Do you ever feel like you’re just pretending to be good at something, even when you know deep down you’re not?
Many people experience what psychologists call “Imposter Syndrome.” It’s that nagging feeling that you don’t deserve your success or belong with your peers, seeing everyone else as so much more skilled, talented, or impressive. And with it comes a fear that, sooner or later, someone will expose you as a fraud.
If you clicked this video, you’re probably one of those people. According to Dr. Young, an expert on this topic, there are 5 types of imposter syndrome. Understanding which type you might be facing can help you overcome those feelings and boost your confidence. With that said, let’s explore the 5 types and discover which one resonates with you.
As you’ve probably guessed from the name, Perfectionists set unrealistically high standards for themselves out of fear that others will notice their flaws. They’re never satisfied with their achievements because they always think they could be better. If you relate to this, it would help you to shift your focus more on the progress you’ve achieved, have more realistic expectations of yourself, and seek supportive feedback. Embrace imperfections as part of human growth and focus more on your effort than your achievements.
The Natural Genius
Do you often expect yourself to get everything you do right the first time? Are you used to grasping new concepts quickly and easily? Natural Geniuses fear that if they can’t excel at something immediately, they’re not truly competent. But knowing that you’re this type, embracing the learning process will help you overcome your imposter syndrome. Understand that it’s okay to struggle and that every great master was once a novice, too. Recognize that genuine achievement requires persistent effort, and building skill is a continuous journey.
Although the term Superwoman or Superman sounds exciting, it can be very stressful as a form of imposter syndrome. This type feels they should excel in every role they take on and will often juggle several at a time. They’re prone to overworking themselves or having their boundaries stepped on because they beat themselves up for not meeting other people’s expectations (Think, Luisa from Encanto). Sound familiar? If so, acknowledge it’s okay to ask for help and essential to cultivating a healthy work-life balance. Also, be kind to yourself when plans go awry.
If you struggle with this type of imposter syndrome, you most likely view needing help as shameful and feel that you’re a failure if you ask for it. You think you need to handle everything on your own to feel a sense of accomplishment and probably struggle to delegate tasks. But everyone needs help sometimes. Recognizing when to ask for it is simply a smart and logical choice in taking care of your mental health and wellbeing.
The Expert type believes they must be knowledgeable in every aspect of their work or task, and any gaps in their expertise makes them feel like a fraud. People with this type of imposter syndrome often feel less experienced or skilled than their colleagues, especially if they don’t have all the answers. So if you’re an Expert type, try not to compare yourself with others, especially those who have more experience in a role. Realising that it’s okay not to know everything can relieve the pressure and allow you to instead focus on continuous learning and growth.
So, do you think you may have imposter syndrome? Which type do you relate to?
Remember, you’re not alone in feeling like an imposter at times. Knowing your Imposter Syndrome type allows you to tailor strategies that specifically address your challenges, and understanding your tendencies can empower you to challenge the negative thought patterns at the heart of your struggles. Acknowledging your areas for growth will also help you build confidence and resilience.
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- Swanner, N. (2019, August 5). This Flowchart Helps You Identify Imposter Syndrome. Dice Insights. https://insights.dice.com/2019/07/31/imposter-syndrome-flowchart/
- The Recovery Village, Hull, M., & Bullock, B. (2020, September 18). Imposter Syndrome. The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab. https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/imposter-syndrome/
- Young, V. (2019, September 26). The 5 Types of Impostors: Impostor Syndrome. https://impostorsyndrome.com/5-types-of-impostors/
- Wilding, M. J. (2020, June 19). 5 Types of Imposter Syndrome and How to Stop Them. The Muse. https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-different-types-of-imposter-syndrome-and-5-ways-to-battle-each-one