So, I have a confession. I sometimes allow myself to shrink down in the face of other “experts”. Now, it’s not something that I do all of the time, but it happened to me recently at a casual meeting and I spent the next day or so “beating myself up about it”.
Imposter Syndrome, as this is called, is a psychological pattern in which an individual (usually women…my addition) doubts their accomplishments and have an internalized (and sometimes persistent) fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
Imposter Syndrome is not a new term. It was introduced in 1978 in an article by “Dr. Pauline Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes called “The Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving Women”. Whether or not we knew what to call it, I’m sure we’ve experienced it a time or two. Prime example, a friend of mine was telling me about a new opportunity she has in the the new year. I’m congratulating her and she is downplaying this huge win and is expressing her fears about “not knowing what she was doing”. Now, backstory, she’s been operating and working in this area for YEARS” but here she is doubting whether or not she is good enough to be in this position or that she would be “found out”.
“Feeling like a fraud is a phenomenon that plagues many successful people” Elizabeth Cox
When you find yourself faced with an “imposter syndrome” experience….
Own your successes.
Those with imposter syndrome often think their success is by luck or some external circumstance, unlike our male counterparts who credit their success to things such as grit, talent, brains and sheer hard work. Own your successes in the same way you own your failures. One is not bigger than the other, they all play a role in making you who are.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
“Comparison is an act of violence against the self.”
Comparing yourself to others is a “hate crime” against yourself. (Think about that for a minute). It isn’t a healthy practice and can leave us empty and not ungrateful for our station in life. STOP it immediately! Oftentimes, we are comparing our weaknesses with others strengths or our insides with the outsides of someone else.
You are not in this alone.
Some of our faves have dealt with Imposter Syndrome to include Michelle Obama (December 2018).
Note: Others that have spoken about it include Maya Angelou, Tom Hanks, Sonia Sotomayor .
Listen, habits that we’ve formed and “stinking thinking” behaviors will not be changed overnight. When an unhealthy thought or comparison starts, cut it off right at the beginning, don’t allow it to take root and slowly and surely, you will be visited with negative thoughts less often.
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