The 5 'Faces' Of Imposter Syndrome & Mantras To Take Off The Mask

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Have you’ve ever felt like an imposter in your job? Worried that someone was going to call you out for not having all the answers? Or tell you you’re not as talented, smart, or capable as everyone else thinks you are?

Well, you’re not alone. Imposter syndrome is a pretty common occurrence for both men and women.

But did you know that there are different faces and facets to imposter syndrome? Each one is its own avatar for feeling like a fraud.

Dr. Valerie Young defined five facets of imposter syndrome in her book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women.

What do these imposter avatars look like and how can you recognize the ways these unwanted "friends" are showing up in your life?

Recognizing your fears is the first step to reclaiming your power from imposter avatars. When you look fear in the face, it quickly dissipates into the nothingness that it is.

Which imposter avatar have you taken on?

RELATED: 7 Lies Imposter Syndrome Makes You Believe & How To Deal With Them

Here are the 6 "faces" of imposter syndrome and their hidden fears.

1. The Perfectionist

Everything must be done to perfection, and yet, that still never feels "enough."

You keep raising the bar on yourself — and others — so you’re never satisfied with what’s achieved. You think, "If I were really competent, I would deliver perfect work 100 percent of the time."

As you may have guessed, the Perfectionist is always striving for more, for greater heights of achievements and kudos just to feel "good enough."

You have exacting standards for the way things "should" be done. Every. Single. Time. No ifs, ands, or buts.

This can be exhausting. Not only for you but for your team, as well!

Your hidden fear is losing control.

Reframe your mindset by remembering these mantras:

"Perfectionism inhibits success."

"Sometimes, good is good enough."

"Non-perfection is to be welcomed."

2. The Superwoman or Superman

You’re proud of all the extra hours you’re working like it’s a badge of honor or a cape that validates your contributions.

You don’t mind working long hours as a way to avoid feeling other, more uncomfortable feelings or being distracted by negative thoughts.

You think, "If I were really competent, I would be able to do it all!"

If being a Superwoman or Superman resonates with you, it’s likely that there are other underlying fears and anxieties that you’re avoiding.

You can tell yourself that if you just spin enough plates in the air at once, getting as much done as humanly possible, keeping yourself busy, those pesky other negative feelings might just disappear.

Wrong. They will get buried, only to return on another unsuspecting day. Not to mention you’re creating a whole different level of stress, worry, and angst in your body.

You tend to avoid other fears, such as being with yourself.

Reframe your mindset by remembering these mantras:

"Really, it’s OK to say no."

"Slow down and let go of unnecessary tasks, so you can focus on the people/activities that really matter."

"Set a healthy example for your children and your employees."

3. The Natural Genius

You disregard your success because you think "Everyone can do that."

When pushed to take your work to the next level of quality, you get uncomfortable, overwhelmed, or threatened. You think, "If I were really competent, I would learn quickly and easily the first time without any guidance or mistakes."

This imposter avatar is pretty used to getting things done quickly and without too much expenditure of time or effort.

This has enabled you to sail through a lot of different situations until it doesn’t. And when the Natural Genius gets called out to improve their work, it's uncharted waters.

You're left feeling like a failure, incredulous, or worse, with a bad attitude for being told what to do to improve your work.

Your hidden fear is failing (or the shame of it).

Reframe your mindset by remembering these mantras:

"Effort beats ability."

"Real success takes a bit of time."

"Challenges are opportunities to learn and grow."

RELATED: You’re Not A Fraud: How To Tame Imposter Syndrome With 12 Tools

4. The Soloist

Asking for help is as painful as going to the dentist or doing your taxes, so you avoid it for as long as possible

Having to depend on others to get something done only leads to disappointment or failure, which only reinforces the idea, "I should just do it all myself. If I were really competent, I could do everything by myself."

Similar to the Natural Genius avatar, the Soloist avoids getting help or assistance with their work, no matter what.

As a Soloist, you’re not interested in the opinions or help from others because assistance might just expose your weaknesses that you’re desperately trying to conceal from the world.

And your ego just can’t have that.

Like the Natural Genius, you also fear failing.

Reframe your mindset by remembering these mantras:

"Competent people know how to ask for help."

"It’s OK to build on the work of other experienced people."

"Smart people seek out others who know more than they do."

5. The Expert

You feel you need to get the next credential to prove you know what you’re doing before applying for a new position.

You don’t want to share information with the rest of the team until you’re sure you have it all "right" first.

You think, "If I were really competent, I would know everything there is to know about ______."

The Expert imposter avatar loves to hoard knowledge, research, books, and credentials to fill their brain with more information so they can always have an answer at the ready when asked.

Not having the answer however is mortifying and means you’re "not enough" in some way shape or form. This form of looking bad is not permitted by the ego.

The truth is, no one has all of the answers (except maybe Google).

Your hidden fear is feeling not enough.

Reframe your mindset by remembering these mantras:

"The path to expertise takes many roads."

"You can never know it all."

"You don’t need to have all the answers but you can be clever enough to find someone who has the answer you’re seeking."

You are free to take the mask of imposter syndrome off.

Regardless of which face of Imposter Syndrome you might be wearing, the good news is, you can always take that mask off.

You can rewire your thinking with new thoughts to get better outcomes.

You are enough!

Remember: You are perfectly imperfect just as you are, and just as you aren’t. And you will always be enough.

The more you can learn to love and appreciate yourself for your contributions to the world, the more you will find peace within yourself.

RELATED: 3 Ways To Finally Get Over The Dreaded Impostor Syndrome

Michele Molitor, Certified coach and hypnotherapist, has been helping talented professional women for 20 years, overcome the unnerving symptoms of Imposter Syndrome to increase their confidence and self-esteem. Connect with her to schedule your complimentary and confidential Discovery Call to see how you can increase your success and well-being.

This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.