When you understand the different faces of imposter syndrome, it becomes easier to identify which imposter is getting in your way. Know the signs so you can build your awareness and take action before it escalates.

Imposter! (PART 2)

The Perfectionist and the Superhuman

May 3, 2019 | Natalia Edelmann

This week on Life Strategies with Nat, we're continuing the discussion around Imposter Syndrome.

Recall from last week that Imposter Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that stems from a belief that you're not good enough, that you're inadequate or incompetent and a failure, despite evidence that indicates you're skilled and quite successful.

So, when you think about the perfectionist and the superhuman personality types, they really go hand in hand with Imposter Syndrome.

Let's take a deeper dive shall we?

I want to introduce you to the 5 different Personality Types:

  1. The Perfectionist
  2. The Superwoman/man,
  3. The Natural Genius
  4. The Soloist, and
  5. The Expert

All coined by Dr. Valerie Young, Author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It.

The Perfectionist

When you think about it, imposter syndrome and perfectionism go hand in hand.

Perfectionists set excessively high goals for themselves, and when they fail to reach a goal, they experience major self-doubt and worry about measuring up.

  • Have you ever been accused of micromanaging or of being a control freak?
  • Do you have difficulty delegating? and if you are good at delegating, do you feel frustrated and disappointed in the results?
  • When you miss the (excessively) high mark on something, do you say to yourself 'I'm such an idiot' 'Why did I bother?' 'I'm a total failure'

If you identified with any of the above, I hate to break it to you, but you are a perfectionist, and you are suffering from imposter syndrome.

For perfectionists, success is rarely satisfying because they believe they could've done even better. It's like when you work on a really big project over weeks or months, and you're constantly facing what feels like an uphill battle.

But that's neither productive nor healthy. So how can you battle this and become less of a perfectionist and more true to yourself?

How you can battle the imposter perfectionist...

The first thing is celebrate!

Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small you think the are.

Got out of bed this morning? WIN!

Made breakfast? WIN!

Got dressed? WIN!

My point is that if you want to avoid burnout, find contentment and cultivate self-confidence and self-love, own and celebrate your wins, no matter how small. It's how I start every mentorship call.

The second thing is: Learn to take your mistakes in stride. I always say, it's about the journey, it's never about the destination, so view mistakes as a natural part of life.

Thirdly, push yourself to act BEFORE you're ready. Why? Well, because you're never ready, trust me.

You're never ready to quit your job and start a business, you're never ready for kids or marriage, you're never ready to get out of bed...

Don't make the mistake of working in your business versus on your business, or living your life in 'should' format.

Discipline yourself to start the project you've been planning for months, roll out your website, have that first client meeting, plan your meals...

whatever you do, stop with the excuses, and just do it,

like Nike says.

There will never be the 'perfect time' and your work will never be 100% flawless. The sooner you're able to accept that, the better off you'll be.

Change can be scary because the unknown is, well, unknown. I didn't have a crystal ball when I left my corporate world to enter the entrepreneurial realm, but what I have now is clarity, balance and vision, and that's what keeps me going, especially when the going gets tough, because life is hard sometimes - fact.

The Superwoman/man

People who experience imposter syndrome are convinced they're phonies amongst a world of real people (colleagues, friends, family, etc.).

You often push yourself to work harder so they can measure up, but the reality is that this is just a false cover-up for your insecurities, and if you're not careful, you can be left feeling overworked, overwhelmed, fatigued...

and so it may harm not only your own mental health, but also your relationships with others.

Let me ask you...

  • Are you the last to leave the office, like past the point that you've completed that day's necessary work?
  • Do you get stressed when you're not working and find downtime completely wasteful?
  • When was the last time you had a hobby or interest outside of work?
  • Do you feel worthy of your title (despite numerous degrees and achievements), making you feel pressed to work harder and longer than those around you to prove your worth?

Imposter workaholics are addicted to the validation that comes from working, not to the work itself.

I used to be very guilty of this, and still am at some points if I let my good habits or routines slip.

How do you battle the imposter superwoman/man

First, start training yourself to veer away from external validation. No one should have more power to make you feel good about yourself than you, not even your boss when they give you praise for a job well done.

Secondly, learn to take constructive criticism seriously, not personally...

  • what story do you tell yourself when someone is giving you feedback?
  • Is it that they don't like you?

Women tend to be more emotional than men, it's why we make such great leaders, but it can also be harmful when we let our emotions control us.

Thirdly, learn to control your emotions. This goes hand in hand with the previous point.

For me, moving towards a plant-based diet, staying hydrated, using essential oils, practising yoga and meditation, exercising daily...

these have been changes that I have made over the last two years or so to help me balance my emotions and get healthy from the inside out.

Stress and fear can be a trigger here because our whole body is affected including our ability to be rational and level-headed because our body goes into fight, flight or freeze mode.

Our body is designed to protect us from danger, but it doesn't know the difference between say getting chased by a tiger or doing a sales presentation (the fear of public speaking).

Our body can get into a huge mess if we're not careful and being proactive to help ourselves FEEL in control, balanced, and calm under pressure or stress.

It's not who you are that's holding you back, it's who you think you are.

As you build your awareness and become more attuned to internal validation in a way that nurtures your inner confidence and inner dialogue that you're competent and skilled, you'll be able to ease off the gas as you gauge how much work is reasonable.

If you want to connect deeper with yourself,

take my Manifestation Master Workshop - it combines key strategies that will leave you feeling confident in the direction you're going.

If you want to learn more about my coaching programs, you can always contact me for a strategy session to see how I can help.

Life Strategies with Nat

Episode 17

Imposter! (Part 2)The Perfectionist and the Superhuman

If you missed the episode, and want to see it, click above to watch the episode on my YouTube Channel:

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