t Like Compliments

Those who think they’re imposters, have a difficult time accepting compliments or accolades, once they accomplish something.

They’re not comfortable with others giving them praise, and will internalize their success. What they feel is embarrassed, discounting the compliments as invalid.

They don’t believe in themselves, and thus feel they’re not worthy of praise, especially if they’re given rewards, or even just a pat on the back in front of others.

It’s not a display of being modest. They truly don’t think they deserve the credit they’re given, because of their low self-esteem.

5 – Success Came Too Early Or Easily

What some will feel is fraudulent, thinking they didn’t work hard enough to get what they’ve got, especially if they were born into privilege, such as rich parents.


They realize they were given an opportunity others didn’t get.

So any success they experience, they feel they don’t deserve it. They realize what they were given, is a head start in life.

Some then will manage to screw it up, and not reach their potential or the success they were destined for.

What needs to be taken into account, is understanding it wasn’t up to them they were born into this life, so just accept it and take advantage of it.

4 – Certain “Women” In Business

First of all, the intent isn’t to stereotype, but this fraud phenomenon according to experts, is more prominent in high achieving women.

This occurs even though they worked extremely hard for their success, usually in a male dominated workplace.

This female-centric issue, appears in all areas on business, regardless of the industry.

What women feel is they’re imposters, even though we know they’re not. They feel they were given favors because they are female.

As a result, they’re less likely to apply for positions they don’t think they’re qualified for.

Men on the other hand, it’s found they’ll apply for jobs, way above their qualifications.

3 – Lack Of Self-esteem

This feeling of not being worthy can affect post secondary graduate students, where they’re immediately given better positions, than their non post secondary peers.

As a result, especially for those with low self confidence, they feel fraudulent once they experience success and achievement.

There’s the belief they’ve somehow cheated their way into the position, and at any moment, they will be exposed as a fake.

They firmly believe they don’t deserve their success, even if they were a honor student, and worked extremely hard for it.

2 – Begin By Writing Down Your Achievements

What’s recommended is you should be constantly reminding yourself of your success, all your hard work and effort, by documenting how you got where you are.

This begins with writing down all of your accomplishments, regardless of how small or insignificant they may be, and posting them somewhere where you can read them.

Most however don’t feel comfortable posting this list on their cubicle wall at their workplace.

It’s recommended you build your list of “wins,” and post them on your phone or computer, and then review them every morning before work, before getting to the office.

Set an alert on your phone, as a reminder to read them.

1 – It’s Okay To Seek Outside Help

Your career is your life, so it’s no shame to seek out a mentor, which can help you feel more competent at what you do, and raise your self-esteem.

What also helps is if you decide to help others, become a mentor yourself, and you’ll be surprised by helping others, you’ll gain confidence and feel better.

If the feelings of being a “fraud” becomes too overwhelming, then what you can do is consult with a mental health professional, as it’s your life at stake.

There are plenty of executives who seeks out the guidance of a therapist, who can help them identify the strategies which can help them see themselves, the same way others see them.