According to The Muse there are five main types of imposter syndrome:
- The Perfectionist
- The Superwoman/man
- The Natural Genius
- The Soloist
- The Expert
No matter what your specific “type” might be (see the article linked above to figure it out) the root problem is imposter syndrome. The psychological disorder, which so many of us (myself included) suffer from is a phenomenon. The Muse describes it as:
“This psychological phenomenon, known as imposter syndrome, reflects a belief that you’re an inadequate and incompetent failure despite evidence that indicates you’re skilled and quite successful.”
Basically? You think that no matter how hard you’ve worked, how you’ve suffered or how far you’ve climbed, you think yourself undeserving of praise for your work. You think that everything you’ve gained is a matter of luck and not work.
It’s a disorder that alters your perception of your work’s worth. And it’s a hot bundle of lies.
Battling Imposter Syndrome might be a lifelong one. No matter how hard you work on yourself or your passions it’s possible you’ll always be plagued by the goulish liar. But that doesn’t mean you have to take its nonsense sitting down.
A simple Google search will equip you with a swath of protection tactics. But here are some of my personal favorite options as listed by Inc:
- Reprogram how you feel about yourself
For me personally this one is tricky. It’s hard to convince yourself that you are different than your own perception. Even that sentence doesn’t make a lick of sense. But it’s important to try. Stop yourself from disregarding your own feelings or demeaning yourself.
If you’ve got a self-deprecating kind of humor (guilty!) try to cut that out of your system.
- Know that you’re not alone
This is SO important. I’ve met so many wonderful writers who, even with decades more experience than me, see themselves as less than. Even the people you look up to might not think they’re as great as you think they are. It would really help everyone if we developed a community of genuine compliments and built each other up. There is nothing as cathartic as a community.
- Own your achievements
This isn’t an excuse to brag excessively. But as uncomfortable as it may be, make sure you let other people know the wonderful things you’ve done. You don’t have to beat them over the head with it, but you shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about your achievements.
- Stop comparing yourself to others
Although it’s great to know when others are dealing with what you’re dealing with, you don’t need to compare yourself to others or seek their validation. You don’t need to be at the same level as anyone. We are all on our own timeline.
Just because someone you know was making six figures by 30 doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you didn’t. The same goes for any achievement. There is no age or time that is too late to be successful.
Amanda Finn is a Chicago based freelance writer and social media manager. She loves writing about things that make life interesting.