Imposter syndrome


There is a 'syndrome' which is characterised by people (mostly women) feeling as if they have reached their particular level of professional success by some kind of fluke, scam or crazy luck. They then worry that some day someone will come along and find them out, reveal them for the fraud they are and send them to the job centre for something more suitable.

I have worked with a number of people (mostly but not always women) who experience this and I have something I want to say, loudly and without reservation (except to apologise for the language) -


The game is up!

Maria Klawe is an amazing scientist and President of a college. I've just read an article she wrote about Imposter Syndrome - "a frequent feeling of not deserving one's success" about how she experiences it and how many folks she knows who also struggle with it.

Then she says "It's usually a condition for life"

THAT'S when I had to put finger to keyboard and shout!

The way I see it, Imposter Syndrome is a result of stepping outside the limitations put upon you by gender, race or other stereotypes about who is supposed to do what and at what level. You are proving your own worth, coming into your own best self and still there are messages out there in the mainstream world that make you question yourself.

Your skills, talents, attributes and successes are what is real. The negative messages and the doubts are not.
If you ever experience imposter thoughts, it's likely that you are doing one of two things:

Comparing yourself unfairly against someone else or focusing only on what you haven't yet achieved or hasn't gone well

There is an easy way to call ''Games Up' on these damaging thoughts and that is to:

Focus on you and being your unique self, doing it your way which is ridiculous to compare with someone who isn't you and focus on what you have achieved and what has gone well so far
When you focus on you and what you're good at, there's no room for imposter thoughts.

Let the good stuff in!

You work hard, you have talent. Notice what you achieve and celebrate it. Do the same for other people and notice how you can create a culture of encouragement. We're all unique, it's not, actually, a competition.

You also need to realise what your talents are. So often people try to tell me they don't have particular talents, nothing that deserves any particular attention because it just comes easily...well, listen up - that's what talent feels like!

Don't underestimate what you achieve every day just because it seems to just happen, that's you, being you, at your best 🙂

THEN when the rewards, compliments, promotions or thank you’s come to you, know that you deserve the good stuff. Let it in.

Give me five!

Let's celebrate you, just as you are, right now, with a virtual high five!

Let's celebrate the fact that you opened this email and gave yourself chance to remember to shine.

Let's celebrate all that you've already achieved and all that you've yet to achieve.

And if any of those imposter thoughts come calling, know that the thoughts themselves are the imposter!

You're already fabulous. Enjoy every moment of every little success, they don't actually happen by accident.

Maria Klawe - President of Harvey Mudd College

You can read Maria Klawe's article here:

With much love
Pam x

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