Formerly called the imposter phenomenon, imposter syndrome can affect anyone from programmers, business owners, entrepreneurs to web designers. It refers to feeling inadequate professionally despite possessing enough experience and expertise in a specific field. People with this condition often feel like they are not good enough, smart enough, or competent even with contrary evidence.
Symptoms of Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome can manifest itself in different forms from one individual to another. A person can exhibit multiple symptoms, including feeling constant pressure to do better or achieve more next time, uncomfortable with getting congratulated or praised, and doubtful of attaining success.
You may also feel depressed, anxious, or stressed due to a sense of inadequacy—feeling like previous success was out of luck. You feel incompetent even after demonstrating your aptitude many times and holding the notion that success is unattainable. Due to persistent inadequacy feelings, people with imposter syndrome may develop mental health issues like depression.
Types of Imposter Syndrome
Majority of the people who struggle with imposter syndrome fall in any of these categories:
These individuals do everything possible to achieve their absolute best, regardless of the mental health costs. They set such high standards that they are often impossible to attain. Perfectionists rarely get satisfaction from achieving something or attaining a milestone because they feel like they could have done better.
The Natural Genius
Like a perfectionist, the natural genius set impossibly high bars for themselves. However, these individuals judge their competencies according to speed and ease rather than effort. People with this imposter syndrome feel embarrassed if they take a long time to master or achieve something.
These individuals focus on “what” and “how much” they can do or know. Despite being knowledgeable, the expert often feels like they do not know enough and fear being perceived as unknowledgeable or inexperienced. According to the Kajabi imposter syndrome study, more than 20% of entrepreneurs often worry about being exposed for lacking abilities or knowledge.
These individuals usually struggle with work addiction and gauge their competence based on the number of roles they can excel in and juggle. The superman/woman feels like they can handle any position effortlessly and perfectly, so failing in one leads to feeling ashamed. These roles can be a partner, friend, co-worker, parent, hostess/ host, or even a volunteer.
This describes a person with difficulty asking and accepting help because they care about “who” accomplishes the task. They prove their worth by doing everything by themselves, and needing assistance is a sign of failure. While independence is an admirable quality to have, it should not stand in the way of getting help in particular matters.
How to Deal With Imposter Syndrome
It can be quite beneficial to undergo therapy if you struggle with imposter syndrome, like other psychological or mental health issues. Some other useful tips for dealing with it include assisting others with a similar problem, discussing inadequacy feelings with your family or friends, setting simple, straightforward, realistic, and measurable goals, and replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
It would help if you also stopped comparing yourself with others because becoming successful takes time, so it is okay to gradually work on your goals. Additionally, strive to focus on the real world instead of the virtual one like social media. Learn to accept your emotions, thoughts, and feelings, and keep moving forward, notwithstanding the negative feelings.
It is common to doubt yourself and your abilities from time to time, especially when attempting something new like starting a business, but it shouldn’t get in the way of achieving your goals. Self-belief is the first step in beating imposter syndrome.
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