Understanding and Managing Imposter Syndrome with AI: A guide for Influencers

Discover effective strategies for influencers to combat imposter syndrome, align their online persona with authenticity, and define success on personal terms. Learn how to navigate conversations with friends, leverage self-reflection, and prioritize mental well-being.


Carmen Wong

4/1/202413 min read


As an influencer, your journey is often measured by metrics: the number of followers you accumulate, the consistent likes on your content, and the engagement you receive. But what happens when these numbers don’t align with your expectations? The pressure to compare yourself to others can lead to a phenomenon known as Imposter Syndrome.

I wanted to write a blog in conjunction with my youtube video about this topic to provide a more in-depth explanation of what Imposter Syndrome is for Influencers. In this blog post, I’ll delve into the world of Imposter Syndrome, exploring its impact on high-achieving individuals, the signs, causes, and strategies to overcome it.

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that happens to high achieving, high performing individuals. that doubt their abilities, they do things like contribute their success to external factors, they have fears of being a fraud, having fears of not living up to expectations, and doing things like sabotaging their own success.

Fun fact! As noted by Business Insider, celebrities like Bella Hadid, Emma Watson, and Michelle Obama have all openly talked about having imposter syndrome.

The 5 Types of Imposter Syndrome

Based on decades of research Dr. Valerie Young developed the Young Imposter Scale (YIS) from uncovering five “competence subtypes” known as the perfectionist, the super-person, the natural genius, the soloist, and the expert.

Insights from Expert Psychologists

Dr. Valerie Young's research sheds light on the perfectionist tendencies often seen in influencers. She explains how the relentless pursuit of flawlessness can fuel impostor syndrome, leading individuals to doubt their abilities and attribute their success solely to external factors.

Dr. Pauline Clance, another pioneer in impostor syndrome research, emphasizes the psychological factors at play. She highlights how perfectionists may engage in self-sabotaging behaviors and struggle to internalize their accomplishments, perpetuating feelings of inadequacy and fraudulence. Dr. Clance's clinical insights shed further light on the phenomenon, noting that while it may manifest differently across genders, it is often more prevalent and intense among women.

Are you curious about where you fall on the scale? Take the Clance Impostor Phenomenon Scale (CIPS) from Dr. Pauline Clance!

1. The Perfect Influencer

As high-achieving individuals, influencers may find themselves grappling with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, driven by their relentless pursuit of perfection. In this article, we'll explore the phenomenon of impostor syndrome through the lens of the "Perfect Influencer" subtype and offer insights from leading experts in the field.

Understanding Impostor Syndrome

Impostor syndrome, as coined by psychologists, refers to the persistent belief that one's success is undeserved and the fear of being exposed as a fraud. Dr. Valerie Young, an expert in the field, has identified various subtypes of impostor syndrome, including the "Perfectionist" type. This subtype manifests in individuals who set exceptionally high standards for themselves and are hypercritical of their own performance.

Recognizing the Signs

Signs of perfectionism may include:

  • Setting exceptionally high standards for oneself and striving for flawlessness in every aspect of one's work. For influencers, this can manifest as not posting content until it’s 100% perfect and spending an excessive amount of time perfecting each detail.

  • Engaging in self-critical thoughts and believing that one's success is solely attributable to external factors, such as luck or timing.

  • Feeling inadequate or fraudulent despite evidence of competence and achievement. For instance, an example of this would be feeling like you didn’t do a good job or perform well enough even though you got a ton of compliments on your work.

  • Engaging in self-sabotaging behaviors, such as procrastination or avoidance, out of fear of failure or criticism. An example of this would be deciding not to post something because you didn’t feel it was perfect enough.

The Mental Health Impact

Perfectionism can take a significant toll on influencers' mental health, leading to:

  • Anxiety and stress, as perfectionists constantly strive to meet unattainable standards and fear being exposed as frauds.

  • Depression and low self-esteem, stemming from feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

  • Burnout and exhaustion, resulting from the relentless pressure to maintain perfection and constantly produce high-quality content.

