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I created this blog post along with my co-author Caroline Souza and it was a fun collaboration!

In the previous blog we wrote about the studies on impostor syndrome. In this one, we will go through the 5 possible types.


1. Perfectionist:

Perfectionists set extremely high expectations for themselves, and even if they meet 99% of their goals, they’re going to feel like failures. Any small mistake will make them question their own competence and impacting the expectations about the others.


What the perfectionist internal voice usually says:

  • I don’t accept anything, but perfection

  • Every aspect of my work should be brilliant

  • I will not start a project if I don’t plan every step before.

What can I do to turn this voice down?

  • Perfectionism inhibits success

  • At some moments it is better done than perfect

  • Not everything deserves 100% of me.


2. Expert

Experts feel the need to know every piece of information before they start a project and constantly look for new certifications or trainings to improve their skills.

They won’t apply for a job if they don’t meet all the criteria in the posting, and they might be hesitant to ask a question in class or speak up in a meeting at work because they’re afraid of looking stupid if they don’t already know the answer.


What the expert internal voice usually says:

  • I need to know everything about this topic.

  • Before I say anything, I need to know everything about it.

What can I do to turn this voice down?

  • You will never stop learning

  • It’s impossible to know everything. You can learn many things in the process/in a new project

  • Sometimes the question you have is the same of the others in the room.


3. Natural Genius

When the natural genius has to work hard to accomplish something, they think this means they aren’t good enough. They are used to skills coming easily, and when they must put in effort, their brain tells them that’s proof they’re an impostor.


What the natural genius internal voice usually says:

  • If I were intelligent I’d understand easily

  • I don't need to make any effort to get my tasks done.


What can I do to turn this voice down?

  • Put in effort to develop new skills is important

  • Challenges can be opportunities

  • Success does take time.


4. Individualist

Individualist feel they have to accomplish tasks on their own, and if they need to ask for help, they think that means they are a failure or a fraud. They struggle to delegate tasks and tend to think that other could do a better job.


What the individualist internal voice usually says:

  • I need to do everything by myself.

  • Success is getting things done on my own.


What can I do to turn this voice down?

  • It is okay to ask other people help

  • Intelligent people know to identify the needed resources

  • Intelligent people know that it is okay to ask help for the experts in other areas.


5. Superhero

’Supermen’ or ‘superwomen’ push themselves to work harder than those around them to prove that they’re not impostors. They feel the need to succeed in all aspects of life—at work, as parents, as partners—and may feel stressed when they are not accomplishing something.


What the superhero internal voice usually says:

  • I'm always dissatisfied with what I achieve in my life

  • I need to be the best in all aspects of my life, for example: relationship, finances, work.

What can I do to turn this voice down?

  • It is okay to say no and set boundaries

  • Delegate more can be good for me and other people around me

  • It is okay to focus on what really matters to me.


Now that you learned a little bit more about the Impostor types, we invite you to comment below which one you relate to!

Stay tuned for the next article where we are going to share How you can take care of impostor syndrome.