Imposter Syndrome

Yeah, did you know there’s more than one type of imposter syndrome?

It’s not as simple as just having a lack of confidence in yourself or your abilities, or that dreaded feeling that you’ll be ‘found out’ at any given moment. There’s much more to it than that and we all have different triggers.

Have a read of the below and see if any of those ring true – I’m personally a mix of the soloist, the natural genius, and the superwoman – aaarrrgghhhh.

Dr Valerie Young is widely regarded as one of the leading experts and this is what she’s got to say about it…

The Perfectionist’s primary focus is on “how” something is done. This includes how the work is conducted and how it turns out. One minor flaw in an otherwise stellar performance or 99 out of 100 equals failure and thus shame.

The Expert is the knowledge version of the Perfectionist. Here, the primary concern is on “what” and “how much” you know or can do. Because you expect to know everything, even a minor lack of knowledge denotes failure and shame.

The Soloist cares mostly about “who” completes the task. To make it on the achievement list, it has to be you and you alone. Because you think you need to do and figure out everything on your own, needing help is a sign of failure that evokes shame.

The Natural Genius also cares about “how” and “when” accomplishments happen. But for you, competence is measured in terms of ease and speed. The fact that you have to struggle to master a subject or skill or that you’re not able to bang out your masterpiece on the first try equals failure which evokes shame.

The Superwoman/Superman/Super Student measures competence based on “how many” roles they can both juggle and excel in. Falling short in any role — as a parent, partner, on the home-front, host/hostess, friend, volunteer — all evoke shame because they feel they should be able to handle it all — perfectly and easily.

So what do we do about it? First up, you need to remember you’re almost always going to set your own bar too high.

There’s nothing wrong with reaching for the stars, we all have huge ambition and dreams we want to achieve BUT it’s how you apply this pressure to yourself that’s important.

If you’re constantly berating yourself and cracking your own whip, you’re going to feel like sh*t so take a step back and look at what’s realistic. There’s no shame in taking time for yourself, time to reflect, and create a battle plan based on realistic expectations of what’s achievable.

We’re all likely to overestimate what we can achieve in a short space of time and underestimate what we can accomplish over a longer period of time so, plan 3 non-negotiables for the week and do them, every week, before you know it you’ll be so close to your goal you can hear the prosecco cork a’poppin.

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