Feeling Like an Imposter?
The Impact of Imposter Syndrome and How to Cope with It
“I’m not good enough to be here.”
“What am I doing here?”
“Will they notice I don’t belong here and fire me?”
“I’m a fraud. Everyone will know.”
f you have these thoughts, chances are that you may be dealing with Imposter Syndrome. This phenomenon includes thoughts and feelings of self-doubt and incompetence that continue despite having background knowledge, experience, and accomplishments important to the position.
A person impacted by this phenomenon won’t believe they earned their success through their own merits and worry that their peers or employers will come to the same realization. Minor errors at work just reinforce this perception of yourself.
Imposter syndrome can impact anyone in any position or profession. Possible causes of Imposter Syndrome include: parental rearing or childhood environment, personality traits, current mental health status, new expectations and responsibilities, institutionalized racism, and gender bias.
Now that there is an understanding of what Imposter Syndrome is, we’re going to break-down the five types of Imposter Syndrome, the impact of Imposter Syndrome, and how to reduce the impact on your life.
The 5 Types of Imposter Syndrome
If Imposter Syndrome shows up in this type, the person may focus on how things are done to the point that perfection is expected of themselves in every area of their life. Additionally, they will not acknowledge the hard work they’ve invested and may criticize themselves for any errors, seeing them as failures.
The Natural Genius
The Natural Genius type will appear in people who spend their lives easily picking up new skills and believe new information and processes should be understood easily as well. This relates to Imposter Syndrome when they begin to have difficulty with tasks because they feel that competent people would not have any difficulty with these tasks.
In this type of Imposter Syndrome, the person believes that they should be competent enough to not need help from others with tasks. If they are not able to successfully complete those tasks individually, they feel like frauds.
This type will be observed in people who believe that they should have all the knowledge they need internally. If they are not able to answer questions or find out they were not aware of certain knowledge, they feel like failures.
The Superhero type often appears in people who connect competence to their capability of succeeding in every role they take on in their lives. Imposter Syndrome comes in if they are unable to successfully fulfill role demands and expectations.
This is merely an introduction to the five types of Imposter Syndrome, and we hope to elaborate on them in a future blog.
The Impact of Imposter Syndrome
Imposter Syndrome can leave a lasting impact and overbearing burden on a person if they are not able to cope with the phenomenon. Since people are experiencing these thoughts of self-doubt and incompetence, they end up working harder than they usually would and placing higher expectations on themselves – leading to mental health issues and, ironically, poorer work performance. These thoughts of self-doubt and incompetence fuel anxiety, depression, guilt, and stress. The combination of these mental health symptoms then leads to a lack of sleep and inability to focus. If these symptoms are not worked through using effective coping skills, it can lead to other psychological and physiological symptoms.
How to Reduce the Impact of Imposter Syndrome
Sometimes our frequently used coping strategies may not work with certain phenomena, including Imposter Syndrome. There are plenty of ways to work through this self-doubt, including:
- Discussing your feelings and thoughts with your peers, friends, coworkers, family, and mentors.
- They may be feeling something similar and can provide insight on how they worked through the experience.
- Recognizing your experience, knowledge, and competence.
- It takes a lot of work to get where you are in your position or profession, and you would not have been able to get there by doing nothing.
- Challenging your self-doubt.
- It’s important to question whether the facts support the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself.
- Avoid comparing yourself with others around you.
- We are all unique in our own ways and comparing ourselves is not an accurate comparison.
- Seek help if your symptoms worsen.
- It can be hard to do this on our own and there is nothing wrong with needing help from a therapist, church leader, etc. to help you work through it.
Imposter Syndrome can be a difficult phenomenon to work through, especially when it feels so real and scary. However, it can be worked through if you have the right tools at your disposal. You are competent. You have the experience for the position you’re in. You’ve proved to your peers time and time again how you’re deserving of the role. Now, all you must do is allow yourself to believe it as well.
My hope for you is to see your worth in your role, profession, or position. If you would like more information, please contact our office at: (915) 209-1234.
Zoe Olivo, LPC-Associate Supervised by Guillermo A. Castañeda, LPC-S