The mass majority of people face imposter syndrome during some point in their life. It is common and many times overlooked. Imposter syndrome can tear a person down as self-doubt enables their fixed mindset to go into overdrive. Let’s take a deep look into imposter syndrome.
In this post, we will discuss what imposter syndrome is and how you may have it without knowing it. We will take a look at the 5 most common types of imposter syndrome. Most importantly we will discuss ways to control your imposter syndrome and retrain your brain.
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What is imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is a feeling of being a fraud intellectually. It is described as an intense feeling of being inadequate causing a fear of being discovered as a fake, wanna be, or fraud.
Imposter syndrome is most commonly found in students starting out in their new career field after graduation, as well as in individuals in high paying positions or individuals after a promotion.
However, it can affect anyone no matter their success or status. For example, anyone who is in a new position in any aspect of their life such as being new to parenthood, being newlywed, disclosing their gender identity etc can be affected by imposter syndrome.
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How to know if imposter syndrome is affecting you?
If you have taken a turn in a certain aspect of your life and feel overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy you may be suffering imposter syndrome.
If you struggle with self-doubt after a change in status imposter syndrome may just be the culprit.
If you find yourself keeping your ideas to yourself or isolating yourself from others around you in a certain aspect of your life you may be suffering imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome comes in many shapes and forms and is often difficult to diagnose without knowing what to look for.
Types of Imposter Syndrome
Knowing the 5 most common forms of imposter syndrome is helpful in discovering if this is what is holding you back. So let’s take a look at these 5 areas of your fixed mindset forcing imposter syndrome negativity into your life.
The brainy girl affected by imposter syndrome is the person who thinks they should know everything especially around certain areas of their lives. If they do not know the answer they feel immense embarrassment and are ashamed of themselves.
They are extremely hard on themselves in their need to be the smartest person in the room. Sometimes setting an answer wrong can make them feel so ashamed they hesitate to speak up the next time around.
The perfect critic is the perfectionist within you that you tear your confidence down. We all have some degree of perfectionism but some of us really let it take over. We set high standards and if we do not reach them to the degree we believe we should then we are hard on ourselves and beat ourselves up.
We are harder on ourselves with our expectations than we are on others. We also do not like to share work in fear it will not be good enough if not done by ourselves. This can be very exhausting.
The wonder woman is the “I can do it all”, “I can wear all the hats” and “I can rock this”. Wonder woman can spread herself too thin and in the long run she will not be able to give the best of what she has due to pure exhaustion and burn out.
Wonder woman needs to slow down and practice some relaxation. You can be much more productive once you start practicing self-care.
I’m guilty of being a wonder woman and often times I fall back into this bubble-like a life cycle that keeps coming round. Sometimes I feel like an Imposter if I’m not doing all the things!
I take on way too much at times because of the other imposters like the perfect critic and miss independent. Be open to realizing you may have more than one type of imposter syndrome.
The Miss Independent imposter is the one who must do it on her own and feels guilt and shame when working with others. She takes pride in her work and refuses to accept help from others. Once someone helps it diminishes her pride and her confidence. She feels guilt that she did not complete it on her own accord.
They don’t feel like they have accomplished success if they needed help or worked with a partner on a project. This can be very challenging in the workforce because they struggle to be part of a team.
This embarrassment or pride as I use to refer to it also prevents them from asking for help which can lead to exhaustion and overwhelm.
Think of a new mom who hasn’t had a break in months who is too fearful to ask someone for help. Think of a new boss that is unsure how to log into the new computer program. Often times our pride can get in the way.
Girl, I Was Born This Way
The “I was born this way” imposter can go either way. They either believe they have the talent or they believe they do not. This person has an extremely fixed mindset that does not believe they can change or get better.
If they believe they were born with it they may not try as hard or give up when they reach a point of failure. They believe there is no point in trying to keep working on it as they have reached their peak potential.
Whereas the other side of it, “not born with it”, will never try at all if they do not break free because they do not believe they can ever gain the knowledge or experience to become good at it.
How to overcome imposter syndrome
Overcoming imposter syndrome can be difficult because our fixed mindset is powerful. We need to face the fear head on.
Uncover The Fears To Face Them:
- What type of imposter syndrome is holding you back?
- Is it more than one type?
- What is it that makes you feel like an imposter?
- What does that fear feel like?
- What beliefs support the fear?
- What beliefs dismantle the fear?
- What is the worse case scenario?
- What would happen if the worst-case scenario happened?
- What would it do to you?
- How would it make you feel?
- What would you do then?
- How would you deal with it?
- Have you overcome this before?
- Is the worst-case scenario as bad as your mind makes it feel?
Ensure you recognize the signs of imposter syndrome in order to face them head on. What is it that triggers your fixed mindset to make you doubt yourself? Once you are able to identify the triggers you can work on them one at a time.
Imposter Syndrome Trigger Examples:
- starting a new project
- taking a new class
- getting stuck on a tough question
- talking in front of a large gathering of people
- talking to your boss or other person of authority
Here is an example of imposter syndrome I think a lot of people struggle with and do not even realize it. In fact, I didn’t realize it until I started digging my imposters out of the closet in order to deal with them.
Scenario: You’re driving along on the road like you do every day. Nothing out of the ordinary and all of a sudden a police officer pulls in behind you. No lights, no nothing, just pulling into traffic with you.
All of a sudden your senses are heightened and you feel like you are going to make a mistake. Sometimes you can get so nervous you panic and you do make a mistake.
This is a form of feeling like an imposter. You know perfectly well how to drive, but the authority following you makes you doubt your skill and your confidence waivers.
Heck, I got so nervous once while a police officer was walking down the street I locked my keys in the car and this police officer was a family friend. I had no reason to be nervous but I was. That cost me time and money to get my car unlocked.
Reframing Negative Thinking
Using tools such as reframing negative thinking can be extremely beneficial to eliminating imposter syndrome.
Because it is a part of our fixed mindset, enabling our growth mindset allows us to begin a new chapter in thinking.
You can find out more about reframing negative thinking here on the blog and in my complimentary empowering self-awareness course.
Practicing Affirmations & Acceptance Of Failure
Using affirmations can help us to remind ourselves of the positive attributes that we have. It helps us remember the knowledge we have and the knowledge we are consistently growing.
It is also to remember that no one was born with the ability to achieve success in their field. They gathered experience and made mistakes and learnt from them. They started from the bottom up and worked their way up.
NO ONE KNOWS IT ALL IN THE BEGINNING.
We all learn by experience, by education and by practicing.
Many times imposter syndrome and overthinking go hand in hand.
The more you work on your strategies the easier it becomes and the quicker it works. No matter how silly you may feel in the beginning if you keep doing it and keep working on it for you, you will take control of your fears and you will succeed.
It all feels silly in the beginning when you have never practiced self-care, give it a week or two and counting to one hundred might just be the best thing you ever heard of. Or practicing breathing in squares may be a game-changer for you or maybe you practice self-care every day now and its working amazingly.
Need more self-care ideas head here and here.
We can not beat anything we do not work on so take action now and jump in the drivers seat of your own life!
If you would like to work on your confidence more please check out The Confidence Builder Workbook. This 32-page workbook is designed to help you dig deep, uncover what is holding you back and rebuild your confidence like never before.
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