Ever Feel Like a Fraud? You're in Good Company.

When you have imposter syndrome you may question your career qualifications and achievements when there is no basis for you to do so.

When you have imposter syndrome you may question your career qualifications and achievements when there is no basis for you to do so.

Updated 2.20.2019

During the long work week and focus on my career and business goals, I need to take a break from it all. One of my Sunday morning routines is watching CBS Sunday Morning for my weekly dose of newsworthy topics about the performing arts, including ballet music and pop culture. I often get career advice and work life balance insights in the process. I grab my coffee, my journal and tablet and head to the bedroom, open the blinds, fluff pillows, and call the pups to join me. Anyway, one Sunday, as I procrastinated about blogging and opted to search the Crate and Barrel sale instead, I hear the start of Michelle Miller's interview with Robert Pattinson. Of course, I stop browsing Tondo bowls immediately to listen.

The interview was primarily about his film "Good Time", but during the interview, Pattinson admitted that he felt a little ambivalent about his success as an actor, Miller said. On camera, Pattinson explained, "my main thing is, which I always had the fear of since I started acting Is that everyone's just going to see through it and see that you're just some kid from London basically, so you always think that people are just going to see through whatever character you make." Wow! That sounded a lot like imposter syndrome to me.

More recently, I heard about New York Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand’s struggle with imposter syndrome. “For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s when a person, and often women, feel that we’re somehow where we are because we didn’t earn our way there,” Gillibrand explained.

Have you ever felt like a phony or a fraud? Have you thought you didn't know what the hell you were doing or how you got to a certain point in your career? You knew you got there legitimately but either you were damn lucky, or someone made a mistake. And as soon as “they” found out you didn't know what the hell you were doing you were done. D-O-N-E Done.  Yeah, it is horrible to have that self-doubt. Been there, done that. 

There’s some speculation that this syndrome might not be real, primarily from those who haven’t experienced it. I believe it's real because I experienced it as a young professional. And, I have talked with other professionals that have as well. And, there are other well-known people. Emma Stone, Sheryl Sandberg, Natalie Portman, and Howard Schultz all suffer from that feeling of not being good enough - Fast Company.  

You don't have time to be filled with dread and doubt. You’re too busy to unnecessarily question your career qualifications and achievements.  Often, understanding what imposter syndrome is, and knowing it's not an unusual experience can help. For further insights, here are two articles that can increase your awareness.

How to get over your Imposter Syndrome at work - The Muse

The Five types of Imposter Syndrome and How to Beat Them

Can you relate to the imposter experience? How do you deal with it? What have you learned along the way? Please share your thoughts!