2 min read

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome
Photo by Tamara Gak on Unsplash

The Big "What Am I Worth?"

Since the New Year & Asian New Year, I've been doing that self assessment thing  we often do this time of year.  It's taking a little longer this time. But why?
Well, I think I've had another attack of Imposter Syndrome.  Never wrote about it, never spoken about it with anyone, except maybe my wife.

I Feel Like A Fake

Imposter Syndrome is that occasional crisis of confidence.  You know: "What have I done lately -- or ever -- that amounted to anything?  Worse, maybe it's someone else's expectations that we're measuring our selves against.  Often those voices and feelings have grown and distorted as our over-active, over-critical self exam turns into self doubt, self ridicule.
Recently, the book "The Imposter Cure" by Dr. Jessamy Hibberd  gave me some fresh perspectives.
Reciting Dr. Valerie Young's Imposter Syndrome Institute research, she lists 5 personality traits, plus why and how they contribute to feelings of inadequacy

5 Personalities

1. The Perfectionist, whose impossibly high standards tend to create self-doubt when things aren't perfect. Only one perfect person ever walked this planet; and I ain't him!   Does that stop me from expecting perfection?  Well it should, but…
2. The Natural genius learns new things quickly but lacks perseverance.  And consequently feels like a fake when they don't do something immediately.
3. The Soloist only sees value in chasing a goal they can accomplish alone.  When they struggle, procrastination becomes a tool to alleviate admitting defeat.
4. The Expert is a knowledge perfectionist who thinks being competent is about knowing everything.  They will never accept a challenge - new job, new project, etc. - if they don't feel they meet every requirement.  The Expert worries they'll seem uninformed or ill prepared.
5. Superwoman and Superman.  Like the Perfectionist, this person hold's him/herself to unreachable standards.  To them, being good enough equals flawless performance.
As I read each type, I said "Oh, that's me!" -- only to reach the end of the list and realize they ALL have their tongs in me!
Thankfully, Dr. Hibberd provides some help.

5 great tips to counteract our behaviors that lead to Imposter Syndrome

1. Recognize negative self-talk and its power will shrink.
2. Overworking and avoidance are signs you’re an imposter.
3. Become your own cheerleader and relieve your pain.
4. Pursuing perfection is a recipe for failure.
5. Combat avoidance and overwork.

My 2 Cents

To this I would only add my own encouragement, if you see yourself or any of your tendencies here, you are not alone!  For me, writing this, with its admission that I'm truly none of those 5  personas is hard for me.  Admitting that I'm just a guy in the middle of a confusing, often stressful life, is really hard! Perfectionist tendencies rearing their heads, I suppose.

Walk Away Into Freedom

Social media, fake news, "reality" TV, all lead us to believe we are alone and we are not good enough.  My personal belief is that the enemy of our soul will use our feelings of inadequacy for all he's worth.
You're among friends.  If any of us start to make you feel otherwise, disassociate from them -- especially if that's one of those 5 traits inside your head!  Walk away into freedom!

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