5 Types of Impostor Syndrome and How to Tame Them
I have written 11 books but each time I think ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’ — Maya Angelou
If you’ve been reading my articles for a while, then you probably know that I am not one to shy away from difficult topics. From loss, to growth, to mental health, sharing my experiences authentically is at the core of why I began writing in the first place. That’s why I want to start this post by admitting that this article was a bit difficult for me to write. Why? Well, because I haven’t fully figured out how to combat and manage impostor syndrome myself. It still creeps up on me from time to time and ironically, as I write this, I’m thinking, “I’m fooling everyone.”
Some of you are probably wondering what impostor syndrome, less commonly known as perceived fraudulence, is. Psychologists define impostor syndrome as the internal experience of self-doubt that lets you believe you are not as competent as others perceive you to be.
Who exactly does it affect? Well, a whole lot of people. Turns out, 70% of the population feel like a fraud at least once in their lifetime regardless of race, sex, age, job, or social status. This psychological phenomena has many shapes and forms: from feeling like you are “lucky” and that your merits have nothing to do with your successes to feeling like everyone around you is much smarter than you and that you don’t belong. If not identified and properly managed, your impostor, whatever it feels like, can be chronically crippling, will rob you of your confidence, and will cause you to become your worst critique.
I’ve consciously experienced impostor syndrome since I was 12 years old but only started working on taming my impostors about 5 years ago. I use the word tame because I now believe, from personal experience and from research that impostor syndrome never really goes away. Understanding and accepting that fact has played a big role in my growth and how I’ve approached and managed the feelings of incompetence associated with impostor syndrome.
Thanks to leading researcher Dr. Valerie Young, we now know that there are 5 types of…