5 Kinds of Imposter Sydromes & How to Overcome Them

Are you the straight A-student?

The leader of your group?

The captain of you team?

Even with all the accolades, titles, and compliments, you feel like you do not deserve them. You think that they are just not seeing all your mistakes and screw-ups. You know you are just fooling everyone and are constantly in fear that if you do not keep wearing your mask, you will be found out that you are just a complete fraud.

This psychological phenomenon is known as the imposter syndrome. It is the belief that you’re an inadequate and incompetent despite evidence, like a snazzy job title or awards, that clearly show you are skilled.

An expert in this field, Dr. Valerie Young, has categorized the imposter syndrome into 5 “competence types.” It may not seem important to know what type you are, but by taking time to recognize what exact kind of mindset you are in, can help you figure out steps to overcoming the feeling of not being good enough.

Below is a summary of what I took away from reading The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women.

1. The Perfectionist

Perfectionism and imposter syndrome often go hand-in-hand. A perfectionist needs everything to be done ‘right’ and by ‘right’ it means an almost unreachable standard that you feel only you can reach. When you fail, you are overcome with self-doubt and worry you can never measure up.

Questions to ask yourself:

- Do you feel as if you are the only one that can get a job done right?

- Are you known to micro-manage or not be able to delegate jobs?

- Do you feel, even when you have spent hours on a project and done your research, it is never 100%?

- When you did not reach your personal high standards, do you beat yourself up about it for day, even when others say it was good work?

A perfectionist can rarely find success, because you can never acknowledge it. This may push you to do a lot of hard work, but doing a lot of work is not always productive or smart work. In addition, you will get burnt out and start to hate what you are doing. Both of these situations are not healthy.

Here are some ways for you to take time to live in your accomplishments:

- When some compliments you, just say thank you. Do not find a comment back to put yourself down. The more you do that, the more you will start to believe in the compliment.

- When you find your perfectionist come through, think of as many reasons, even if it is just one, to why you deserve the position you are in.

- Do not view mistakes as bad, but as the only way for you to grow and learn.

- If you have an idea of a project, go for it now! Stop doing an endless amount of research, because there is always going to be more to learn. You will learn by trying.

2. The Superwoman/man

These types thinks that if they are not constantly doing something, their cover will be blown. These commitments or jobs just end up being a cover-up for feeling insecure. This hurts not only someone’s mental health, but can hurt the community around them, because they tend to push social commitments to the side to focus on work.

Questions to ask yourself:

- Do you get restless when you do not have work to do? For example, can you find joy in leisurely reading?

- Do you have any hobbies or passions outside of work?

Superwoman/man are just workaholics in disguise. The hero needs to get validation from work to survive. This becomes unhealthy, because the most important validation is internal validation.

Think about it. If you crave the external validation: You do not have power over your work, work has power over YOU. Does that make you very “Super”?

Here are ways for you to find internal validation:

- See constructive criticism as someone trying to help you grow and be a better, strong, more super person.

- Write down one thing in the morning and an night that you are proud of.

- At the end of each week. Write down everything you have achieved. You will be surprised of everything you have gotten done in just 7 days!

3. The Natural Genius

These types feel that they should already know everything and judge their competence on the ease and speed verses their efforts of learning something new.

Unlike perfectionist, natural genius types don’t just judge themselves based on absurd expectations, they judge themselves based on getting things right on the first try.

Questions to ask yourself:

- Do you think negatively of learning from others or having a mentor?

- When faced with a new game, are you shameful not winning the first time?

- Do you enjoy learning something new or feeling uncomfortable?

Ways to value your growth opportunities:

- Look at skills you are not a master in yet, as a fun game that you are able to work on and achieve. You have something to actually achieve, not just get handed to you.

- Repeat to yourself that everyone is always improving.

- Don’t immediately beat yourself up on things you can work on, but instead think of actionable steps you can do to constantly improve.

4. The Soloist

Soloists think that their stage has to be taken alone. They feel if they reach out for help, they are weak and will be unmasked. It is strong to be independent, but you are mightier with a community.

Questions to ask yourself:

- Do you feel like you have to do everything your own?

- Do you hear yourself saying, “I can do it myself.”

How to find the power in a duet:

- First, ask for others thoughts and suggestions on a project you are working on. Get comfortable with bouncing off ideas with others and taking other’s suggestions as valuable.

- Working in a group isn’t just about work projects, but also life projects. Reach out to your friends and family for help with cleaning or babysitting. You will be surprised the strong desire to help others.

5. The Expert

Experts don’t just want to know the large spread, but and in-depth knowledge of it all. They think that they will never know enough and that they need to constantly keep trying to know more and that if they do not, they will be considered inexperienced and a fraud. I am not saying that learning is bad, but not finding the knowledge you do have valuable, then you will wear yourself out.

Questions to ask yourself:

- Do you not apply to jobs if you do not meet every single requirement?

- No matter how many certificates or degrees you have, do you still not think you are intelligent?

- Do you think you are inadequate in your position even if you have been in it for years?

Ways to accept what you do not know:

- When you do not know something, instead of rushing to learn it, ask someone else and see that it is okay to ask for help.

- Volunteer at work or in the community as a mentor to recognize the value you already have. You will start to have external evidence of your intelligence.

No matter what profile you relate to, know you are not alone.

But just because you feel it now or have in the past, does not mean you need to stay on track with the imposter syndrome. You can find your Pineapple Mindset today and share your value with others. Because others deserve to learn from you and you deserve to love you.

Chloe EdwardsComment