The impostor syndrome (also called impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome and the impostor experience) is getting a lot of attention, but it’s not new. Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes coined “impostor phenomenon” in research they published in 1978. In the more than 40 years since, it’s become an epidemic, affecting at least 70% of business leaders and managers, and its negative effect on our professional and personal lives is profound.
In observing many people present ideas, pitches, and presentations over the years, I continue to hear the following phrases in meetings:
“Well, you know, um, I think that…”
“Well, maybe, we could…”
“I’m not sure about this, however….”
“This may not be the best idea, but….”
These are all examples of “Doubt language.”