I spotted an article recently in a newspaper which seemed a perfect starting point for this inriguing subject. The article was titled; These Women Feel Like Frauds. It goes on to list very successful women all of whom say that they fear that they will be exposed for being imposters with limited skills.
I argue that it is not only women that feel this way. Women and girls are better at sharing their emotions and thoughts while men are more inclined to keep to themselves.
It is difficult for people to associate themselves with this syndrome because it implies that the person is claiming to be successful; a statement which the sufferer fears others may mock.
My claim to a little success is written in the “About me” page here on the blog. Primary amongst my business interests is my profession as a dentist.
The first time I deeply associated with emotion of imposter syndrome was as a dental student. I guess I was pretty good at what I was training to be and certainly intended to be the best I could be in my studies.
After I achieved 100% grading for the quality of my clinical work for an entire year – something which had not been achieved prior to that time in the dental school, I only felt guilt and concern that they just had not seen through me. I felt embarrassed.
As I looked around me, I saw the work of some of my colleagues which I regarded as superior to mine.
This is a feeling which has followed me through my life.
This has to be a good trait to a certain extent. It is good to question ourselves to see can we do better. However, to be human is to be fallible. We call great achievements, Superhuman.
If what you do is valued by others, it is worthwhile. If it is highly valued that is better. It is left for others to judge.
When people don’t like us or judge us negatively that is difficult to change also. It is always hurtful. Why should you or I willingly accept what we regard as our failures and build them into great impediments to our success while refusing to accept that there are things we excel at.
The criticism of one person seems far more powerful than the praise of dozens.
We often make judgements of others that they are better than we are for irrational reasons. We will trust them because there is a harmony which we sense with them or we can empathise with them. In friendship we are willing to overlook some things because we value the whole package.
When people like you, trust you and accept you, simply have the self-belief to allow it. If you are building a business that is what you will strive for. As acceptance grows for your company or business you will celebrate it and strive to build on that success. We must always strive to improve. Success is the progressive achievement of realistic goals and ambitions.
In your life, you are the project. Celebrate your being accepted and continue to grow to be a better version of yourself. If you live in this way you cannot be an imposter.
If people judge you to be of value it is because you are the way you are. Imposter syndrome is not a psychological or mental disorder. It is common to high achievers of both sexes. In leadership roles I feel that it makes acceptable leaders because they are more likely to rule by consensus not wishing to be seen to dominate.
Perhaps it is not egotistical to accept that the opportunities offered to you were because it was considered that you were worth it. Ask yourself if once given the opportunity, you made a success of it. If you did not you would not be regarded as successful.
Also published on Medium.