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Do you have Impostor syndrome? Is it holding you back from reaching your full potential?

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Have you ever been awake in the middle of the night, worrying that everyone else has got their act together and that you are the only one secretly scared that ‘they’ will find out you are not good enough?

Impostor Syndrome happens when someone who is normally confident and successful convinces themselves they actually aren’t good enough, and fears they will be ‘found out’ as a fraud or not as good as they ‘should’ be – despite external evidence that they are doing well. 

Have you ever?

  • Not spoken up with your ideas or kept quiet when you knew you had the answers.

  • Turned down opportunities you secretly wanted.

  • Avoided important projects until the last minute and relied on ‘deadline adrenalin’ to push yourself through.

  • Not taken credit for your success, putting it down to luck or claimed it was a team effort

  • Not asked for the pay rise you knew I had earned.

  • Been awake in the middle of the night, worrying that everyone else has got their act together and that you are the only one secretly scared that ‘they’ will find out you are not good enough?

Impostor syndrome affects Men and Women at similar rates with 49% of men reporting experiences of Imposter Syndrome and 52% of women (data from the 2019 impostor syndrome research study)

The research shows that men and women handle imposter syndrome differently; whilst men tend to push on through and suppress the symptoms, leading to mental health issues, alcohol and substance abuse.

Women are more likely to self-sabotage; avoiding opportunities to shine at work, deflecting praise onto their team, or describing their success as pure luck.

Impostor syndrome plays a major role in stalling an individual’s personal development and stalls business growth – impacting productivity, relationships, culture, attendance and results.

By far the highest rates of Imposter Syndrome were found in solo business owners, for whom a shocking 82 percent stated they had experienced imposter syndrome ‘regularly’ or ‘daily’ in the past year.


Dr. Valerie Young, has identified five types of "impostors."

The expert

The expert will not feel satisfied when finishing a task until they feel that they know everything about the subject. Experts continuously hunt for new information, which prevents them from completing tasks and projects. Those who avoid applying for a job because they do not meet every requirement may fall into the category of the expert.

The perfectionist

People who aim for perfection often experience high levels of anxiety, doubt, and worry, especially when they fail to achieve their extreme goals. Perfectionists are usually dissatisfied with their work. They tend to focus on areas where they could have done better rather than celebrate the things they did well.

The natural genius

Natural geniuses are typically able to master a new skill quickly and easily, and they often feel ashamed and weak when they cannot. People who fall into this category fail to recognize that nearly everyone needs to build upon their skills throughout life to succeed.

The soloist

The soloist prefers to work alone and tend to believe that asking for help will reveal their incompetence. A soloist will typically turn down help so that they can prove their worth as an individual.

The superhero

Superheroes often excel in all areas, mainly because they push themselves so hard. Many workaholics can be classed as superheroes. This overload of work will eventually result in burnout, which can affect physical health, mental well-being, and relationships with others.

To learn some everyday strategies that you can implement to overcome impostor syndrome read the follow up blog here.


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