  • Isolation and loneliness, as perfectionists may struggle to share their true thoughts and feelings with others for fear of being judged or criticized.

Overcoming the Perfect Influencer Mindset

To overcome the perfectionist mindset and combat impostor syndrome, influencers can:

  • Seek support from peers, mentors, and mental health professionals who understand the unique challenges of perfectionism and can offer guidance and encouragement.

  • Practice self-compassion and challenge perfectionistic beliefs by reminding yourself that it's okay to make mistakes and that your worth is not determined by their achievements or the opinions of others.

  • Set realistic expectations and redefine success on their own terms, focusing on personal growth and fulfillment rather than external validation or metrics.

  • Foster authenticity and vulnerability in your online persona by sharing your struggles and imperfections with your audience, thereby breaking down the facade of perfection and promoting genuine connections.

  • Prioritize self-care and take breaks to recharge and reflect, recognizing that your well-being is paramount and that you cannot pour from an empty cup.


By acknowledging the perfectionist mindset and seeking support from experts and peers, influencers can navigate impostor syndrome with resilience and authenticity, ultimately leading to greater fulfillment and success in their careers and personal lives.

2. The Super Influencer: Overcoming the All-Or-Nothing Mindset

This subtype is characterized by a relentless pursuit of success in all areas of life, setting exceptionally high standards and expecting flawless performance effortlessly. Let's explore how the Super Influencer mindset manifests, its impact on mental health, and strategies to overcome it.

Recognizing the Signs

Signs of the Super Influencer subtype include:

  • Unrealistic Standards: Setting impossibly high standards for oneself across all aspects of life, including personal relationships, career, and other domains.

  • All-or-Nothing Thinking: Believing that success is contingent on achieving perfection in every endeavor, leading to feelings of inadequacy and failure when unable to meet these unrealistic expectations.

  • Fear of Failure: Experiencing intense anxiety and stress when faced with challenges or setbacks, viewing any minor setback as evidence of incompetence.

  • Social Isolation: Withdrawing from social interactions or avoiding vulnerability out of fear of revealing imperfections or vulnerabilities to others.

Understanding the Super Influencer Mindset

For the super person subtype, success is synonymous with achieving excellence in every aspect of life, be it personal relationships, professional endeavors, or other domains. They set impossibly high standards for themselves, expecting to excel effortlessly in all areas. However, when faced with challenges or setbacks, they perceive these obstacles as evidence of their incompetence.

The Mental Health Impact

The Super Influencer mindset can have profound effects on mental health:

  • Chronic Stress: The constant pressure to meet unrealistic standards can lead to heightened stress levels and anxiety.

  • Low Self-Esteem: Feelings of inadequacy and failure are common as individuals struggle to live up to their impossibly high expectations.

  • Isolation: The fear of revealing imperfections or vulnerabilities may lead to social isolation as influencers strive to maintain a flawless image.

  • Imposter Syndrome: The belief that success hinges on flawlessness perpetuates imposter syndrome, leading to persistent doubts about one's abilities and accomplishments.

Overcoming the All-Or-Nothing Mindset

Here are strategies to combat the Super Influencer subtype:

  • Reframe Success: Shift from an all-or-nothing mindset to one that acknowledges the value of progress over perfection. Recognize that setbacks and failures are opportunities for growth and learning.

  • Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself when facing challenges or setbacks, recognizing that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process.

  • Seek Support: Reach out to peers, mentors, or mental health professionals who can provide guidance, encouragement, and a reality check when needed.

  • Challenge Unrealistic Standards: Question the perfectionist beliefs that drive the Super Influencer mindset, recognizing that perfection is unattainable and unrealistic.

  • Embrace Vulnerability: Share your struggles and imperfections authentically with your audience, fostering genuine connections and dispelling the myth of flawlessness.

  • Prioritize Self-Care: Take breaks, practice mindfulness, and engage in activities that promote relaxation and well-being to counteract the stress and pressure of perfectionism.

