top of page
  • Writer's pictureDeniss Pleiner, M.A.

What is Impostor Syndrome? Here are the Red Flags...

by Deniss Pleiner, M.A.


In the last couple of years, Impostor syndrome has become a more commonly used term– but what does it really look like?

It would be irresponsible of me to jump to the red flags without a bit of context first: Our layered identities and experiences play a role in the way we feel at work. Our culture, sex, gender, race– they all shape what others expect of us and what we expect of ourselves. So, as I list each red flag, keep this in mind.

  • Fear

    • Fearing You will Get Fired

    • Fearing the worst

  • Guilt

    • in connection to Rest/Time off

  • Self Doubt

    • Doubting anything is “good enough”

    • Doubt you are where you belong

  • Procrastination

    • Putting things off to the last minute for fear of failure

  • Difficulty sleeping

    • As with all things related to our mental health: our body feels it too.

    • Thinking about work, not getting enough sleep

Remember to contextualize your symptoms. How do your identities: being a woman or person of color affect your experience at work? Lack of representation, racism, sexism, Immigration status– they all play a role in how you perceive yourself, your goodness, your "enoughness." There is a reason imposter syndrome is disproportionally experienced by minorities. So, if you are feeling these, ask yourself WHY and ask yourself: what I am feeling an impostor to?

Dealing with Impostor Syndrome means contextualizing yourself, challenging thoughts, soothing yourself, and continuing the journey to feeling comfortable and confident being yourself in every space you find yourself.


Deniss Pleiner, M.A. is the founder and Clinical Director of TOC Therapy-- a group

practice in California tailored to meet the mental

health needs of BIPOC adults through

online individual and couple's therapy. As Clinical Director, Deniss guides the clinical development of TOC Therapy Associates and oversees clinical services and offerings. Deniss also works as a Mental Health Advocate, hosting workshops for organizations interested in supporting their

member's mental health and developing emotionally intelligent leadership.


bottom of page