Imposter syndrome, also known as fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon when people doubt their accomplishments and have a constant fear of experiencing failure. According to the International Journal of Behavioral Science, almost 70 % of the population experiences imposter syndrome at some point in their lives.

In 1978, Pauline Rose Clance identified the imposter syndrome – a thought that you have succeeded as a result of luck, not because of your qualifications and talent.

Valerie Young, an expert of imposter syndrome, has categorized people who experience imposter syndrome into several groups: the Superman/woman, the Perfectionist, the Expert, the Rugged Individual and the Natural Genius.

If you have experienced some of the symptoms of imposter syndrome, it may be helpful to identify what type of imposter you are and try to battle it easily.


1. The Superman/woman

The Supermen/women strive to work harder than their colleagues in order to prove that they are not imposters. They try to succeed in every aspect of their lives, and if they do not achieve something, they may feel stressed and insecure. Trying to hide their insecurities, they may harm their overall health, as well as their relationship with other people.

You are one of them if you:

• Stay later at work than your colleagues even though you have finished your work
• Feel stressed when you do not work
• Sacrifice your hobbies and interests to work

These types of imposters value the success that comes from the work, not the work itself. They should try to avoid external validation. If they increase their self-confidence and turn to inner validation, they will be able to eliminate negativity.

2. The Perfectionist

The Perfectionists have really high expectations of themselves, and even though they accomplish 99 % of their aims, they still feel as if they have failed. If they make a mistake, they question their qualifications and talent.

You are one of them if you:

• Find it hard to delegate. Even when you do it, you feel disappointed with the results.
• Accuse yourself of not being able to accomplish your work
• Feel that you have to be always perfect

The Perfectionists are rarely satisfied with success as they think that they could have done something better.

However, avoiding achievements is unhealthy and unproductive. If they want to nurture their confidence, they should learn to accept their mistakes.

3. The Expert

The Experts think that they need to know everything and they constantly try to improve their qualifications. They are afraid to ask a question if they do not know the answer to it.

You are one of them if you:

• Shudder if a person says that you are an expert
• Do not apply for a job if you do not meet the required criteria
• Constantly try to improve your skills

The Experts should realize that there is no shame in asking for help if they need it. They should ask for help when they do not know how to solve a problem. Also, they should try to learn new information only if they need it.

4. The Rugged Individual

The Rugged Individuals believe that they have to achieve their goals on their own, not with the help of other people. If they need to ask someone for help, they think that they have failed.

You are one of them if you:

• Feel that you should achieve your goals on your own
• Do not need help from other people

5. The Natural Genius

The Natural Geniuses think that if they have to struggle in order to achieve something, they are not good enough. They think that they can achieve everything easily, so if they need to work hard to accomplish some work, they feel as they are imposters.

You are one of them if you:

• Avoid challenges because you do not want to try something that you may not be good at
• Feel shame when you face up with obstacles
• Do not like having a mentor, because you think you can do things on your own

The Natural Geniuses should realize that task accomplishment involves skill-building and continuous learning. Instead of criticizing yourself when you do not reach the standards, identify the behaviors that you would like to change.

Imposter syndrome can be caused by personality characteristics, such as neuroticism and anxiety, or behavioral causes, like childhood memories. Most people have moments of doubt, but it is of utter importance not to allow doubt to control your actions.