Here’s a popular concept – raise your hand if you ever suffered from the bad and the ugly imposter syndrome – we know many of you did. But do you know that even Maya Angelou and Albert Einstein experienced a form of imposter syndrome? Yes, we know that accomplishments at the level of Angelou’s or Einstein’s are rare, but their feelings of being frauds is really common.
Why many of us live with the impression that our achievements are not earned, that we don’t deserve our accomplishments?
People who are highly skilled or accomplished tend to think others are just as skilled and this can spiral into feeling that they do not deserve opportunities over other people. The biggest problem with this kind of spiral is that there’s often no threshold of accomplishment that can put these feelings to rest. Fascinating enough, this syndrome can affect all people, no matter the race, age, gender, level of job, etc.
Our solution to combat the feelings of the imposter syndrome is quite simple: talk about it. Many people suffering from the imposter syndrome are afraid that if they ask about their performance, their fears will be confirmed. Even if they receive positive feedback, it often fails to ease feelings of fraudulence. On the other hand, hearing that your manager or your peers have experienced this kind of negative thoughts can help relieve those feelings and once you are aware that other people are experiencing the same phenomenon, you can revisit your positive feedback and accept it as it is – a wonderful gift.
We are not sure that we can banish these feelings entirely, but we can have open conversations about them. By knowing its real scale, we can treat ourselves gentler, accepting and enjoying our accomplishments.
Let’s heal together all our fears and insecurities on November 16 and 17 at #TEDxBucharest11!
photography & retouch: Bogdan Mocanu, Oana Bardan - thebucharests.ro