By recognizing the signs, understanding its impact, and implementing strategies to overcome the Super Influencer mindset, influencers can cultivate authenticity, resilience, and well-being in their influencer journey.

3. The Natural Genius Influencer

In the realm of influencers, where success is often measured by metrics like followers and engagement, a specific subtype of imposter syndrome emerges: the Natural Genius. Let's delve into how this phenomenon manifests and explore strategies to overcome its grip.

Understanding the Natural Genius

The Natural Genius is someone who expects competence to come effortlessly and swiftly. For them, mastery of a skill or subject should occur without struggle or difficulty. They equate speed and ease with competence. However, when faced with challenges or setbacks, feelings of shame and inadequacy emerge.

Recognizing the Signs

Signs of the Natural Genius subtype in influencers include:

  • High Expectations: Setting exceptionally high standards and expecting rapid success without much effort. For instance, expecting the first social media reel or YouTube video to be flawlessly executed and instantly popular.

  • Frustration with Struggle: Feeling ashamed or inadequate when encountering difficulties in mastering a skill or achieving success. An example of this would be feeling disappointed in the inability to produce really high quality, well spoken and filmed social media reels or youtube videos in the beginning of your journey.

  • Attributing Success to Speed: Believing that competence is measured by how quickly accomplishments are achieved, leading to feelings of failure if things don't come easily. This could manifest as expecting a high follower count or engagement from every post, without recognizing the time and effort required for organic growth.

  • Shame in Imperfection: Experiencing shame or embarrassment when unable to produce flawless work immediately. This may manifest as frustration during editing or content production when the desired aesthetic is not achieved effortlessly.

The Mental Health Impact

The Natural Genius mindset can take a toll on influencers' mental health, leading to:

  • Shame and Inadequacy: Feeling ashamed or inadequate when unable to achieve success effortlessly or quickly.

  • Stress and Anxiety: Experiencing heightened stress and anxiety due to the pressure to maintain a facade of effortless success.

  • Depression and Self-Doubt: Struggling with feelings of depression and self-doubt when faced with setbacks or challenges.

  • Perfectionism: Engaging in perfectionistic tendencies, striving for flawlessness to avoid feelings of shame or failure.

Overcoming the Natural Genius Mindset

To combat the Natural Genius mindset and mitigate its impact on mental health, influencers can:

  • Challenge Perfectionistic Beliefs: Recognize that mastery and success often require effort, perseverance, and time. Embrace the learning process and view setbacks as opportunities for growth.

  • Practice Self-Compassion: Cultivate self-compassion and kindness towards oneself, understanding that everyone experiences challenges and setbacks on their journey to success.

  • Redefine Success: Shift focus from speed and ease to effort and progress. Define success in terms of personal growth, resilience, and learning rather than immediate outcomes.

  • Seek Support: Reach out to peers, mentors, or mental health professionals for support and guidance. Share struggles and challenges with trusted individuals to gain perspective and encouragement.

  • Embrace Vulnerability: Foster authenticity and vulnerability in online persona. Share experiences of overcoming challenges and setbacks to connect with audience authentically.


By recognizing and addressing the Natural Genius mindset, influencers can cultivate resilience, self-compassion, and authenticity in their journey towards success. Embracing the learning process, seeking support, and reframing perceptions of success can empower influencers to navigate imposter syndrome and thrive in their endeavors.

4. The Soloist Influencer

In the world of influencers, success is often measured by metrics like follower count, likes, and engagement rates. For some, the pursuit of success takes on a deeply personal meaning, characterized by a relentless drive for perfection and an unwavering commitment to independence. Meet the Soloist, a subtype of imposter syndrome prevalent among influencers who strive to master tasks without seeking help or guidance from others.

Recognizing the Signs

  • Constant Comparison and Judgment: Soloists face the relentless pressure of being constantly compared to others in the competitive landscape of social media. The fear of falling short of perceived standards can lead to heightened feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

  • Tying Self-Worth to Performance: Success metrics become more than just numbers; they become a measure of self-worth for soloists. The inability to meet these metrics can evoke feelings of failure and inadequacy, further perpetuating imposter syndrome.

