Definition: Imposter Syndrome - the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills.
I can’t help but feel as though we’ve all experienced a time where we’ve felt imposter syndrome, for example with doubting a job role, a promotion, or being in a relationship. This comes down to your subconscious mind battling with your conscious by planting seeds of doubt, and making you question your ability to do something. However, I think that the doubts you have, you should channel that emotion and use that as motivation within anything you set out to do.
There are five types of imposter syndrome; you may find qualities in each type that you can relate to.
The Five imposter types
The Perfectionist – sets high standards for themselves and if not met ends up feeling self-doubt.
The Expert – feels that knowledge is power and should know everything they need to know, however, if they feel like they have failed they fear that they’ll be figured out.
The Natural Genius – feels that they should be able to execute a task straight away, if not able to, they feel like they have failed.
The Soloist – prefers to work independently and struggles to ask for help as they feel that they aren’t capable despite needing assistance.
The superhuman – likes to overload themselves with work to prove that they deserve their given role/title; which is to compensate for their insecurity based on not feeling worthy of their place e.g. in a work environment.
The type I relate to the most is “the perfectionist”, because I feel as though I should be able to execute everything well at all times. To add, as a perfectionist you see no room for mistakes which I struggle with and rather than attempt something for the first time, I end up doubting myself.
With that being said, the pressure that we put on ourselves to feel as though we belong or are deserving of a title or place, needs to be if not completely lifted but adjusted.
Here are a few suggestions to help you cope with imposter syndrome, that I hope many of you will find helpful:
- Challenge yourself to try something new every day, by creating a list of tasks that you tick off once completed.
- Positive affirmations that encourage you on a day-to-day basis e.g. “I am enough”.
- No matter how hard says “yes” to new opportunities that you may find hard to try but in this case, it’s about pushing yourself.
Each suggestion is designed to either encourage or take you out of your comfort zone, to help you see your potential which you may find difficult.
On the other hand, as a society, the idea of being placed in a box is very evident based on race, gender, and class which unfortunately has an impact on how we view ourselves. To add, this is where stereotyping comes into play where an image is created, and depending on the environment we may not fit the mould. Another factor is social media, which is all based on image and living up to unrealistic expectations of beauty as well as a lifestyle. In addition, social media has a big influence on people to create an altered persona, that’s accepted, praised and even idolised. Consequently, what we expose ourselves whether that be positive or negative, can influence our way of thinking and as a result affect how we view ourselves in the long run.
To conclude, rather than letting self-doubt make you question what you’re capable of, you can use that feeling as drive to accomplish your goals. Also, don’t allow what you see online and in society to dictate how you view yourself or what you want to achieve. We should learn to not be so hard on ourselves and apply unnecessary pressure when reaching our goals. Instead, we should work according to our strengths, which can help us to see where our potential lies. The journey to discovering this can be a surprising but rewarding one in the end.
Written by Jessica