Impostor Phenomenon- Are you a fraud?



Dear Readers!

Today I attended a class featuring the impostor phenomenon. The instructor did a great job of pointing out two things.

  1. At one point or another, there are times when an individual feels like they “lucked” into a job or they snuck in the back door when no one was looking.
  2. Most of the time that feeling is completely false and can be refuted with concrete evidence of accomplishment and merit.

I actually had the thought that I would write about this back in March when I started a new position which I absolutely love but I was scared to share that I was new and didn’t know what I needed to know to do the job. How silly is that? I was new and didn’t know the job but was scared to admit that I didn’t know things.

My good friend and colleague, Dr. Keya Howard likes to remind me that I am human and it’s important to bump into that reality and put down the superwoman cape from time to time. I don’t like this reminder and often bristle against it, and it remains a good reminder. I should say, I have a group of friends I love and call family of choice who remind me of this too, (you know who you are!)

I don’t know why it’s so hard to admit that we aren’t experts at something, but it is.

When I got accepted into Richard Robichaux’s exclusive acting class, I felt like I got in by accident and often gave in to palpable feelings of impostor syndrome. Then last year, when I was up for two roles at once (man, that felt good!) I realized I didn’t get in by accident, I am a talented performer and when I got one of the roles, I used every bit of what I learned in that class and I was reminded of how I felt.

One of the participants in the seminar today mentioned Amy Cuddy, and her Ted Talk which currently has been viewed 48,030,611 times. I have utilized this advice for job interviews and auditions and really any stressful interaction.

Amy Cuddy- Ted Talk  (Interestingly enough, this was the first Ted Talk, I ever watched, thank you, Jessi!)

One of the key takeaways for our class today was that the strongest defense against the imposter phenomenon is to refute that thought with the facts.

As a Mom, I often feel like I have NO IDEA what I am doing.

*For Vivienne, if you are reading this, I love you and I choose you as my daughter even if and when you tell me you hate me. I love you and always will. Nothing you could ever do will make me stop loving you and being proud to be your mom. 

I wish I could tell you I never lose my temper, but I do.

I wish I could tell you that I never say the wrong thing or push expectations on my child, but I do.  This makes me human, not a horrible mother.

All too often I see parents competing with each other and telling stories of what their kid did today and is your kid doing that yet and then we start the comparison game and before you know it, one parent or both starts thinking about what they do to teach their kid and start worrying, “Am I reading the right books? Did we get her the right toys?”

ENOUGH of the Comparison, ENOUGH of the one-upman/upwomanship.

We all do the best we can, and we will make mistakes. Give up the cape, you aren’t going to be perfect, so give it up and embrace that you are not perfect but you are the perfect parent for your child.

Think About It.