  • Attributing Success to Metrics: Tangible metrics like follower count and engagement rates become the sole indicators of success for soloists. They may prioritize these metrics over acknowledging the contributions of external factors or support from others, leading to a skewed perception of achievement.

The Mental Health Impact

The relentless pursuit of perfection and independence can take a toll on the mental health of soloist influencers:

  • Chronic Stress: The pressure to meet high standards and achieve success independently can lead to chronic stress and anxiety.

  • Low Self-Esteem: Feelings of inadequacy and failure can erode self-esteem, leaving soloists questioning their abilities and self-worth.

  • Isolation: The fear of appearing vulnerable or seeking help can lead to social isolation as soloists struggle to maintain a flawless image in the public eye.

Overcoming the Soloist Mindset

Navigating imposter syndrome as a soloist influencer requires a shift in mindset and approach.

  • Embrace Collaboration: Recognize the value of collaboration and seek support from peers, mentors, or mental health professionals. Building a support network can provide guidance, encouragement, and a reality check when needed.

  • Challenge Perfectionism: Shift from a mindset of perfectionism to one that embraces flexibility and acknowledges the inevitability of setbacks and challenges.

  • Prioritize Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself when facing setbacks or challenges, and remember that success is not solely defined by tangible metrics. Practice self-compassion and celebrate progress, no matter how small.


Imposter syndrome can manifest in various ways, and the soloist subtype highlights the challenges faced by influencers who strive for independence and perfection. By recognizing the signs, understanding the mental health impact, and implementing strategies to overcome the soloist mindset, influencers can cultivate authenticity, resilience, and well-being in their influencer journey. Remember, success is not defined by metrics alone, but by the journey of growth and self-discovery along the way.

5. The Expert Influencer

This subtype of imposter syndrome, referred to as "the expert," is characterized by doubting one's expertise and competence, often stemming from perceived shortcomings in mastering tasks quickly. Individuals falling into this category typically identify competency with the ability to swiftly master tasks.

Recognizing the Signs

Signs of the expert subtype of imposter syndrome may include:

  • Constant Comparison: Influencers may feel pressured to meet high standards and may fear being judged or compared unfavorably to others in their field which diminishes one’s idea of being “the expert”. This constant comparison, whether it's related to appearance or achievements, can lead to feelings of inadequacy and doubt about their expertise.

  • Self-Doubt: When faced with external judgments or comparisons, influencers may begin to doubt their own knowledge and abilities as “the expert”. They may question whether the are truly as competent as others perceive them to be.

  • Attribution of Success to Metrics: “The Expert Influencer” who attributes their success solely to tangible metrics such as follower count, likes, or engagement rates may use that as an external measurement of competency. One who does this would have a belief that their skill lies in their ability to grow their platforms from being a recognized expert in their niche. If they feel they are not meeting these metrics, it can lead to feelings of imposter syndrome, causing them to doubt their knowledge and talent.

The Mental Health Impact

The mental health impact of the expert subtype of imposter syndrome can be significant. Constant self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy can lead to heightened stress, anxiety, and even depression. Influencers may experience burnout as they strive to meet unrealistic standards, and their overall well-being may suffer as a result.

Overcoming this Imposter Type

Overcoming the expert subtype of imposter syndrome requires a combination of self-awareness, self-compassion, and practical strategies. Here are some tips for influencers struggling with this subtype:

  • Recognize Your Expertise: Take inventory of your skills, accomplishments, and areas of expertise. Remind yourself of your past successes and the value you bring to your audience.

  • Challenge Negative Thoughts: Practice identifying and challenging negative thoughts and beliefs about your competence. Replace self-doubt with affirmations of your abilities and accomplishments.

  • Focus on Growth: Embrace a growth mindset and view challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. Set realistic goals for yourself and celebrate progress, no matter how small.

  • Seek Support: Surround yourself with supportive friends, family members, or colleagues who can offer encouragement and perspective. Consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor if imposter syndrome is significantly impacting your mental health.

