What is Imposter Syndrome and How to Conquer It Every Time – an Influencer’s Guide

Discover what Imposter Syndrome is and how to overcome it as an influencer. This guide equips you with strategies to silence self-doubt and thrive with confidence.

Matt By Matt
14 Min Read

Ever felt like you’re faking it and soon everyone will find out you’re not as talented as they think? You’re not alone, and what you’re experiencing could well be imposter syndrome.

62% Of UK Adults Experiencing ‘Imposter Syndrome’ At Work

Funding Guru

A common psychological pattern, it causes individuals to doubt their accomplishments and fear that others will expose them as a fraud. Despite evidence of their competence, those with imposter syndrome remain convinced that they do not deserve all they have achieved.

Imposter syndrome acts like an internal critic, relentlessly questioning your success.

Whether you’ve landed a new job, received a compliment on your work, or even when you’re praised on social media, the feeling of inadequacy thrives. Often, it is mislabelled as mere self-doubt, but its roots and psychological impacts run much deeper, influencing your mental well-being and your perception of your abilities.

Addressing imposter syndrome is not about proving your worth to others, but rather recognising your value within.

In confronting these feelings, understanding the root causes is crucial. As a step forward, seeking support from mentors or professionals can be exceptionally beneficial, helping dissect the feelings contributing to this syndrome.

Key Takeaways

  • Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern of self-doubt despite evident success.
  • It can have a deeper psychological impact than basic self-doubt, affecting mental well-being.
  • Recognising self-worth and seeking support are effective strategies to tackle imposter syndrome.

Understanding Imposter Syndrome

Defining the Experience

Imposter syndrome is that nagging feeling that you’re not as competent as others think, like you’re wearing a mask of capability.

Experiences of self-doubt and anxiety come with the territory, convincing you that any success is a fluke, not a result of your skill.

Common Characteristics and Types

The characteristics are familiar: a persistent fear of being ‘found out’, setting unrealistically high goals, and feelings of inadequacy.

There are different types:

  • the Perfectionist,
  • the Superwoman/man/human,
  • the Natural Genius,
  • the Soloist, and
  • the Expert.

Each have subtle differences in how they internalise this experience.

Prevalence in Men and Women

Contrary to common belief, both women and men grapple with imposter syndrome, though it oftentimes presents differently given varying social expectations and pressures.

Still, the sheer number of professional women who confess to these feelings underscores its prevalence.

 

75% Of Women Executives Experience Imposter Syndrome In The Workplace

Forbes

Root Causes and Psychological Effects

Often, you’re your own worst critic.

Imposter syndrome preys on this inner critic, leaving you feeling inadequate, regardless of your achievements.

In this section, we’ll explore the patterns that breed this phenomenon, its impact on your mental health, and the notorious cycle it perpetuates.

Psychological Patterns and Causes

Do you ever feel like a fraud?

That sense of self-doubt is a hallmark of imposter syndrome, often tied to deep-rooted psychological patterns.

Perfectionism and neuroticism are significant contributors; they’re not just quirks, they are the seeds from which imposter feelings grow.

Perfectionists set the bar impossibly high, and when you’re neurotic, stress becomes a constant, unwelcome companion at your mental dinner table.

Imposter syndrome finds fertile ground when your achievements are met with surprise, both by others and yourself.

This confirms the false narrative that success is a fluke rather than a result of your hard work. The causes can be complex, entwining personal traits with external pressures—making you doubt your intelligence and abilities time and time again.

Imposter Syndrome and Mental Health

When talking about imposter syndrome, you’re also peeling back layers of associated mental health concerns.

This relentless self-doubt can snowball into depression and heighten anxiety, forming an unwelcome mental health cocktail. It’s the persistent fear that you’ll be ‘found out’, which brings chronic stress, eroding your well-being without mercy.

Your mental health takes hit after hit, and the heavy burden of imposter syndrome doesn’t just weigh on your mind—it impacts your everyday life.

 

From sleepless nights worrying about that last project to the palpitations before a meeting, you’re feeling the effects, and they’re all too real.

The Imposter Cycle

Ever find yourself stuck in a loop of self-sabotage?

That’s the imposter cycle at work.

You kick off with over-preparation or procrastination, setting the scene for the drama that unfolds with every deadline. Once the task is complete and acclaim received, instead of joy, you get a spike of stress—another potential outing of your perceived incompetence looms on the horizon.

Breaking free from this cycle is tough, especially since your natural reaction to success is not pride but panic.

You fixate on the minor errors, not the big wins, and the cycle begins anew, with stress as your shadow, mirroring every step towards your next achievement—or so you think.

Facing imposter syndrome is a journey—one where recognising your worth is the first step on a long, but manageable, road.

Tackling Imposter Syndrome

Sometimes, it feels like everyone’s got it all figured out but you.

To fight that nagging doubt, we need to get real with strategies and mindset shifts that bolster your confidence and redefine success.

Strategies to Build Confidence

Building confidence isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s about taking baby steps every day.

Engage in positive self-talk and remember past successes to remind yourself of your capabilities. Take on new challenges to prove to yourself that you can handle them. It’s time to trust your own worth—you earned your place, after all.

