Do you ever feel like everyone around you is totally competent and you've fooled them into thinking you are too? You may have imposter syndrome, a lot of highly educated professionals do. The irony is while your thinking that you're faking it and everyone around you knows what they're doing, everyone around you is thinking the same thing!
People with this type of thinking, "attribute their successes to luck or other factors beyond their control, while attributing the successes of their peers to skill," says Valerie Young. In other words, we dismiss our accomplishments as happy little accidents whilst assuming that everyone else is in total control. Minor failures, even ones caused by outside sources, tend to become further proof that we're completely under qualified for our jobs. As I've mentioned in another post, I just finished reading, "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon. While many things jumped out at me in this book, one thing in particular hit me like a ton of bricks: many people suffer from imposter syndrome. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there that feel like I have at times: totally in over their heads. I don't always feel like this, but when I do, the thought often hits me that the only thing I'm actually good at is convincing people that I'm good at something (without actually being good at anything.) While I'm sure this isn't true, it's still a difficult thought to grapple with. While my self-diagnosed imposter syndrome seems to be cyclical, it is hindering nonetheless. I have avoided applying for jobs I've wanted all because I decided that I wasn't worthy to even apply. This is a rather new development for me, since I've been unqualified for every major job I've had and been totally confident that I'd be able to figure it out. Each time, I've done more than that and excelled. I'm not sure why this recent development of doubt has crept in. It could be that because I now have mouths to feed I'm more cautious or it could be a natural response to success. As if, somehow deep down, I'm either scared or afraid of success. The following quote comes to mind (often misquoted as being said by Nelson Mandela)
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others