Impostor Syndrome…

I’m guessing you have suffered from it too…a tendency to believe that your success has more to do with luck than your own hard work.

As I reread last week’s post, I realized that I am suffering from an impostor syndrome relapse. I have suffered from impostor syndrome every time I take a big step in a new direction: The first time I directed a show, the first time I taught a class, my first years as a professor, my first workshop with academic scientists. Indeed I am suffering from impostor syndrome right now as auto-correct informs me that I don’t even know how to spell impostor – what right do I have to blog?

Now I am stepping outside of academia and working with scientists and engineers in industry. It’s exciting and scary – and impostor syndrome is once again threatening to slow me down. I’m finding myself wanting to be smaller, to be more modest, to underplay my accomplishments. I am listening to Fran much more often than I should.

Twitter alerted me to Joshua Drew’s Impostor Syndrome slide deck. I want to share it with you because his examples all come from science  and scientists.

What a relief to read how down on himself Darwin got AFTER publishing “Origin.”

Here’s what I am doing to combat my current Impostor Syndrome relapse:

I am carefully monitoring my speech for self-put-downs. I choose to stand tall and take up space even though I feel really timid about my new venture. Finally, I am forcing myself to overcome my socialized inclination to be modest in thought or expectation. Every time I find myself reducing a big dream to a modest goal, I look at this picture.

Photo of Jenifer giving a thumbs down in front of a sign that says "Modest Town. Speed Limit 25." A great reminder to eschew impostor syndrome when it pops up.I like that woman. She takes up space, she has strong opinions, and she’s not threatened by others. She wants to collaborate and to work with other professionals with big ideas and super-star accomplishments. She believes she deserves a seat at the grown-up table. That’s my best self.

Right now I’m faking it – but soon I’ll find her again and put that impostor syndrome back into relapse.

How do you combat impostor syndrome?




Embed Credit:
Drew, Joshua (2015): Impostor Syndrome 2015. figshare.

Retrieved 18:33, Nov 20, 2015 (GMT)

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