Ever feel like you’re not good enough? Like you’re somehow faking it and people might find out at any moment you don’t have “what it takes”? Maybe you feel like a fraud, or like you don’t actually know your stuff. If you’ve felt this way, you might be experiencing Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome is the phenomenon that makes you feel like a fraud in all or certain areas of your life. Feeling like you don’t belong, like you don’t deserve success, or that you’re a fake at what you do are some of the staple negative thoughts that come with this condition. The Imposter Phenomenon was first diagnosed in the ’70s by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes. At first, the theory was that only successful or high-achieving women were affected by it. Yet it turns out anyone can suffer from this syndrome!
Society is just starting to realize how awfully common this phenomenon can be. So there’s been lots of talk about it. A recent review of over 60 studies determined that up to 82% of people suffer from these negative thoughts often. As if Imposter Syndrome wasn’t already the worst, it also puts people at a higher risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. Great, thanks!
So what can you do to stop Imposter Syndrome in its tracks? You need to identify it and learn how to overcome it! And that’s exactly what we’re tackling in today’s post. Keep reading to learn all about the Imposter Phenomenon and how to know if you have Imposter Syndrome!
How To Know If You Have Imposter Syndrome:
Imposter Syndrome is a type of cognitive distortion comes with an overwhelming feeling of guilt for being a fraud. It creates this huge divide between how you perceive your success and how others see your accomplishments. While people praise you for all your hard work, you keep thinking you just faked it until you made it without putting in the effort. You feel like an imposter who doesn’t deserve the pat on the back. However in reality you worked, gained knowledge, and stayed persistent to get where you are. Even if you overworked, spent long nights learning your craft, and achieved success little by little, Imposter Syndrome will have you constant feelings of shame and self-doubt. If any of these emotions sound familiar to you, it’s likely you’re suffering from the Imposter Phenomenon
5 Types Of Imposter Syndrome
People who experience this type of Imposter Phenomenon are high achievers and focus strongly on results. 99% perfect isn’t enough for them. If they made even the tiniest of mistakes, then they’ve failed and all their work was for nothing. Every detail is obsessed over. They’ll pick apart every word, every action, and everything they could have done better. Oh, and if they do succeed? They’ll attribute it to external factors, not they’re own hard work. If this is you, it’s important to shift your mindset and stay focused on THE POSITIVES. Think about what you’ve achieved instead of obsessing over perfection! Give yourself grace, gratitude, and praise rather than criticism or an over evaluation. You can learn more about this in this episode of Real Pod about owning our imperfections!
Superwoman style Imposter Syndrome victims are constantly compensating for their inner feelings of inadequacy. They’re convinced they’re not good enough and they overwork themselves to try and measure up to those around them. That’s why they’re often the last ones to leave the office or take a rest at the end of the day! This attitude not only hurts their mental health and physical wellness, but also damages their interpersonal relationships.
If this is you, make your goal to avoid toxic productivity at all costs and take a mental health day once in a while. Downtime is key! Listen to the episode of Real Pod called Confessions of an Overachiever, How to Re-Define Success and Stop Being So Hard on Yourself to cure yourself of this “superwoman” mindset.
The Natural Genius:
These people with Imposter Syndrome feel like a failure whenever they have to make a bigger effort to master something. If they don’t get it right on their first try, they feel completely ashamed. Their internal bar is so high that they would swear off anything they don’t excel at, even with plenty of external validation! If this is you, remember, nothing worth having comes without practice. So it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get it the first time. Have some self-compassion and work on developing a greater sense of self-worth.
Experts measure their self-value based on what and how much they know or can do. So it’s easy for them to feel like they’re not enough in the presence of others! Experts can be overly competitive (even though competition is actually good for success) and they fear their incompetence could be exposed at any moment. Even with plenty of raises and promotions, they’re always full of anxiety about the way they’re perceived. If this sounds like you, remember, no one knows everything. We’re all here to learn endlessly.
These are the type of people who despise asking for help. They would rather struggle forever than have a mentor or ask for the smallest bit of advice! If you feel like you don’t need anyone’s help, ever, you might be a soloist. For more on how to ask for help, stop people pleasing, and build self-confidence to kick Imposter Syndrome to the curb, listen to this episode of House Guest.
Signs Of Imposter Syndrome
You’re terrified of failure.
