Being An Impostor
I’m not talking about an impostor coming into your home or such like but feeling like an impostor yourself. Ever heard of Impostor Syndrome? That’s what I have. It’s not a disease or anything, more a mental state of mind. Wikipedia tends to describe it as a high achiever (I’ll take that), who finds it difficult to accept their own achievements and is afraid of being exposed as a fraud. This quote from Dr Chan, Chief of the World Health Organisation sums it up;
‘There are an awful lot of people out there who think I’m an expert. How do these people believe all this about me? I’m so aware of the things I don’t know’.
It’s weird. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say I’m a 7 out of 10 on the confidence stakes, sometimes even an 8, but no matter what I’ve achieved, I tend to always think that I’m just little ol’ me who is somehow fooling people into thinking that I know what I’m doing and what I’m talking about. But what I realise, is that nobody actually knows what they are doing! We are all ‘winging’ it in this world, I mean look at the bloody mess Trump is creating. What an impostor he is. Trouble is, I don’t think he has Imposter Syndrome at all. Quite the opposite!
I’m proud of lots of things that I have achieved, I was crap at PE. I’ll always remember Mrs Lester (who was an awesome PE teacher by the way), writing many of my school reports saying ‘ Ella, as she knows, has limited ball skills, but she always works to the best of her ability…’ but I got on the school hockey team and I represented my school at county athletics as a sprinter. I worked at Disneyland Paris in a few roles, I can speak three languages fluently, I got to where I am in my career through hard work and perseverence, and despite my flaws I know I’m a good person with a massive heart, and that counts for a lot these days. So despite my obvious competence in lots of things, I live in a world of self-deprecation. Or maybe you could just call that being grounded?
Impostor Syndrome Traits
So the internet says that signs of impostor syndrome ‘sufferers’ include perfectionism, undermining achievements, fear of failure and discounting praise. Sounds about right.
How To Feel Like Less Of An Impostor
- Stop comparisons. Follow YOUR nose.
- Be okay with being wrong and admitting your shortcomings. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is what you do with it.
- Everybody is winging it.
- You don’t have to be an expert.
- Trust yourself. You were employed/chosen for a reason. Remind yourself of these reasons.
- Brits can often openly hate praise. But don’t be scared of being pleased for yourself.
- You can’t always be right. Shake off the need to be perfect. It’s usually only you that sets yourself this goal.
- Stop making things personal. Focus on the end goal.
Any fellow impostors out there?