Do people tell you that you’re an over-achiever, but you still feel like a fraud? If so, you could be suffering from imposter syndrome. Essentially, imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where people feel like they are in their current position due to luck. They often have a nagging feeling that they didn’t do anything to deserve becoming successful, and thus, they are inferior to those around them.
Despite the complexity of this issue, some studies suggest that close to 70% of people suffer from this disorder throughout their careers and in their day to day lives.
Today we want to take a closer look at this issue. We are going to start by looking at the various types of imposter syndrome, then we will talk about a couple of ways you can overcome this psychological barrier.
Let’s get started!
Understand the Types of Imposter Syndrome
First, it’s worth knowing that imposter syndrome can affect people in different ways. When you know the signs, it’s easy to figure what type is plaguing you.
One of the most common types of this disorder is known as the Perfectionist. Basically, a person with this type of imposter syndrome sets ridiculous high bars for themselves, and when they don’t reach their goals, they feel let down.
These people also struggle with delegating and working in groups, because they feel like they have a perfect vision and want to see it through. Unfortunately, we all can’t be perfect all the time, and as a result, perfectionists suffer from feelings of inadequacy.
Next, let’s talk about the Natural Genius. People with this type of imposter syndrome usually excel at most of the things they do. When they encounter something that challenges them, or that requires them to break their usual mold, they feel as if they are a failure.
The difference between the Natural Genius and the Perfectionist is the variable they use to judge their success. Perfectionists have expectations for the final outcome, while Natural Genius personality types determine their success based on how quickly and efficiently they can pick up something new.
Finally, we are going to talk about the Expert. This person feels like they will never be good enough to be considered an expert or professional. As a result, they may shy away from trying things that will challenge them. At the same time, shying away from this challenge makes them feel like a failure. So they try to find other ways to build up their experience.
These folks tend to spend a lot of time reading and working towards degrees and certificates. They feel as if the certificates count towards their success, sometimes more so than their experience. As a result, they are always chasing the next degree or certification that will validate them as an expert. Because they have a hard time feeling accomplished, it can be hard for them to work in leadership positions due to feelings of self-doubt.
Acknowledge Your Victories
Now that we know the most common types of imposter syndrome, it’s time to talk about solutions. The first thing you should do, especially if you fall into the perfectionist category, is to acknowledge and celebrate all of your victories.
As mentioned, perfectionists care about the final outcome, not what happens in between. If you want to overcome being a perfectionist, you have to learn to appreciate all of the wins that come your way.
Let’s say you wanted to run a blog. If you have a vision of one million page subscribers, you’re not going to be happy until you hit that number. You’ll feel like a fraud and like you’re unworthy of your position, and that’s not right. Instead, work on creatively earning blog subscribers and celebrate small milestones like your first 1000 subscribers.
As you learn to appreciate every accomplishment, you’ll start to focus on smaller, individual tasks. The result is you’ll have a more well-rounded finished product and freedom from imposter syndrome.
Self-evaluation is essential in every aspect of our lives. The more we know about ourselves, the easier it is for us to make decisions, identify our behaviors, and improve our self-image.
Start by asking yourself questions every day like:
- What did I do right today?
- Where can I improve?
- How can I adjust expectations to meet what I’m capable of doing?
- Who can I rely on if I need honest feedback or advice?
These questions are designed to help you look at yourself and your decisions from another perspective. Seeing things through a different lens can result in improved self-esteem and feelings of confidence.
You have to take the time to analyze what you’re feeling so you can make smart decisions moving forward.
Find Ways to Gradually Grow Skills
Gradually growing skills will make you a better and stronger person. All three types of imposter syndrome we mentioned here today can benefit from gradually growing their skills. The most notable example can be found when looking at people who suffer from expert imposter syndrome.
The fear of failure drives them away from trying things that interest them. When you combine the worry of inability with feelings of inadequacy, it’s easy to see how learning new skills can pose a challenge. Here’s the trick — you have to ease your way into new skillsets gradually.
For example, don’t swear off creating a website because you don’t know how to code. Instead, look at alternative solutions like guides and beginner-friendly plugins. Once your site is up and running, you can continue growing your skills by creating contact forms, content, and more over time. It’s a gradual process, but don’t fear future success because of self-doubt.
There’s a good chance that you’ve suffered from imposter syndrome throughout your career. Don’t let that idea scare you away from becoming the best version of yourself.
Use the tips we mentioned here today to start learning more about yourself. Spend time working towards owning your accomplishments while improving your self-image, and you’ll have a much better chance at winning the battle against imposter syndrome.