Setting Realistic Goals and Expectations

Chasing perfection can leave you feeling knackered, and setting sky-high targets doesn’t help.

Start by setting achievable goals to track your progress and celebrate the small wins. Accept that mistakes are a normal part of growth—not indicators of failure.

Once you recognise that high standards are one thing but unattainable ones are another, you’ll be more at peace with your journey.

Embracing Imperfection

Expecting a spotless record?

That’s just not realistic. Do yourself a favour and cut yourself some slack. Imperfection doesn’t diminish your accomplishments; it makes them real. Developing a healthier attitude toward perfectionism means accepting that setbacks are part of personal growth.

In fact, they can be your most valuable learning opportunities.

Support Systems and Professional Help

You’re more powerful than you think, especially with the right people around you.

The journey to overcoming feelings of fraudulence is tough, but you’re not meant to walk it alone. Building a support network and seeking professional guidance are your trusted companions on this road.

Role of Supportive Relationships

It all starts with a conversation. Chat with friends, family, or even a coworker who gets you. These chats can unravel those twisted thoughts and feelings you’re bottling up.

Your relationships are a safety net; when imposter syndrome tries to plummet your confidence, they are there to catch you. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple heart-to-heart with someone who believes in you—it can work wonders.

Teachers, mentors, or even allies at work—these are the faces in your corner of the ring. They’ve seen your victories and know your potential. Their perspective can shine a light on the achievements you brush off.

And the cherry on top? Support groups. Connect with folks who are in the same boat; they’re likely to paddle the imposter waves with you.

Finding Professional Guidance

Sometimes, a good natter isn’t enough, and that’s okay. When you can’t shake off that persistent doubt, a therapist with the right tools can chip away at those unhelpful beliefs that are colouring your thoughts.

Therapy isn’t just a space to talk; it’s a workshop for the mind.

A professional can guide you through strategies tailored to your needs, transforming how you view your accomplishments.

By working with a therapist, you start unpacking those deep-seated beliefs that fuel your imposter syndrome.

It’s like having a personal trainer, but for your self-esteem. They help you train and strengthen your confidence so you’re ready to face any challenge that comes your way.

Cultivating Resilience and Self-compassion

Building resilience and self-compassion is essential for tackling imposter syndrome.

Developing Self-compassion

Self-compassion is the emotional cushion you need to soften the blows of self-doubt.

Start small: acknowledge your harsh inner critic, and practise speaking to yourself as you would to a good friend.

Record your achievements and the positive feedback you receive; they are tangible proof of your capabilities.

A daily self-compassion journal can be a powerful tool for reaffirming your self-worth and recognising your self-efficacy.

The Importance of Resilience

Resilience is the backbone that helps you bounce back from setbacks. Think of resilience as a muscle—the more you work on it, the stronger it gets.

Embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and grow your self-confidence. Remember, every time you overcome a difficulty, you’re not just surviving, you’re proving your ability to handle future hurdles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ever felt like a fraud despite your successes? That’s imposter syndrome for you, and it’s more common than you’d think.

What is imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is that gnawing feeling you get when you can’t internalise your accomplishments. You reckon you’re a sham, fearing one day everyone will suss out you’re not as brilliant as they reckon.

What are the 5 types of imposter syndrome?

There are five recognised types: The Perfectionist, The Superwoman/man, The Natural Genius, The Soloist, and The Expert. Each type experiences the imposter feeling through a different lens.

How do I overcome imposter syndrome?

Overcoming imposter syndrome involves a mix of recognising your achievements, understanding that perfection is a myth, and realising that everyone else is muddling through just like you. Talking to a mate or a therapist can help a ton too.

What is imposter syndrome at work?

At work, imposter syndrome can make you doubt your capabilities and feel like you don’t genuinely deserve your job role. You might overwork to prove your worth or hesitate to apply for promotions.

How to help someone with imposter syndrome

Giving a bit of support can go a long way. Listen to them, validate their achievements, and remind them it’s okay to ask for help. Suggest they might talk to someone who gets what they’re feeling.

What is the opposite of imposter syndrome?

The opposite is the Dunning-Kruger effect, where you’re a bit clueless about your limitations and might overestimate your skill level. It’s less about self-doubt and more about overconfidence.

Why do Creators and Influencers experience imposter syndrome?

Creators and influencers often face imposter syndrome because they’re constantly compared to others in the industry. The pressure to maintain a persona and the fear of being ‘found out’ can be overwhelming.

What steps should I take to handle feelings of being an imposter in university?

At uni, it’s about finding balance. Recognise that everyone is learning and making mistakes is part of the process. Speak to a mentor and get involved in study groups; you’re not alone in this.

What to say to someone with imposter syndrome

Tell them it’s okay to feel this way, and it’s more common than they reckon. Share your own bouts with imposter thoughts; it might just make them feel less isolated.

Share This Article
By Matt
Follow:
I'm the Creative Director at Bona Parle. I'm also a freelance portrait and headshot photographer, award-winning filmmaker, film Colourist and a multi-award winning LGBTQ+ human rights campaigner. For part of my week I lead a successful UK-based charity that brings families closer to together.