Imposter Syndrome: What It Is And How To Beat It

what are the 5 types of imposter syndrome

Have you ever doubted yourself? Felt like you weren’t good enough? Like you don’t belong? You may be experiencing imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is currently a major topic of discussion and one that many employees, especially women, struggle with today.

If you’re facing this issue, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome it. 

Below, we explain the definition of imposter syndrome, the causes, and how to conquer it.

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

People who face imposter syndrome believe that they are undeserving of their achievements, that they aren’t as intelligent as others think, or they’re simply not good enough. Another factor of imposter syndrome is the fear that people will eventually deem these self-doubts to be true. 

While it’s not a diagnosable medical condition, it’s rather common. According to a recent study, more than 80% of adults today experience imposter syndrome at some point in their lives.

What are the 5 Types of Imposter Syndrome?

There are five types of imposter syndrome, and each one has its own focus.

  1. The Perfectionist: This type focuses on how something is done, including how work is conducted and what the outcome is. In other words: a perfectionist may feel failure and shame over the smallest of flaws, so much so that they can’t appreciate the aspects of the work they did well.
  2. The Expert: This is the knowledgeable version of the perfectionist. As opposed to the “how,” their biggest concern is the “what” and the “how much” you can achieve. If you’re this type, you may consider not knowing something a failure. 
  3. The Soloist: This type concerns themselves with “who” completes a task. In order for something to be considered an accomplishment, this person has to have done it alone, with no help. Therefore, needing help is a sign of failure. 
  4. The Natural Genius: The Natural Genius cares about “how” and “when” an accomplishment happens. However, competence is measured in terms of ease and pace. If this type can’t master something quickly and without any issues, they feel ashamed. 
  5. The Superhuman: This type tends to measure their worth and competence based on how many roles they can not only handle, but thrive in. Failing to perfect any role, whether it’s manager, team leader, parent, or friend, brings feelings of shame and self deprecation. This is because they feel as if they should be able to handle it all with ease. 

It’s important to remember that someone could find parts of themselves in each one of these types. However, typically one stands out more than the others, which is where you should focus on. 

What Causes Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is complex, and can stem from a lot of different issues. There is not one clear-cut cause, but rather several factors that combine to trigger feelings of imposter syndrome. 

Sometimes, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact causes. However, you can start to understand where the feelings might be coming from, which can help control your behavior and settle your mind. 

These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Childhood upbringing and family dynamics
  • Work or school stress
  • Personality
  • Social anxiety
  • Discrimination due to systemic bias

Identifying Imposter Syndrome in You

If you have faced these feelings before, it’s likely that you’ve dealt with imposter syndrome. 

Since it’s not an actual mental health condition and therefore cannot be diagnosed by a medical professional, one way you can find out if you face imposter syndrome is through self-assessment. 

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you credit your success to chance, connections or some other external factor?
  • How often do you deflect responsibility for your actions? 
  • Do you feel you have something to prove?
  • Do you self-sabotage? 
  • Are you a workaholic? 
  • Do you avoid challenging yourself?
  • Are you a perfectionist?
  • Do you have a hard time receiving constructive criticism? 
  • Are you addicted to degrees? 

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

If you found yourself resonating with any or all of the above, you might be a victim of imposter syndrome, and it’s okay.

You are not alone, and there are many tactics for battling imposter syndrome and eliminating it from your life. With the right mechanisms, you can stop imposter syndrome, and keep it from holding you back from achieving your goals and reaching your full potential. 

Overcoming imposter syndrome begins with you. Here are some tips:

  1. Create reminders. Keep a list of accomplishments you’re proud of and recognize that you’re worthy of them, no matter how big or small. When you feel like a failure, read through this list.
  2. Separate your feelings from reality. If you’re aware that you have tendencies of imposter feelings, prepare yourself for them. Be ready to respond to them, and resist them. Remember: they’re just emotions, and you can control them.
  3. Stop comparing yourself to others. Don’t measure your self worth based on the accomplishments of others. Focus on yourself, and be proud of your own achievements.
  4. Talk to someone. If you have friends or family you’d be comfortable talking to, reach out to them. Loved ones are an excellent reminder that you’re worthy of praise and acceptance. Additionally, a mental health professional can provide you with an unbiased eye for talking through and battling imposter syndrome.

And perhaps the most important thing; remember that nobody’s perfect. It’s impossible for any human being to live their life without making any mistakes. 

Need a Right Hand and Sounding Board? We Can Help

If you feel like you’re suffering from imposter syndrome, we hope this guide has provided you strategies to achieve your highest self, and reminded you to soak in your glory and deserving success. 

If you have feelings of imposter syndrome that are getting in the way of empowering yourself to reach your goals, contact our team today. We have the expertise and resources to help you minimize vulnerability and develop skills to beat imposter syndrome. 

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