Are You an Impostor?
Once I entered the workforce with my first big girl job, I remember feeling worried that I wouldn’t measure up. Just out of college, my education said I was ready to be a counselor. I had properly magnified my qualifications in my interview and had even earned a few knocks in life to feel weathered. Despite all that, I felt like I was pretending to be all that my job title said I was.
I sat through staff meetings thinking that everyone around me had important things to say and rarely spoke. Going back to school became my plan to gain what was needed to measure up.
New degree, new job. But one thing didn’t change much – the same old feeling of inadequacy. I sat back while co-workers spoke with authority. When my supervisor asked for my thoughts, I silently second-guessed what I had to say. When I made mistakes, I confirmed my weaknesses.
And so, the routine continues. And wouldn’t you know – it has a name: Impostor Syndrome.
That consistent feeling of self-doubt that seizes me despite an accumulation of sufficient experiences and achievements can cause me to dismiss opportunities to celebrate reaching those goals. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reached an ambition only to allow myself to be swallowed by guilt, believing I hadn’t done enough to earn it.
Apparently, this phenomenon is common and most of us have fleeting notions of self-doubt, men and women alike. Most people who struggle with this thrive on the positive feedback received with our efforts and value making a difference. The truth is, we won’t always gain positive feedback even if it is warranted and sometimes negative feedback is necessary if we intend to grow.
When I get weighed down by irrational self-doubt, I give myself a gentle reminder that I’m doing it again and I do have the right to be there, doing what I’m doing.
Beginning this blog is a perfect example. For a long time, I believed I had nothing valuable to offer, yet wanted to reach others and help at least one person. A fair amount of convincing lead me to go for it. I now push forward with a clear purpose and will shape my practice by the needs of those I want to serve.
Intentionally recounting my trail of qualifications and imperfect life experiences that have taught me far more than any classroom, builds my confidence. I remind myself as often as it takes that I am inherently of value and do have a place at the table.
An attitude of humility and a measure of self-assurance can restore faith in your unique perspective. Remember, you could never be an impostor. There is only one of you.