6 Different Types Of Imposter Syndrome In Women

Imposter Syndrome is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt and feelings of intellectual fraudulence.

Do you tend to be overly critical of yourself? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Here are 6 different types of Imposter Syndrome women suffer from.

Even after writing eleven books and winning several prestigious awards, Maya Angelou doubted that she had earned her accomplishments. Albert Einstein also described himself as an involuntary swindler whose work did not deserve the attention it had received.

Feeling inadequate, unworthy, and undeserving of success, along with the fear of being exposed as a fraud, is called the imposter syndrome.

The California Institute of Technology Counselling Centre defines imposter syndrome, as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in the face of information indicating that the opposite is true.

It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt and feelings of intellectual fraudulence. People who suffer from imposter syndrome share some common traits.

Common features of imposter syndrome

  • Attribute their success to luck or outside factors
  • Fear that they will inevitably be discovered as phony
  • Downplay their expertise even when they are more skilled than others
  • Feel inadequate and doubt their abilities constantly
  • Are perfectionists and over-prepare for everything
  • Agonize over every small mistake in their work
  • Are extremely sensitive to criticism
  • Sometimes do not take up more responsibility, fearing that they will not be able to deliver.

Valerie Young, an expert on Imposter Syndrome, shares that the following kind of people who experience imposter syndrome.

The perfectionists

They set extremely high expectations from themselves and always feel that their work could be better. They focus on flaws and mistakes and ruminate about them for days.

It reflects in their behaviour toward others. They are control freaks; they micromanage and find it difficult to delegate.

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The experts

Many of them feel the need to know everything before starting a project. They fear they will never know enough. They are forever pursuing new certifications or training programs to learn more.

Likewise, they undervalue their expertise. They do not apply for a job unless they meet all the criteria advertised. They hesitate to speak up out of the fear of looking stupid if they don’t already know the answer.

The natural geniuses

They get used to mastering new skills quickly and easily. Often feel ashamed and weak if they need to work hard to understand/accomplish something.

They interpret having to put in the effort as proof of being incompetent. They dislike the idea of taking help and even having a mentor. Not only that, but they may avoid challenges out of the fear that they may not crack the problem on the first try.

The soloists

Soloist feel compelled to accomplish everything on their own. If they cannot achieve what they have set out without any help, they feel incompetent. And brand themselves as fraud.

The superheroes

They are known to put in extreme efforts to succeed and prove that they’re not imposters. They cannot enjoy the leisure and do not make time to pursue hobbies or interests other than work.

The different from others

Sometimes being different from most of your peers in any way, e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. can impact self-worth and make you feel like a person who has cheated to get to the place they are currently occupying.

How to counter imposter syndrome?

  • Knowing what imposter syndrome is and why it happens can help you spot the symptoms when they arise and apply strategies to overcome their doubts.
  • Acknowledge your feelings and observe them rather than engage with them. Putting a distance between you and your feelings or thoughts can break their emotional hold on you.
  • Journal your feelings of self-doubt. Write down what you are feeling, what makes you feel that way, and if this feeling is a fact. Be specific about each situation.
  • Think of yourself as a third person when you find yourself not raising your hand for a new project or promotion. Wear the hat of your boss/stakeholders and peers and write down why you qualify for that project or promotion.
  • Celebrate your successes and keep a record of your achievements, awards, and positive feedback from people you respect.
  • Share your feelings with your mentors, managers, or trusted friends. Knowing that you are not alone can help to deal with irrational beliefs.
  • Accept that nobody is perfect. Acknowledge that things can go wrong sometimes. Mistakes open doors to new learnings. Next time you feel like you made a fool of yourself, write down what did you learn from the event!

To summarize, if you suffer from imposter syndrome, know that some of the most accomplished people in the world also struggle with it.

Try out the tips mentioned above and figure out which one or combination helps you. Above all, be kind to yourself!

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About the Author

Neelima Chakara

I am an ICF certified ACC coach I use my corporate experience and coaching expertise to help  senior managers - - prepare for next role - transition into their new roles in 90 days Hours coached – 400+ since read more...

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