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What Is Imposter Syndrome? Are You Suffering From It?

If you're crippled by Imposter Syndrome, you’re not alone. A guide to help you battle your inner demons.

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Imposter Syndrome Man
Imposter Syndrome Man
Imposter Syndrome, source: Pixabay

Do you tend to doubt all your achievements? Ever feel you’re not worthy of your success? Do you overlook your hard work and talent and credit your luck for everything? Always feel like a charlatan? Ever fear someone might expose you out in public?

If you’re constantly overwhelmed with such feelings, chances are, you’re going through imposter syndrome. As a solo freelance writer, I’ve had my fair share of Imposter Syndrome, and I still face it on a day-to-day basis. It’s a topic that deserves to come to light. That’s why, in this article, I’ve laid down the 5 types of Imposter Syndrome that affect 70% of the population and 7 practical tips to battle them.

Let’s dive right in:

So What Exactly Is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a mental condition where someone doubts and questions all his achievements, success, competence, and authority. Thus, they start to see themselves as unworthy. And he always feels he made it so far just because of luck. And there’s a lingering fear that he’ll be exposed in front of everyone.

In 1978, Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Dr. Suzanne A. Imes first introduced Imposter Syndrome in their book “The Impostor Phenomenon in High Achieving Women.” They reported it’s a trait found in abundantly successful women. And for the record, the study was essentially done on such high-achiever women.

However, later it was that both genders go through this Imposter Syndrome. Valerie Young, the author of “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women” is an Imposter Syndrome expert. She found some common characteristics of people suffering from the condition:

  1. The Perfectionist

Perfectionist people strive to be flawless in anything they do. Even if they’re massively successful, they tend to consider themselves a failure. They keep blaming themselves and doubting their skills. Unless 100% faultless, they don’t want to count their wins.

  1. The Natural Genius

Some people are born gifted. Such natural geniuses have this high expectation that they can do something on their first try. They won’t have to work hard, regardless of the task. But if they fail to do so in a certain task — getting the grasp — they feel ashamed. And this gives birth to Imposter Syndrome in them.

  1. The Superman / Superwoman

This group of people is hell-bent on seeing themselves successful. They always strive to work harder than everyone around them just to prove that they’re not unworthy or incompetent. They constantly pressure themselves to prove they’re not imposters.

  1. The Soloist

“I don’t need anyone’s help; I can do everything on my own” – is an excellent independent thought to have. While self-reliance may seem fine on the surface, if someone strives to stick to that rule in every sphere of life, it becomes a problem. Such people feel like an imposter just for asking for help, therefore, abstain from it. And that signals  Imposter Syndrome.

  1. The Expert

This breed of people does their due diligence before starting a task. And they think they must gain all the information and knowledge within a given time. Such people don’t ask any questions in the office or in meetings. Because they fear that the question might make them look like a look in front of others.

According to research, 70% of people may suffer from imposter syndrome. Even highly famous people like Maya Angelou, Michelle Obama, Oscar-winner actor Tom Hanks have suffered this curse called Imposter Syndrome.

Some Quick Tips to Battle Imposter Syndrome

  1. Practice self-sympathy. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Share your feelings with the loved ones. Keep in mind – a lot of us are constantly battling this challenge.
  2. Give credit and recognition to your own work. This will boost your confidence.
  3. Make a list of your achievements and capabilities. Whenever you think you got everything because of luck, jot down your achievements, and chances are, the thought of luck might seem funny at that moment.
  4. Accept that you’re not perfect. It’s called being human. Forgive your mistakes.
  5. Learn to embrace failure too. Because the road to success is paved with failures.
  6. Get feedback before evaluating your own self. This will give you more realistic data, not the impossible standards you set for yourself.
  7. Be your own competition, not someone else’s.

Closing Thoughts

In the end, remember there’s a significant purpose in your life. You’re the protagonist of your own story. You’re stronger than you think; you’re smarter than you imagine. And you deserve a lot more credit than you give yourself. Always remind yourself of these facts. Remember, nobody loves you more than you do, nobody can lift you as much as you can. Make the most of it.

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