Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

Woman in the Office with Impostor Syndrome

Impostor syndrome is a feeling that you are not as skilled in an area as others perceive you to be. It’s a feeling that others are more intelligent or competent than you, and there is a fear that you will be found out to be a fraud. In reality, most people who struggle with impostor syndrome are highly skilled and accomplished. They often have post-graduate education and have successful careers.

I don’t know about you, but I struggled with impostor syndrome for years. I felt as if others were way more knowledgeable or experienced than me. In reality, those insecurities were so far from the truth. They were rooted in negative beliefs and unrealistic standards of perfection.

Have you ever felt that way in your career? Impostor syndrome can play out in a number of different ways. Dr. Valerie Young divides impostor syndrome into five subgroups.

Five Types of Impostors

  1. The Perfectionist–see anything less than perfect as a failure, leading to feelings of shame.
  2. The Super Human–they tend to be over-achievers or workaholics. They strive to be good at everything in life and feel shame if they can’t juggle everything perfectly.
  3. The Natural Genius–their natural intelligence leads to feelings of shame if a project doesn’t come together effortlessly and quickly.
  4. The Soloist–they value independence and feel ashamed when they need help or guidance.
  5. The Expert–they measure their competence by what or how much they know, but they often feel like they don’t know enough.

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome and Finding Self-Confidence

If you identify with any of these groups, there are things you can do to get over feeling like an impostor. The following practices can help you find that inner self-confidence that will help you thrive.

  • Find a mentor who can help you see your personal progress and growth.
  • Focus on what you do know, rather than on what you don’t know. There are many people who don’t know what you know, or don’t have the skills you have. They need your expertise.
  • Find someone in your career who you can mentor. Passing on your knowledge will help you realize how much expertise you actually do have.
  • Let go of perfection. Your standards for yourself are most likely much higher than your standards for others. Strive to do a job well, but let go of the need for perfection.
  • Consider mistakes as an opportunity for growth and learning.
  • If you don’t know how to do something, there is no shame in asking for help.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself. As your inner confidence grows, you will find it much easier to let go of the need to be an overachiever.
  • Instead of focusing on how you don’t measure up, begin recognizing your many gifts, strengths, and capabilities.
  • Don’t forget to celebrate your successes.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help

If you need help overcoming the negative self-talk that feeds your impostor syndrome, cognitive behavioral therapy can help. If you would like to change these unhelpful thinking patterns and find your inner confidence, please contact me. I’m confident that I can help.


Rethinking impostor syndrome. Impostor Syndrome Institute. (2022, June 16). Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://impostorsyndrome.com/rethinking-impostor-syndrome/

Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Imposter syndrome. Psychology Today. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/imposter-syndrome