“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”
~Norman Vincent Peale
“Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalise their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. citation
In moments of insanity, my most recent job left me feeling less than competent. This despite being told that the panel was impressed with my interview, despite my being more than academically qualified to do my job. At times I felt out of control, questioning everything I was doing. The simplest task became paramount in my self-doubt. I was constantly in fear of boggling my assignments, it certainly didn’t help having team members who were never forthcoming with pertinent information. This was not the first time my feeling this way. I think I carried this fear around with me for years to a certain degree some instances more debilitating than others. With all the self-talk, the tertiary education my fear of failure and disappointment was real; I felt like an impostor, with the constant fear of being found out and have done my best to make myself invisible, my assigned workload without question or suggestions.
Thankfully, with maturity comes enlightenment; years ago I recognised my problem and thought it fixed because in my maturity also came a massive adjustment of mindset where I imposed on myself that, Me! The person looking back in the mirror was good enough. Capable of handling any challenges life tossed at her and the abilities to handle any situation on and off the job. So what triggered this Imposter Syndrome again in my lif? I was out of my comfort zone. If you moved to a new neighbourhood right now. You would be temporarily paralysed with disorientation until you become familiar with that new place. Better than that, think back to your first day of school. Whether it was College, High School, or Primary School. At some point in your life, you were removed from your familiar environment and had to adapt.
People experiencing “The Impostor Phenomenon,” have a debilitating false feeling of being found out as an impostor, someone not genuine. Making it difficult for them to internalise success, leaving them questioning our own abilities and believing they are not bright or smart enough. People suffering from the Imposter Syndrome dwell on their failures rather than their success, from this, they experience greater stress, low self-esteem, and are more likely to become introverts. The key to beating this is to know your strengths and weakness. Success doesn’t always come with the highest level of education, but rather persistence, awareness and knowledge of your environment. I always tell the story of a mason in our community back home. He was deemed illiterate, speaking with him you would never know that he was not able to read or write his own name. But he was the best concrete mason on the island and mind worked like a calculated because he was phenomenal with numbers, people hired him for his skills, not his intelligence, and in time he rewarded himself with literacy.
There is no sure-fire way to cure the imposter syndrome, but there are two points that can help you to manage your feelings.
1. Find a Mentor
Seek someone you admire and with whom you can be open. Feeling like a phony is more common than you may think. The great part is, these feelings decline with age and experience. A mentor will be able to enlighten you on their own experiences like I just did here.
2. Take Time to Reflect
Find time to reflect on your own experiences, factoring around your success. This will help you see the link between your own expertise and your success.
~Have a Meaningful Monday
©Etta D. Richards