  • Shift Your Focus: Instead of solely measuring success by external metrics, focus on the impact you're making and the relationships you're building with your audience. Remember that true expertise goes beyond numbers and statistics.


Imposter syndrome, particularly the expert subtype, can be a significant challenge for influencers in the digital age. By recognizing the signs, understanding the mental health impact, and implementing strategies to overcome this subtype, influencers can cultivate a greater sense of self-confidence and authenticity in their work. Remember, you are not alone in experiencing imposter syndrome, and with time and effort, it is possible to overcome it and thrive in your influencer journey.

Putting it Into Practice: Self Reflection Prompts with ChatGPT

Understanding more about yourself can be really helpful in learning tools to help with imposter syndrome. In my youtube video I go into detail about how you can use self reflection prompts so you can customize your mental health and education.

I'm offering a free resource containing prompts based on the topics discussed in the video. These prompts are designed to help you with the self-reflection process and understand how to have productive conversations.

What you'll find in the freebie:

Prompt #1: Advice from an Experienced Psychologist

  • Receive tailored advice for models and social media influencers dealing with impostor syndrome.

  • Address industry-specific challenges and concerns with insights from an experienced professional.

Prompt #2: Conversation with a Concerned Friend

  • Explore perceptions of online persona versus real-life personality in a simulated conversation with a supportive friend.

  • Learn how to navigate confusion and expectations surrounding your online presence.

Prompt #3: Productive Communication Strategies

  • Get tips for initiating a constructive conversation about concerns with your online persona.

  • Discover techniques for maintaining a calm and respectful dialogue to prevent misunderstandings.

Prompt #4: Benefits of Productive Discussions

  • Understand how addressing concerns with a friend can alleviate impostor syndrome.

  • Identify aspects of authenticity and self-understanding that result from productive conversations.

Prompt #5: Embracing Imperfections using Modelling as an example

  • Dive into a scenario where a glamour model and influencer embraces imperfections.

  • Learn how authenticity and vulnerability contribute to relatability and connection with followers.

Prompt #6: Defining Success and Personal Benchmarks

  • Get guidance on self-reflection questions to define success and establish personal benchmarks.

  • Explore factors beyond external metrics that contribute to growth and progress.

Prompt #7 (bonus): Metrics for Measuring Progress and Growth

  • Discover specific metrics or indicators to measure progress and growth in your influencer work.

  • Learn how to select meaningful benchmarks aligned with your goals and values.

Click here to watch the video and click here to download your freebie!


The 5 Types of Imposter Syndrome

Improving wellness: Defeating Impostor syndrome in medical education using an interactive reflective workshop written by National Library of Medicine


In the pre-intervention phase of the workshop, participants first completed a baseline knowledge test consisting of twelve items on IS. Participants then completed the eight-item assessment Young Impostor Syndrome (YIS) instrument. Five out of eight positive responses are considered a positive result for IS. Participants further completed a survey to identify their competence subtypes, which is how individuals with IS may perceive competence. Each competence subtype was confirmed if the participant had a mean score of four or five from a range of 1–5. The competence subtypes identified were as follows:

  • Experts: Identify competency as the ability to master tasks quickly.

  • Soloists: Identify competency as the ability to master tasks without seeking help or guidance from others.

  • Geniuses: Question their competency if they make any small mistake while completing tasks.

  • Super-persons: Question their competency if they are unable to succeed in every single aspect of their life.

  • Perfectionists: Will only attempt tasks that they are certain they can master and can execute flawlessly.


Ogunyemi D, Lee T, Ma M, Osuma A, Eghbali M, Bouri N. Improving wellness: Defeating Impostor syndrome in medical education using an interactive reflective workshop. PLoS One. 2022;17(8):e0272496. Published online 2022 Aug 4. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0272496. PMID: 35925925; PMCID: PMC9352101.

Other Articles Referenced

https://www.verywellmind.com/imposter-syndrome-and-social-anxiety-disorder-4156469 https://www.paulineroseclance.com/pdf/ip_high_achieving_women.pdf