Imposter syndrome is a bit of a buzz-phrase of recent years. It’s a phrase that I didn’t even know existed, or what on earth it meant the first time I heard it sometime last year. It even feels a bit over-exposed now, and makes me feel a bit uneasy as a result of how much it’s been banded around now. With so many people self-diagnosing. It’s the new(er) anxiety, and it’s everywhere. Am I just jumping on the band-wagon?
“Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. – Wikipedia (not my favourite source, but a concise definition nonetheless)
When this phrase surfaced into my life I thought FINALLY, maybe now that I understand how to pinpoint and define this feeling I’ve always had, I should be able to rise and conquer. To banish this simmering worry in the pit of my stomach. Yet here we are over a year later, many articles have been read, and many podcasts listened too, and I am very aware of the curse of imposter syndrome, and just how many women in-particular, suffer with it intrinsically.
Since women moved into the workplace during the back end of last century, and so bravely fought to hold the positions that the men around them would traditionally have held at that time, it seems imposter syndrome has become a normal trait of a high percentage of female personalities. Women have had to work twice as hard men to prove their worth in the workplace alongside their male counterparts. It’s something that unfortunately is still very prominent in 2019 with the still existing gender pay gap. Us girls have got a long way to go until we are truly equal in the workplace, earning as much money and occupying as many seats at those board tables, and I think actively conquering imposter syndrome is a step on that ladder for us.
Despite imposter syndrome being present in so many people’s lives, it’s a condition that really makes you feel alone. Self-conscious, and aware of every move you make. Like you are in the centre of a circle and the edge is lined with people, your co-workers, your friends, your ‘followers’, all looking at you through the lens of a microscope trying to find something to expose you with. And I know as I write this post, that it is just not the case. If this was a real thing, surely I would be looking at the people around me in that same way, trying to expose them as a fraud. Yet the reality is very much the opposite of that, in fact I always give people the benefit of the doubt, even If they do something off-key, and always look for the best in them. So what’s to say people don’t do the same for me? Why is that so hard to believe?
I do think that understanding imposter syndrome has helped in my journey to overcome it. Where before I might have really zoned in on my own self-doubt, I can now identify that it’s actually just this crazy imposter syndrome that resides inside my brain, and that people aren’t out to expose me as a fraud, and I am not actually a fraud to be found out.