Everybody fears failure. But not everyone acts like textbook high achievers all the time! People with Imposter Syndrome are so scared of it that they might not even try to achieve a goal because they can’t stand the idea of failure. So if you fear the possibility of failing so much that it leaves you paralyzed, you probably suffer from Imposter Syndrome.
Praise isn’t something you can easily accept.
Being unable to accept praise or being uncomfortable while receiving praise is a telltale sign that you’re suffering from Imposter Syndrome. You might feel frazzled when given a compliment. Or maybe you convince yourself that they don’t really mean it or that it’s just pity praise. If this is you, then you need to take it easy and accept others are giving you honest feedback.
You underestimate your own success.
Are you highly successful according to everyone but yourself? Then you might suffer from Imposter Syndrome. You might feel like your achievements aren’t that big of a deal or constantly remind yourself that someone out there is still more successful than you. This is a common behavior, but it still needs to be kept in check.
Less than perfect isn’t an option.
Again, perfectionism is highly related to the Imposter Phenomenon. Don’t be surprised if people call you a perfectionist and you can’t accept any mistakes on your end. It’s probably this syndrome conditioning your negative thoughts!
You overwork yourself almost every day.
Every superwoman overworks themselves. It’s a classic sign of Imposter Syndrome and typical behavior seen on high achievers. Working yourself until the point that your mental health is compromised is an absolute no-no! You need to prioritize your competition is actually good for success and identify this phenomenon to move forward.
You’re worried about being exposed as a fraud.
If you ever worry that at any moment someone might call you out for not knowing something, or being a fraud in some way, you have Imposter Syndrome.
How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Keep the comparisons to a minimum.
High achievers can’t help but compare themselves against everyone and everything. It doesn’t matter if you don’t even know the person you’re comparing yourself to, you still have feelings of inadequacy. In your mind, you never measure up against anyone. This is no way to live your life! So focus on yourself, not others. Drop the comparison, show up for yourself, and channel that energy into your own personal growth and achieving your own goals.
Think about the facts.
Whenever you feel like your work isn’t good enough, use facts to determine whether those negative thoughts are justified or not. Is your work objectively bad? Are you honestly not good enough? Look at the facts and analyze the situation with a clear mind. That’s the only way you’ll be able to believe in your success.
Acknowledge your awards, achievements, results, and successes.
Imposter Syndrome always has us feeling like frauds. However, sometimes the proof really is in the pudding. If you’re succeeding, NEWS FLASH, you’re not a fraud. If you’re getting promotions, awards, being recognized, or achieving results, you are not a fraud. Quiet that inner Imposter Syndrome and be proud of yourself!
Make peace with failure and imperfection.
If you want to move forward, you need to drop those insanely high standards. There’s no point in torturing yourself for every little slip-up. Your mental health will take a toll otherwise! So learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes and failures. They’re part of your growth journey and not a definition of your worth!
Celebrate your accomplishments to make them more meaningful.
If you suffer from Imposter Syndrome, you might not make your achievements a big deal. If you don’t make them a big deal, they’re easier to overlook. Plus, you need to practice being proud. So whenever you have a milestone, treat yourself to a hot bath, a drink with a friend, one dozen cupcakes! Whatever your vibe is, you deserve a small celebration. You choose how to celebrate yourself, just go for it!
Make it a must-do to boost your confidence.
A person lacking confidence is far more likely to suffer from the Imposter Phenomenon. So take daily actions to feel like the boss lady that you are! This can range from putting on your favorite outfit, doing an energizing workout, saying daily affirmations, or listening to a confidence-boosting podcast. It’s up to you. Anything is valid as long as it helps you feel more confident in your own abilities!
What are you doing to fight the feelings of inadequacy that come with Imposter Syndrome?
Let’s all put an end to the suffering caused by Imposter Syndrome. If you relate to the signs and struggles of the Imposter Phenomenon, know that you’re not alone. To find tips on how others have overcome Imposter Syndrome, listen to the episode of The Career Contessa called How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome in 30 Days and the episode of Soul on Fire called Imposter Syndrome, HSP’s, Creating Discpline & Routine, Launching a Brand.
Many capable people suffer from it and manage to thrive in spite of it! You can overcome the feelings of inadequacy and move forward in life. So many rad people are silently suffering from Imposter Syndrome. So let’s talk about it, shall we? We love hearing from you! So leave a comment below with your story of Imposter Syndrome!