If you haven’t read a general overview of Imposter Syndrome you can find it here https://www.healgrowtransform.com.au/psychology-articles/do-you-ever-feel-like-youre-an-imposter/.
Today I’m going to talk about the 5 different types of Imposter Syndrome.
I found it quite helpful to understand the different categories. I listened to an audiobook “The Imposter Solution” by Cassandra Dunn. While she was giving the overview I’m like “Naaah. Not me.”
But when she got into the 5 types there was one that made me think “Mmm. That could be me.”
Anyway, regardless if you fit the actual definition of Imposter Syndrome, you might have a little internal cringe like I did if you can identify with any of the following:
- The Perfectionist. Got 99% on an exam? Let’s look at where you went wrong. You set unrealistically high goals and if you can’t meet them, you’re a failure. Everything you do: work, chores, roles (parent, friend, daughter/son, employee/boss) must be met with 100% at least 100% of the time. Your home life has to be perfect in every way. Being perfect prevents you from being found out. Found out that you’re not as good as other people which brings shame.
- The Expert. Got all the degrees or certificates but still not educated enough? Afraid you’ll be seen as inexperienced or that you don’t know enough? Despite being very knowledgeable, as The Expert you still think you need to improve your skills constantly to be good enough, even in a job or role you’ve been great at for years. You have to know everything or you think you’ll look stupid. You have to be able to answer any question or you’re not good enough.
- The Soloist. Do you think it’s only an achievement if it was you and you alone who did it? Think it’s a weakness or a failure to ask for help? Think you’ll be seen as a phoney if you can’t do it all alone? You work on the assumption that you should know what you’re doing. People will see right through to your not-good-enough core if it looks like you can’t do it on your own.
- The Natural Genius. Do you think you should be excellent at something immediately? No learning curve for you? Do you believe people are naturally good at something and if you don’t ‘get it’ straight away you’re not one of those? Not only does the Natural Genius have unrealistically high expectations like the Perfectionist, you also have to get it right the first time. If you don’t it shows what a failure you are. So you might switch hobbies or jobs often, compare yourself to the experts in your field and find yourself lacking,or see yourself as a failure while everyone around you is achieving.
- The Superhuman. The Superhuman has a profile like this: mum of three, works full time, has the perfectly kept house, only provides healthy food made from scratch, and, and, and, and. Oh and don’t forget it all should be done effortlessly. Maybe you stay late at work all the time, doing more than your share. You feel guilty about having down time and find it super difficult to relax. You take on more and more responsibilities, often at detriment to yourself. If you can do it all, you’re ok right? Looking busy, having it all together, being amazing is a good front to cover up the pervasive feelings of not good enough. But keeping all those balls in the air is exhausting and perpetuates the Imposter feelings because it could all come crashing down and expose you so easily.
If none of these sound like you then well done. If they do then don’t fret, there are plenty of things you can do to overcome these beliefs about yourself.