Imposter Syndrome - Is It Me or Is It You?
I watched a video clip on the BBC news website a few days ago on ‘Imposter Syndrome’ it caught my attention because it is a theory that so many of us can relate to. Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern of believing that you are not fully competent, that you are something of a fraud, and that others know more about your chosen career, skill, project etc. than you do.
It is natural to doubt our own abilities at times, and as strange as it may sound, you do it even more when you are good at something.
If I’m good, why am I in doubt?
I would be lying if I said I have never doubted my own abilities, but it is not something that has dominated my thought process. My successes have confirmed my abilities and my skills and experience have only grown over the years of my career. When you are good at something you can often make it look easy to the outside world, and others can presume that whatever you have delivered has come easily. If I’m good, why am I in doubt? This is the question that sparked my interest in the theory of ‘Imposter Syndrome’.
Who is the imposter?
In my role as a change specialist I am often asked to lead teams through a variety of processes within a variety of specialisms. We could be seeking innovation, increased efficiency, process re-design, technology advances, implementing legislation… the remit of the role can be vast. During my career leading change initiatives, I have had times where I have been faced with imposter syndrome from the perspective of others I have worked with, who have perceived ‘me’ as the imposter. When faced with this situation it is hard not to ask the question, ‘who is the imposter?’ ‘Is it me or is it you?’.
Is it me or is it you?
The answer to this in most cases is that it isn’t me and it isn’t you. The reality is that we all have our own talents and knowledge to bring to the table and these will constantly grow and change day by day. It is the fear of the unknown that makes us question our ability to achieve. Change is a constant, we are always going to need to do things differently, to know more, and learn more. The key is to focus less on what we think we don’t know, and what we think others do know, and focus more on our individual ability and quest to add maximum value to everything we do.