Impostor syndrome

The official definition Impostor syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence.

What would you modify or add to that? How has your own experience been?

On Dec 28th, 15 people had dinner and discussed the ups and downsides of the Impostor syndrome, modern definitions of success, pressure to conform, experiences and how they have changed over time, and how we would like to move forward.

To the definition of the Impostor Syndrome, we might add something about family and friends: “in the case of family or relationships, success can be defined by the other’s expectations, norms, or stereotypes — and one can experience a similar syndrome of trying, but not quite succeed, to be normal or stereotypical.”

We might add something about passion and success: “I feel a pressure to be good at one thing and to just do that thing. So when I explore many things, and am not the expert in any one topic, I feel like an impostor. But I know that what I enjoy is exploring many things, at least for now.”

In the end, we saw impostor syndrome as an opportunity to question, redefine, be inspired, and to work harder.

I don’t know if we end on positive notes as result of people sharing experiences — and all community makes things more positive, less alone —  or because its easier and more comfortable to share positive things, rather than the deepest, scariest parts of impostor syndrome.

Here are some questions for thought:

Impostor syndrome can come from many contexts —  not meeting one’s own expectations or aspirations, not feeling like one is meeting another’s expectations, getting a compliment that feels above one’s current level, getting a remark that undermine’s one’s confidence, not like the person one wants to be, not feeling normal.

In what contexts do you experience impostors syndrome? what actions, questions, comments, etc trigger it?

What do you do, specifically, in the moment that you feel impostor syndrome being trigger? What questions might you ask of yourself?

How do you feel about your recent successes? What defines them as “successes” and who or what do you give credit for it? Others, hard work, luck, intuition, skill, insight, something else?

How has your experience changed over time? How do you relate to the syndrome? how would you like to?

What does it meant to fake it til you make it? When is this a good strategy, or a bad one?

What was it like before the term “impostor syndrome” was created? What impact do you think it has had on your community?

What makes it difficult to share about what’s not working well, or when we don’t feel so well? How do we feel and what do we try to do when others say negative or difficult things about themselves?

Join us for another dinner!

Angela OgnevImpostor syndrome
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