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All about Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever felt like a fraud? Like you don’t deserve the credit you’re being given for an achievement, or do you ever have a sense of “being found out”? Do you feel like the odd one out in a meeting?

Imposter Syndrome is often felt by high-achieving individuals in a position of success. This is often because they doubt their achievements that got them there, making them feel like a fraud. This is commonly the case for coaches as well as their clients – actually for all human beings, it isn’t gender specific, and takes some practice to overcome.

Although you’ve taken the time to study, you’ve worked hard for your qualifications, you have built a great business – you still may find it difficult to accept your accomplishments and you might question whether you’re deserving of your success. Especially when you compare yourself to other more experienced people.

5 types of Imposter Syndrome

The Perfectionist – The perfectionist will feel like an imposter if anything is less than perfect, it will make you question whether or not your achievements are good enough. You might struggle to ever complete things because they’re never quite good enough.

The Expert – As the expert you will feel like an imposter because there are more things for you to learn, meaning you don’t know everything about a subject. You will probably have shelves full of partially read books as you order everything recommended so that you don’t miss out on the potential opportunity to be even more of an expert.

The Natural Genius – If the natural genius’s don’t get something right the first time or you don’t feel like you’re naturally intelligent or accomplished, you feel like an fraud. This can be debilitating and can get in the way of progression, sometimes even leading to you throwing in the towel completely.

The Superhero – As a superhero, if you’re not the hardest worker or the best at what you do, you feel like an imposter. Being a superhero can lead to physical and mental burnout.

The Soloist – If as a soloist you don’t achieve success on your own, you feel like an imposter, simply because you asked for help. This type of behaviour can alienate people around you, as you become more and more isolated – to the point that when you need help people will be less inclined to support you.

Common Characteristics:

  • Self-doubt
  • Setting unrealistic goals and feeling like a failure when you don’t reach them.
  • Overachieving
  • Downplaying your achievements

What impact does Imposter Syndrome have?

The problem you’ll face with imposter syndrome is that, no matter how hard you work for your achievements, it will never change how you feel about yourself, you’ll more than likely continue to feel that way even though you’ve evidenced against it.

It can also mean that you work harder than you particularly need to, because you have that doubt in yourself, which can ultimately cause ‘burn-out’ leading to mental and physical exhaustion, anxiety and in extreme cases depression.

Summary

Like coaches would expect their clients to, it’s important to share how you’re feeling like you would with any other anxiety disorder, because otherwise all the negative thoughts you have about yourself can quite quickly get overwhelming. Question why you’re having these thoughts by looking back on what you’ve achieved and accomplished, and ask yourself things like “why do I feel my accomplishments mean less?” Do I have to be perfect to be accepted?”

Don’t let your doubts hold you back because, at the end of the day, if you feel like you do have imposter syndrome in some shape or form, then this means that you have some element of success in your life and you should try and look at it as gratitude, instead of luck that you’re there.

Odd One Out

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