ccording to the Oxford dictionary: “An impostor is a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others, especially for fraudulent gain.” Does this sound like what you call yourself in your head even when the world is cheering you on? You feel like your achievements found you by a string of luck and when people realize you are not as efficient as you look then they’ll kick you to the curb.
It’s a given, results don’t lie. You are surrounded with results of your hard work but it seems the voice in your head isn’t impressed and strongly believes you’re a fraud. The worst part? You’re starting to believe it too. This sounds so much like Impostor Syndrome.
What is Impostor Syndrome?
Impostor syndrome, also called perceived fraudulence, involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.
This could affect any part of an individual’s life from career to relationships, and is a typical example of a fallacy disguised as truth. Perception might not be accurate but can be stronger than reality. In the sense that it’s hard to make rational choices when emotions clouds the state of reasoning.
Check out the different types of impostor syndrome and how to step out it…
Although impostor syndrome isn’t an official mental illness, psychologists acknowledge this high display of self doubt is a real phenomenon and often partners with anxiety and depression to worsen the situation. Hence, it’s various types and manifestations should be spotlighted and tackled accordingly.
Dr. Valerie Young, an expert on the topic, categorized the impostor syndrome into 5 types in her book: “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From the Imposter Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It”.
#1. The perfectionist
It’s not surprising that an idealist is prone to slipping into this mental trap giving their “all or nothing” personalities. The perfectionist often sets high goals and when unmet, might lead to a mental breakdown, self doubt, anxiety and/or depression. The perfectionist believes that no matter the achievement, they could have done better and it’s from this mindset that the doubt erupts.
• Expressing gratitude and celebrating each wins and conquered milestones can help soothe this problem. As unachievable as it sounds for a perfectionist, it’s feasible when you make conscious efforts to identify progress and believe that no one can be perfect no matter how much they try.
#2. The superwoman/man
These sets are the workaholics who tap a sense of relevance from how hard they work. They feel the need to work harder to prove their worth. Employee of the year but still feels it’s not enough. Multiple degrees bagged but it still doesn’t suffice. It seems like a little fairy creature sits on their shoulders whispering the words “work harder”. The superwoman/man lives off the validation and works even harder to set a new heroic standard.
• Shift your focus to your inward cheerleader and away from the praises of others. The latter might feel good initially but eventually it becomes addictive and could drive a person towards the rough path called burnout. Once you realize no one should wield the key to your relevance and dangle it at will, you’ve found the answer to a delightful paradigm shift.
#3. The natural genius
Although similar to the perfectionist, they are quite different. These individuals are used to getting it right: the whizkid always top in class, the highest performing employee. While this is an awesome trait, persons like this might not be inclined to sharpen their skills and shy away from the few things they aren’t good at. They believe the first time is the charm and not getting anything right on the first try shatters their ego/expectations.
Understand that sustainable success isn’t void of skill sharpening and any skill can be mastered with dedication and the right tools. After which you avail yourself to the necessary training. Success is predictable.
#4. The soloist
In the words of the iconic Afrobeats pioneer Fela Kuti, this individual is “suffering and smiling”. Simply put, a soloist is putting up a runway show even when the shoes are threatening to knock off the toes from alignment. These individuals attribute asking for help as a weakness and feel a sense of importance when they achieve tasks alone.
Dr. Young advises to “Keep in mind that you could be taking longer to complete something by insisting in your head that you have to figure it out yourself,” and two goods heads are better than one. Lastly, if you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, team up with the right people.
#5. The expert
One would assume a person of this caliber would be over the heavens with their nose stuck in the clouds but the reverse is the case. This person is constantly accumulating knowledge and yearning to be better. This is a worthy trait but if overdone could lead to impostor syndrome. How? No matter how much expertise has been amassed, this individual still manages to feel like a fraud and won’t attempt any form of change if not convinced that they are 100 percent fit for the task.
• Rather than gathering skills that might not directly improve your life, be more specific and timely with training. Also, make a commitment to passing on the knowledge to proteges. This move will awaken you to the vast amount of knowledge you’ve been sitting on and boost your confidence.
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Inhale confidence, exhale doubt.” ~Unknown
Featured Image: Ivan Samkov | Pexels
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