Have you ever felt that other people think you’re much more qualified to do something than you know that you are? Have you been asked to step into a role that you felt was just beyond your capacity and capabilities? Do you ever have that gnawing feeling that others are very confident in their expectations of you that seem bigger than what you can deliver? Do you wake up wondering how you got here, knowing that others who are at your level of expertise are much more “expert” than you are? If you answered in the affirmative to any of these or related questions, you may have imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is when you haven’t quite caught up with yourself. Everyone around you sees you in a much more favorable light than you can see yourself. People turn to you for your advice or opinions because they are sure you know more on the topic than anyone else in the room. And you feel ill-equipped to give them what they are asking for.

In most cases, I find that feeling like an imposter is healthy, and you’re most probably doing something right simply by noticing it. Real imposters are aware they are playing a game and don’t really think about the implications of people trusting them, in fact their only concern is if they are getting away with it. So if you think you’re an imposter, chances are that you are being asked to stretch your skills in ways that make you uncomfortable, but you’re not really an imposter because you’re not trying to swindle anyone.

People I have known who have imposter syndrome tend to have high expectations of themselves (and others). They will likely tell you they aren’t an expert when they are, indeed, a true expert. The disconnect is that they see themselves as the person they were ten years ago or even earlier with the skills and abilities they had then, and have a hard time taking into account the person they have become today, through much work and time. They believe there is someone out there who is much more qualified than they are. They feel a strong responsibility towards others who turn to them for their help, and they don’t want to let anyone down by not being able to fulfill their expectations.

So what do you do if you have imposter syndrome? Take a couple of deep breaths. There is no diagnosis for this, so there is no need to seek medical care. Start to pay attention to when and why you feel this way. What is the context? Who are you with? Notice what, exactly, makes you feel so uncomfortable. Are you representing yourself in a way that is making this happen, or are others seeing something in you that you haven’t yet recognized in yourself? Are you being truthful about your actual skill set? Do you have an outdated vision of yourself that doesn’t include recent learning and accomplishments?

If it’s a lack of confidence that’s the real problem, find ways to show yourself that you really deserve the accolades you are receiving. If it’s a matter of self-representation or others thinking things about you that simply aren’t true, find a way to remedy the situation. And if you still have trouble seeing yourself the way others see you, hire a coach to help you overcome the obstacles that are getting in the way of you living your life authentically.