I initially saw this post representing some form of expertise, citing intellectual science papers and well known psychologist. However, I think we have all had enough of the over complication of this phenomenon. We hear the words a lot these days, even though the term was coined well over 40 years ago by mental health practitioners – it comes up almost everyday like it was introduced a short time ago. Impostor Syndrome has everything to do with self and what’s happening on the inside. Or is it really that simple?
Arguably, the conditions in which this particular syndrome develops in a human being is spread wide across the spectrum. Therefore, making it damn near impossible for someone to quickly identify the simple fact that they may have feelings around being undeserving of the success they experience. These ideas lead me to share some personal feelings on what that looks like and how I navigate that uncomfortable space.
For such a long time I let people and circumstances decide what I was capable of doing. I’m not entirely sure how I molded my thinking, but I’m sure it started in the 4th grade. Being ranked against school mates, meaningless testing, introduction of puberty, the divide of the ‘who’s who’ on the playground that has now become a platform for observing differences; really I can go on. All of these things have to do with a lovely feeling of confidence.
I was never short of extracurriculars on the schedule. Band, volleyball, cheerleading, art and dance we’re apart of my life for over a decade. I loved being a part of them but sometimes, it was a bit hard. I’m a firm believer that representation matters, when we don’t see a lot of people that look like us, or aren’t accepted by many people that meet those same qualifications – things sometimes feel a little bit lonely. Confidence in these instances, lacks a bit. Sometimes it’s over compensated with a false confidence leading people to believe you’re fine when really, you need the ear of someone who understands your challenges and who holds your hand through them.
This is where college got fun. All that life experience boosted me, my connections with people and new ideas were forming and I was really excited about them. I found what I loved most in this phase of my life – psychology, philanthropy, journalism and business. I honestly thought to myself – “This is impossible, no one likes all of these things.” I had a passion for them that conflicted with the model of 1 major, 1 minor or at most a double major. I convinced myself that my goals were unrealistic and therefore I was confused and lost. I gave up here.
I would love to write fast forward here, but there is too much juice so I’ll keep it short. A career choice I would learn later to be not at all in line with any of my loves, a marriage to my best friend, some devastating life events; all lead me back to face myself and inspired me to live wholly and outright. I started emerging myself in all my true loves again in the name of self-care; psychology, philanthropy, journalism and business. Reading books, discovering new ways to make myself happy, meeting new people, conversing and sharing common interest. I, in short was developing in all areas I held near and dear. The time came where Isabel and I were discussing what we wanted from life again and then came Blooming Dreamers. From there we developed relationships and aligned ourselves with peers and mentors who were in these same fields. Without saying it, we were molding our expertise.
Reality check; how in the world can I look at myself as someone suffering from impostor syndrome when I am doing all of the things it would take for me to become well versed in becoming an expert? Maybe it’s the social media culture we live in or the performance appraisal hysteria we face around this time of year. Either way we were raised to seek out validation. Some of us I might even reach to say, I heard the words impostor syndrome and made up an excuse as to why we just weren’t doing well in life. Let us not fall victim to the placebo effect, or read our ways out of following our dreams.
My goal is to always be constructive and productive. To read up on things that will educate me in all my endeavors. To reach out and embrace new experiences. To live like this is my shot and I’m going for it. In order for me or any of you to move through paralysis, we have to reframe our thought processes by finding new ways to approach challenges. Finding circles that support my dreams and goals has been absolutely crucial in showing me that anything is possible.
If you want more fascinating info in an extremely tasteful and informative perspective, check out Matt O’ Keefe’s take here:
With that, I wish us all the best success and I cannot wait to hear your stories of how you conquered your fears of success.