What is Imposter Syndrome?

imposter syndrome

Do you feel like a fraud?

Are you waiting for someone to come and tap you on the shoulder to tell you that they know you can’t do your job? You might be surprised to learn that everyone has these thoughts. It’s a common experience known as imposter syndrome.

It doesn’t matter what job you’re in either. You could be in a frontline role or run the entire company. This feeling doesn’t discriminate against hierarchy.

But the more you know about imposter syndrome, the more likely you are to identify it before it becomes too big of a problem. So here’s everything you should know about it.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

In short, imposter syndrome is when you don’t believe you are competent as what other people think you to be. It could relate to your intelligence or a specific type of achievement.

You constantly fear that you’re going to get found out. It’s as if someone will discover you’re a fraud and that you shouldn’t be in the position that you are.

The concept originated in the 1970s and was originally only thought to apply to high-achieving females. However, it was quickly discovered that everyone experiences a level of imposter syndrome at some point in their lives.

What are the Characteristics of Imposter Syndrome?

Many people experience imposter syndrome in different ways. For some, there is a constant anxiety. Others feel the need to over-prepare or work harder than others to avoid getting caught out. Some of the common signs of imposter syndrome though can include:

  • Unable to assess your competence or skills
  • Being negative about your performance
  • Self-doubt
  • Overachieving
  • Sabotaging your success
  • Setting yourself challenging goals and feeling upset when you don’t meet them
  • Not believing in your success
  • A fear that you will never live up to expectations.

How Can You Identify Imposter Syndrome?

There are questions that you can ask yourself to see if you have imposter syndrome. Start by asking if you agonise over the smallest mistakes and flaws in your work. Next, ask if you believe your success is due to luck or other factors. Then question if you’re sensitive to even the smallest piece of constructive criticism. The easiest one is if you feel like you are going to be found out. Lastly, do you downplay your expertise?

If you answer yes to one or all of these questions, then this type of negative thinking and self-doubt can have impacts on more than just your work life. You should seek out professional help to get assistance on how to handle these types of thoughts.

What Types of Imposter Syndrome Are There?

Imposter syndrome can surface in many different ways. There is no one size fits all model for it. Some of the most common types can are:

  • The superhero – they feel inadequate and believe they have to work as hard as possible just to keep up with everyone else.
  • The perfectionist – they’re never satisfied and believe they can always do better. They focus on mistakes rather than their strengths.
  • The genius – they set unachievable goals and then are crushed when they don’t nail it the first time.
  • The expert – they feel the need to learn more as they doubt their knowledge and expertise.
  • The soloist – they work alone and often reject help from others as they see it as a sign of weakness.

Want to Learn More?

If you feel like you’re suffering from imposter syndrome, then you should seek out professional help. They can provide you with techniques to overcome or at least manage it when your negative thoughts are starting to get out of control.

Do you want to learn about more than just imposter syndrome? Then you should follow the Better Boss Blog. You’ll find out more about how to become a great leader no matter what your thoughts are telling you. Follow pwf services on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook, so you never miss a post.

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