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We all probably feel this at some point in time – the work that we do is not good enough, perhaps we don’t belong in or deserve our professional position, or from a more complex viewpoint, feeling like we will be exposed as a ‘fraud’ or that others will start to realise our shortcomings.

Such thoughts and concerns are typically clubbed under Imposter Syndrome, or IS, which can affect even the most confident-appearing people. Approximately 70% of us will suffer from it at some point in our life, according to Dr. Pauline R. Clance, who first studied it back in 1978.

In an effort to bring the issue to light, has put together an infographic, which provides a flowchart to help identify the five types of imposter syndrome, and the best steps to overcome that particular category.

Check out the flow chart below, and then scroll over to read about each category and what you can do about it:


The Expert: You expect to know everything and feel ashamed when you don’t

  1. Compare like for like: Avoid unequal comparisons with people who have more experience in a role, as it’s natural that they know more.
  2. Remind yourself that there are no gender of racial competencies necessary for your tasks: Recognise that you have the skills even if you don’t feel you ‘fit’.
  3. Mentor junior colleagues or volunteer: Your experience and knowledge will be useful to those further down the ladder.

The Soloist: You believe work must be accomplished alone and refuse to take credit if you received any kind of assistance


The Natural Genius: You tell yourself that everything must be handled with ease, otherwise it’s not ‘natural talent’

  1. Appreciate that great achievements require lifelong learning: Natural ability is only the seed of success, and will not amount to much without a strong work ethic.
  2. Identify specific skills that you can improve over time: Admit that you should work on specific skills to ensure that you continue building on your talent.
  3. Break tasks into smaller, more achievable chunks: A major task taken as one block can seem insurmountable.

The Superwoman/Man: You feel you should be able to excel at every role you take on in your life

  1. Reframe failure as a learning opportunity: Use failures as an opportunity to discover how to improve rather than a reason to be hard on yourself.
  2. Seek out an experienced mentor: Share your feelings with someone who has experienced it to see how they overcame it.
  3. Remind yourself that constructive criticism is not personal: Take it as an opportunity to grow rather than an implication that you’re not good enough.

The Perfectionist: You set impossibly high standards for yourself and beat yourself up when you don’t reach them

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This article was first published in Human Resources Online Bulletin and is reproduced with permission. Original article can be found at

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