The imposter syndrome is as old as I am. Psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes gave it a name in 1978, my birth year. It’s a psychological pattern in which people doubt their achievements and have a fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. People with imposter syndrome are not able to to believe that their success is deserved or has been achieved as a result of their skills. They often attribute their success to luck or being able to fool others to believe that they more capable than they really are. They keep thinking that they’re not knowledgable, talented or skilled enough in their area of expertise. Even when they’re successful.
There are two types of imposter syndrome people: high achievers and procrastinators. High achievers will constantly look for new challenges and over prepare to prove that they are good in what they do. Procrastinators will keep putting off the work, because of fear if being discovered as fraud the moment they do it.
I’m the second type and it’s so frustrating that I’m done with it. It’s keeping me from realising my dreams, form putting myself out there, form doing the work I actually want to do.
I asked myself lately what I’m more afraid of: being found out as a fraud (which I know I’m not, that’s the silly part of imposter syndrome) or being forced to go back to work full-time? And you know what? Going back to work is much more scary. After my last job and the treatment I’ve got there I actually get an anxiety attack when I think about getting a job.
That’s why I need to face the beast and listen to the other voice in my head that tells me that I know what I’m doing. And if I don’t know something, I can learn that. I know that failure will not kill me, so what I’m afraid of? Some thoughts that are not even true?
Hilary Clinton said once that it’s better to try and fail than not try at all. Samuel Beckett wrote: “Ever tried, ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” I’m ready to fail, and then to try again, and again, and again. I’m ready for a lifetime of failures. They mean only one thing, that I’m trying.