This is an awesome article from Angela Rennilson. I know there have been times when I could have identified with some many of the pointers here. Probably almost all of us at one time or another have felt this way.
Lydia graduated as high school valedictorian. She received a full scholarship to a prestigious university and pursued graduate degrees with honors. After school, she became a successful entrepreneur of a major fortune 500 company. But in spite of a history of success, every night Lydia goes home, she weeps. Even at the height of her accomplishments, loneliness and a sense of failure plague her. She lives in constant fear of being discovered to be a fraud. She believes that none of her successes is due to her hard work and intelligence, but to luck and her ability to fool people.
Dr. Pauline Rose Clance is best known as the author of The Imposter Phenomenon: Overcoming the Fear that Haunts Your Success. She and her colleagues coined the term Imposter Phenomenon in the 1970’s while studying women like Lydia.
It describes the experience that affects people who are both high achievers and at the same time feel intense anxiety and doubt about their abilities.
These women live in fear of discovery that their “true identity” is not as competent as they present it to be while thinking they are personally responsible for any failures that happen.
CAN YOU TAKE OFF THE MASK?
We all have experiences of wanting to project a good image professionally.
For example, in an interview we dress up, look our best, and speak confidently about our abilities. We might stick to topics that are of interest to the employer and we might withhold personal opinions that contradict those of the employer in order to get the job.
In other words, we put on a professional mask.
We all have some experience of “fake it until you make it,” so what’s the difference between those who feel like an imposter and those of us with a mask on?
The difference is in the internal experience.
The person who wears a professional mask can take it off. They don’t internalize the experience negatively if they do not get the job or land the deal.
The imposter, on the other hand, feels overwhelming anxiety, depression, and an overall sense of failure REGARDLESS of success. The imposter feels like they can’t ever take the mask off.
CHARACTERISTICS TYPICAL OF THE IMPOSTER PHENOMENON
- Emotional isolation from others
- An anxiety driven performance of diligence and hard work without rest
- Withholding your opinions, using charm or intellect to gain approval
- Procrastinating OR over-preparing. Anything less than perfect is unacceptable
- Discounting successes and internalizing failures
Are these experiences familiar?
To read this full article and gain some pointers: : “This article is reprinted with permission by ShowcasingWomen.com, the Premier Resource For 30+ Million Women Entrepreneurs. Visit them for free instant access to their Success Tools.”
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