Kim Meninger, Speaker for The Imposter Syndrome talk

On Wednesday, December 4 in the LSB, students met to hear a discussion on Imposter Syndrome. 

Though it is not a real condition or diagnosis, over 70% of the population experience imposter syndrome.

“Imposter syndrome characteristics include anxiety, feeling like a fraud or fluke, unhealthy perfectionism, feelings of self doubt, fear of success and an unwillingness to internalize positive feedback,” explained speaker Kim Meninger, an executive coach who specializes in working with women in the workplace.

Presented by Women in Leadership, the goal of the talk was “to spark a conversation for people who are in the early stages of their careers before the challenges of imposter syndrome set in,” said Meninger. 

Since imposter syndrome is brought on by situations where a person is outside their comfort zone, college students and high achievers are more likely to experience imposter syndrome.

“One of the reasons I am so passionate about having this conversation is because many people carry this feeling around like a big dark secret, and if you don't feel comfortable sharing it with anyone, you're not going to get the resources and support that you need to overcome those challenges,” said Meninger. 

Without the right help, imposter syndrome can have negative effects. 

“Some ask, why does it matter if people end up successful, why does it matter? Well the fact is, there are a lot of downsides to feeling like a fraud. Anxiety can cause physical and emotional distress, including depression and lack of sleep. It can even cause problems within relationships,” warned Meninger. 

Emma Nyangnara, a sophomore who attended the talk, said “it is important to talk about imposter syndrome, especially for those who feel marginalized. It holds people back where they could excel.”

After experiencing it in her own life, Meninger knows the best ways to deal with imposter syndrome. “The most simple thing which will help is when it hits, name it,” Meninger said. “‘By acknowledging the presence it will lessen the effects,’” she elaborated.

Meninger encourages those who feel the effects of  imposter syndrome to talk about it with others.

“If we live in our own heads when we experience anxiety and self doubt, we can't get access to the support that we need. Talking to peers, mentors and family member will help guide you through. You will find that most people will have a shared experience and you are not alone.” 

Though she doesn't think there is a way to definitively cure impostor syndrome, Meninger believes, “knowing what it is will minimize the impact.”