Do you ever feel like an imposter or that you don’t belong? Leadership Team member April discusses the imposter syndrome and how it’s really all in our heads.
Imposter Syndrome: a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
Do you find yourself saying things such as, “Oh I just got lucky,” shunning away a compliment or perhaps feeling like you have not genuinely earned your accomplishments but instead “fell” into them? I sure am raising my hand right now. It’s upsetting and mentally draining but also begs the question, when did we start doubting ourselves so much? And perhaps more importantly, why?
The year was 1978 when Dr. Pauline Clance first officially coined the term “imposter syndrome.” Over the years consistent research has been done and while perhaps we can study statistics and survey results, imposter syndrome continues to be a real issue. Now, my opinion is simply that, and in no way a licensed practice, but I am sure there are a number of influences leading to this. Social media, societal changes, media and television – you name it. Over the years things get easier to access, therefore giving us the ability to quickly judge our worth or compare ourselves to one another. An epidemic that really needs to be talked about in the open, so perhaps we can help one another instead of the opposite.
Throughout my life I have been personally and genuinely close with just a select handful of folks, and it’s with them I am fully myself (not to mention nature also has this same effect). It’s with these closest friends I can be vulnerable, and actually feel comfortable doing so. But what about all the other people we pass daily? Do you also find yourself thinking, “they really have it all together” or without question being quick to judge yourself based on someone else, that someone else being a person you may not actually even know? This happens to me regularly but lately I’ve been trying to focus on it from a different viewpoint, and instead telling myself, maybe they feel the same way that I do too.
It’s time we share our vulnerabilities instead of hide them. The more we encourage one another as grown women to be open, genuine, and unafraid, the more we make genuine connections and learn more about each other. This is where strength and love and support comes from, and that’s never something we can have too much of. Sadly over the years with technological advances, I feel we have lost touch with this.
So let me begin: every time I take a photograph I tell myself, “oh, anyone can do this”. When I play live music I feel like a “fraud” – as if I’m not good enough yet (will I ever be good enough?). For the last year I’ve been planning my own outdoor leadership program for young women and pushing to launch in the summer of 2020. There are so many fears and “what ifs” associated with this, and not a week goes by where I don’t ask myself “can I really do this?” or “what makes me better or special enough to even accomplish this?”. The list of imposter worries goes on for this woman, let me tell you.
And some days, I just feel like literally everyone I pass by really has their shit together, and I am the only one that does not. So tell me, what is your vulnerability and how are you an “imposter”?