Finding out who the impostor or impostors are is the challenge in the recently popular game Among Us. There are tips to improve your chances at winning in the game that you can also use in real life.
Part of the popularity of the game maybe because it serves as a platform for participants to release strong, pent up emotions with a possibility of being rewarded. It provides an opportunity to break rules without negative consequences. After all, choosing who to sacrifice among your team mates in the game does not feel as cruel as it is in a real life scenario.
The reason that truth is stranger than fiction is that fiction has to have a rational thread running through it in order to be believable, whereas reality may be totally irrational.— Sydney J. Harris
Although the method to survive and win in the game is cruel; real life is even more so. We have to engage with different people who may no be what we perceive them to be. While it is hard enough to figure out who are the impostors among us; some of us are suffering because we think and feel, that we are, in fact, impostors.
The Impostor Syndrome
Most people battle with having self-confidence every day. For people with impostor syndrome, the struggle is even more difficult. There are a lot of high-achievers who feel deep down that they are complete frauds. They feel that their accomplishments are mostly due to luck.
Since they believe that they are not at all talented, skilled, knowledgeable or experienced enough in their profession. They believe that they are actually inadequate, incompetent and total failures. Thus, they are in constant fear that their secret will be found out.
Many men and women experience impostor syndrome at some point in their lives. It was first identified by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978. It applies to any person who is unable to acknowledge and own their accomplishments and success in their occupations or in other aspects of their life.
Dr. Valerie Young has categorized the different patterns of the Impostor Syndrome into five subgroups:
1. The Perfectionist
Perfectionists set excessively high goals for themselves and their group. They are usually control freaks who feel like they need to do everything themselves for things to be done right. When they fail to reach a goal; they experience major self-doubt and constantly worry about measuring up to their own goals and standards. This is definitely an impostor challenge that’s hard to overcome.
2. The Superwoman/man
These are the people who you see working over time but still come to the office the earliest. They push themselves hard at work to cover-up their insecurities of not measuring up or not being as competent as their colleagues. Vacations don’t entice them because they feel that they need to work harder instead of wasting their time on other things.
3. The Natural Genius
Some people believe that in order to succeed they need to be a natural genius. A genius to them means that they can do something easily and quickly without much effort. Just like perfectionists, they set their standards ridiculously high. When they fail to master something in a short period of time, they feel ashamed and think that they’re never going to get good at it. This impostor challenge does not value long-term effort at all.
4. The Expert
Experts believe that they need to know as much as they can before they act. Deep inside, they believe that they will never know enough. They have a constant fear of being exposed as lacking experience or knowledge. Their tendency is to procrastinate with the excuse that they need to learn more or meet all the requirements before they start on a project or apply for a job.
5. The Soloist
People who are too independent may seem cool and enjoying utmost freedom in life. Soloist believe that they have to do it by themselves and asking for help diminishes their accomplishments. If they can’t do something by themselves; they feel that they are a failure and a fraud.
The Impostor Challenge
Your challenge is to assess yourself and identify which of these subcategories you can relate to. You may have experienced an Impostor Challenge at some point in your life. Being aware of what triggered these experiences will help you avoid them in the future.
Ask yourself how did you overcome that challenge? How did you get out of that phase in your life. If you can help someone else who is suffering from Impostor Syndrome; what would you do?
Try to observe the people around you. See if they are suffering from Impostor Syndrome and what subgroup they belong to. Unlike in the game, you don’t need to vote them out. You can help them find their confidence, recognize their accomplishments and overcome their challenge instead.