Transform Coaching Insecurity: The 5 Types of Imposter Syndrome Explained

Are you constantly questioning your abilities as a coach or healer? Do you feel like a fraud even though you have the expertise and qualifications? Welcome to the club, my friend. Imposter syndrome has a sneaky way of creeping up on us and sabotaging our success. Don’t worry — I’ve gotchu, boo.

In this blog post, I’m going to dive into the five different types of imposter syndrome and share tips for overcoming them. It’s time to transform your coaching insecurity and embrace your infinite potential. So, who’s ready to get started?

What is Impostor Syndrome?

Let me give you a quick overview of imposter syndrome. It’s that voice inside your head that constantly whispers, “You’re not good enough.” It doesn’t matter how much evidence you have to prove yourself… imposter syndrome convinces you that you’re a fraud and you don’t deserve to be where you are.

And here’s the kicker: imposter syndrome can affect anyone, no matter how successful they are. From newbies to seasoned pros, we all experience self-doubt from time to time. But the good news is, you can overcome it. And that’s exactly what we’re gonna start doing in this post!

The 5 Types of Impostor Syndrome by Dr. Valerie Young

In order to transform imposter syndrome, we must first recognize when it starts to creep up. One of the most beneficial tools to do this is the 5 Types of Impostor Syndrome by Dr. Valerie Young.

Dr. Valerie Young is an international speaker and award-winning author who specializes in helping people overcome imposter syndrome. She has written numerous books on the subject, including her bestseller, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women. Through her work, she’s identified five types of imposter syndrome: The Perfectionist, The Superhero, The Natural Genius, The Expert, and The Rugged Individualist.

Knowing which type of imposter syndrome you embody most often can help you zero in on the underlying causes and develop strategies to overcome them. Let’s get familiar with each one:

1) The Perfectionist Type

Let’s talk about The Perfectionist, which is probably the most popular type of imposter syndrome. This is when you feel like everything you do has to be perfect, or else it won’t work. It’s like failure to launch because you’re so focused on getting it “right” that you never actually do anything.

Tips to overcome this type of imposter syndrome:

Here’s the antidote: push yourself to just get your work out there, even if it’s not polished or perfect. Allow the first version to be what it is and launch it. Your creative projects are never truly done, so stop obsessing over making them perfect. I’m CONSTANTLY up-leveling and optimizing my work over time.

Don’t define yourself by your work. Instead, create shitty art. Yep, you heard me right — create art that you don’t even care about and get some honest feedback. Allow yourself to get messy in the creative process. If you think everything needs to be perfect, you’re never going to launch anything. So be mindful of the perfectionist within you and create imperfectly.

2) The Natural Genius Type

The second type of imposter syndrome is The Natural Genius. If you were always the star student in school and used to getting A’s, it can be a shock to the system when you don’t receive the same type of feedback in the real world. Resulting in you believing that if something isn’t easy or natural for you, then it’s not worth pursuing or that you’re “not good enough” somehow.

Tips to overcome this type of imposter syndrome:

It’s important to remember that the creative process is much different than the education system. We are all works in progress, and our work is never truly finished. Give yourself permission to be messy in the middle and try something new.

Don’t be afraid to suck a little on your pathway to becoming amazing. Whether you’re exploring a new skill or stepping outside your comfort zone, it’s okay to stumble along the way. Keep in mind that the process is just as important as the end result, and allow yourself to enjoy the journey. By doing so, you’ll grow and learn in ways you never imagined were possible.

3) The Rugged Individualist Type

Type number three is The Rugged Individualist, which means you do everything on your own and do not ask for help. This can stem from a belief that if you need help with something, then people will find out you’re not as capable as you look (and that you’ll be found out as a fraud!).

Tips to overcome this type of imposter syndrome:

Let’s get one thing straight — asking for help is not a weakness. In fact, it’s a superpower. Whenever you start a new creative process, don’t go on an island all by yourself and try to build an empire. Reach out to your network and ask for support. Whether it’s a mentor, a friend, or a colleague, there are people out there who can help you bring your vision to life. Allow yourself to be helped and extract resources from your network.

When I first started entrepreneurship, and even when I first started this Pause Breathwork (my third company!), it all felt brand new to me. I had to reach out for a LOT of support and mentorship. This helped me realize that it’s okay to be a beginner and to start fresh. Don’t let The Rugged Individualist within you hold you back. Instead, own your power by asking for help and tapping into the resources around you.

4) The Rugged Individualist Type

Type number four of imposter syndrome is The Expert. These are the people who believe they need to know everything before they take any action. It’s like a never-ending quest for knowledge because they think they need to have a complete understanding of everything related to their work or project.

Tips to overcome this type of imposter syndrome:

Here’s the truth: nobody knows everything, and you don’t either! Even if you think you do, there’s always more to learn, especially if you’re a coach, entrepreneur, or artist. As much as someone may want to learn, it’s impossible to know everything before starting. So, just start! Offer the value you have, gather feedback, and serve your audience. Keep taking small steps and collecting information along the way.

Remember, life is a work in progress, and there’s no endpoint. The more you learn, the more you’ll realize how little you know, but that’s the beauty of growth.

5) The Superhero Type

Type number five is The Superhero, aka the workaholic. This is the person who always feels like they have to go above and beyond to prove themselves and avoid being seen as an imposter. But let me tell you, overworking yourself is not the answer. You’ll end up feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and wondering why you’re even doing this.

Tips to overcome this type of imposter syndrome:

The best thing to do is to take a step back, be compassionate with yourself, and celebrate the little milestones along the way. Gather evidence of your resilience, determination, commitment, and heart. Look at all the people you’ve already helped and the accomplishments you’ve already achieved. Celebrate your progress and amplify your confidence.

You don’t need to overwork yourself to prove yourself. That energy comes from fear and lack, which is not sustainable. If you want to build a successful coaching business, you need to shift to a more positive and sustainable mindset. Speaking from my own experience, I used to be run this pattern, trying to prove myself and overgive to everyone. But through self-compassion, celebrating my progress, and shifting my energy, I was able to build a successful business that I’m proud of today without draining my energy.

My Final Thoughts on Overcoming Imposter Syndrome as a Coach or Healer

To sum it up, imposter syndrome is a real thing and can affect anyone. As coaches and healers, we have to be aware of this and make sure that we don’t let our fear stop us from serving our community with the highest quality of care.

If you’re currently in the midst of dealing with imposter syndrome, know that you’re not alone. 

Take the time to identify which type of imposter syndrome affects you the most, and then use the tips above to help you overcome it. You are capable, qualified, and empowered! Recognize your strengths and unique gifts while using valuable resources around you. Don’t let fear or doubt dictate your worth or potential.

The world needs you and is waiting for what you have to offer! So take action today, don’t wait any longer. You’ve got this. You are imperfectly perfect, and it’s okay to get messy.

Much love on your journey,

Samantha Skelly & The Pause Breathwork Team

PS. Want to know one of the quickest ways to feel confident as a coach? Using tools that do the work for you… like breathwork! Breathwork is the fastest way to guarantee client results and can help you get out of your head and into your intuitive body wisdom as a facilitator. Check out our FREE Training: Get Lasting Results for Your Coaching Clients if you’re interested in learning more about how to add breathwork to your business.

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