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“The exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.” - Albert Einstein 


I want to think about a time where you felt “imposter syndrome” - which can manifest with any of the following : feeling that you only achieved something because of external sources and not your own merits, or when you believed that anyone can do what you do, or when you discredited or minimized your own achievements.

My answer:

I often discredit my own achievements… I feel like I have been programmed to do this. As if owning them wholly is egotistical.

Thoughts and Actions:

By definition, imposter syndrome is believing that you are undeserving of your achievements or any esteem in which you are held. Feeling less competent or intelligent as others might think—and that somehow, people will discover the truth about you. Feeling like a fraud (despite obvious success) 

When in the throws of IS we often attribute our accomplishments to external or transient causes, such as luck, good timing.

What causes IS?:

Perfectionism, neuroticism, competitive environments, etc

Nearly everyone is vulnerable in some way to IS, but those who are naturally high achievers (especially women) are moreso, as well as creatives. I feel like that has to be because taking risks and vulnerability are also common.

There are many triggers for IS, including attention to success, or a failure after a string of successful ventures. 

Imposter syndrome can be closely related to perfectionism, and if you feel like you don’t measure up to some impossible ideal, you can feel incompetent and anxious, or again… fraudulent.

Overcoming imposter syndrome involves changing your mindset about your own abilities. Acknowledging your expertise and accomplishments is key, as is reminding yourself that you earned your place in your professional or artistic environment.

Stay focused on measuring your own achievements, instead of comparing ourself to others, or the version of others that you immediately see.

Ultimately, Imposter syndrome can stifle your potential for growth, by preventing you from pursuing new opportunities in your creative work. Confronting imposter syndrome can help you feel at ease with taking risks and demonstrating vulnerability which in turn facilitates growth.

Some tips to beat it:

  • Reflect on achievements

  • Share your feelings with someone you trust

  • Expect to make mistakes when exploring something new

  • Find a mentor who has followed a similar path

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