Hit enter to search or ESC to close
At some point or other in your life, there’s probably a good chance that you have had the thought that you “weren’t good enough.” Those feelings of inadequacy are so not fun and once they show up, they are usually pretty hard to kick to the curb. It turns out that these feelings have an oh-so-fancy name. Impostor syndrome.
Impostor syndrome is this idea of feeling like you’re a fake or you’re not good enough despite having more than enough expertise, accomplishments and experience. So even if you’re crushing it at school or killing it at your new job, you will often feel like you’re inadequate or lacking, despite all the evidence that says otherwise.
As there are so many types of impostor syndrome, it can look different depending on the person. Some common feelings many people with impostor syndrome experience include:
According to Dr. Valrie Young (aka the impostor syndrome expert), there are five different types of impostor syndrome. You might find that you struggle with just one type or a combination of multiple types. Every person is different. These types of impostor syndrome include:
This kind of impostor syndrome focuses on “how” something is done. People with this type set ridiculously high goals for themselves, and so when they fail to reach these impossible goals, they start to doubt themselves and become scared about measuring up or being enough.
Signs you’re dealing with this type:
How to stop it:
While it’s great that you care so deeply about everything you do, it’s important to show yourself love, both with the good and the bad. When you get good feedback on a project, give yourself permission to celebrate your success. Sure, maybe there were spots where you could improve for next time, but don’t dismiss how hard you worked and what well. Good enough is just that, good enough.
On the flip side, when you make a mistake, show yourself some compassion and remind yourself that it’s not the end of the world and making mistakes is just part of the process. It’s impossible to be perfect all the time, and while it’s hard, it’s important to cut yourself some slack.
This type of impostor syndrome focuses on “how” and “when” accomplishments happen. They believe that they need to be a natural “genius” at everything, even if they’re just starting it out. Whether it’s a new language or a new software program, if it takes them a long time to master something, they feel shame and judge themselves for not getting it right on the first try.
How to stop it: It’s important to not beat yourself up if you don’t pick things up right away. Mastering and accomplishing great things can sometimes take years, so it’s completely okay if you’re not a super genius at something right away. Rather than judging yourself when you don’t reach your ridiculously high standards, start seeing yourself as a work in progress where although you might not be good at something right off the bat, you will get better at it over time.
This type of impostor syndrome is all about the “who” in completing tasks. If they want to achieve something, it has to come from them and only them. If they can’t figure out everything by themselves and need to ask for help, they see it as a sign of failure and can get overwhelmed by disappointment and shame.
How to stop it: Be okay with the fact that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. We all need some help sometimes, but it doesn’t make you any less worthy or capable. If you need support, reach out and get help, whether it’s talking to a friend, a family member, or a counsellor.
This type of impostor syndrome is all about the “what” or “how much” you know or can do. While the genius believes they should naturally be good at everything right away, the expert believes they should just know everything all the time. Even the smallest lack of knowledge can make them feel like a failure.
How to stop it: While it’s always good to keep learning and working on yourself, the truth is you can’t know possibly know everything. You just can’t. The truth is, you really don’t need to know everything, you are smart, hardworking and qualified enough to be where you are.
This type measures success by “how many” roles you can juggle. These roles could include anything from work to school to extracurricular activities. People with this type feel like they should be able to juggle everything perfectly and easily and so when they fall short in any of their roles, they feel ashamed as they believe they should have been able to handle it all.
How to stop it: With people dealing with superhuman impostor syndrome, they usually love the external validation that comes from juggling all of these roles. This is why if you’re struggling with this type, it’s important to get away from this idea of external validation. The more you focus on internal validation and inner confidence, the easier it will be for you to let go of this type of impostor syndrome. From there, you can start setting some healthy boundaries and figuring out how many roles you can realistically tackle.
While impostor syndrome isn’t a mental health disorder, it can lead to other mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. The good news though is you’re not alone here. Around 70% of people will experience impostor syndrome at some point in their lifetime.
So if you feel like you’re struggling with one or more of these types of impostor syndrome, it might be worth talking to a counsellor to work through those feelings of self-doubt and self-sabotage. Because you are enough exactly as you are and it’s time for you to start believing it.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.