I was sitting in an auditorium of 3000 women, soaking up all the business and life tips and the speaker on the stage said the words "Imposter syndrome". My first thought was, "is that a real thing? another made up term to justify not doing what you are supposed to be doing?" ...as I'm thinking that, she says - "those of you who have it are probably right now planning to do research to see if that is even a real thing"... uh oh.
This cognitive mishap was mentioned a couple more times in the weekend. Then this morning, I mentioned it to a friend who is a counselor -and she confirms it! Honestly, while I was looking for her to denounce it, it actually made me feel better - at least someone I know, like and trust can give me some guidance here. I'm evidently in great company - pschologists think that this exists to some degree in most of us!
"The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: 'I'm a fraud! Oh God, they're on to me! I'm a fraud!' So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud." – Tina Fey
Now, I have done some research and would probably agree that it is more of a phenomenon than it is a syndrome. Syndrome is easier to say and spell. Regardless of what you call it, according to -at the risk of jeopardizing my credibility - wikipedia, 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 internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud". Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. Some studies suggest that impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women. (It's that part of the definition actually makes me feel a little better - and that I can own that too means that I'm not a hopeless case too, right!)
So, have you heard of it? Do you have it too? If you do - do you want to journey with me through the straightening out of misaligned thought patterns?
We have things to do. We have gifts that God has given us to steward. What we don't have time for is for thinking that tells us that we don't make a difference, we may do more harm than good by getting involved, we don't have anything valuable to say, we can never be the one to champion that or be the expert on this... or that it's ok not to live all of what God has prepared in advanced for us! It is time to get out of my own way, gheesh!
Wellness Advocate, BSN,RN