Is Imposter Syndrome Affecting Your #EventProfs Career? Despite the evidence around you that you are great at your job, have you ever thought you may be discovered as an #EventProfs fraud? If so, you may have Imposter Syndrome.
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Do you ever think you just don’t measure up in the events industry? Despite a successful career, do you attribute your success to luck, and not your own skill. Do you feel like it’s just a matter of time until others find out you aren’t as good at your job as they thought you were? As odd as this scenario may seem to some of you, it hits close to the vest for many others. These feelings have been studied and documented as Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome was first discovered and named by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes, in 1965. They found that Imposter Syndrome is specific to highly skilled and successful people (and more often in women than men). Regardless of the success that is reached, people suffering from Imposter Syndrome do not fully accept their successes. Instead, they pass it off as luck or chance. They think they are not good enough. Not skilled enough. Not smart enough.
You Are Not Alone
Emma Watson. Kate Winslet. Tina Fey. Jodie Foster. Michelle Pfeiffer. Don Cheadle. Maya Angelou. Chris Martin. Chuck Lorre. Dr. Margaret Chan.
When you think of the following names, what is the first word that comes to mind? I think of success. Excellence. High achieving. Confidence. Strength. Regardless of the amount of success these amazing people have had, they have all discussed their own fears of being found out, exposed as frauds, or not as good as people think they are.
Imposter Syndrome is actually very common, especially among successful, high achieving people. I am a sucker for the English language and a well-versed quote. Here are a few quotes that help put Imposter Syndrome in perspective for me, from successful people working every day to manage it in their own lives.
“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, "Uh oh, they're going to find out now. I've run a game on everybody, and they're going to find me out.” - Maya Angelou,. Poet, Author, Memoirist, & Civil Rights Activist
“When you go and watch a rehearsal of something you've written and it stinks, the natural feeling is 'I stink.' I'm a fraud. I need to go and hide.” - Chuck Lorre, Writer and Creator of Two and Half Men & The Big Bang Theory
"There are an awful lot of people out there who think I'm an expert. How do these people believe all this about me? I'm so much aware of all the things I don't know.” - Dr. Margaret Chen, Chief of the World Health Organization
Imposter Syndrome is Most Common in High Achievers
Imposter Syndrome affects successful people more than unskilled low achievers, partly because successful people actually understand their field and know the amount of knowledge that is actually out there still to learn. They feel as if they do not know it all or they are not good enough. The low achievers are not aware that they have more to learn. I relate this to the fearlessness of children. There is an age where all children feel as if they know everything and are experts. They have no doubts or fears, partly due to the fact that they don’t know that there is so much more out there to learn! Embrace the fact that learning is a continual process. Do your best with what you know at the moment, and keep improving.
Managing Imposter Syndrome
While Imposter Syndrome may not be a disease, it is truly something that many people suffer from and battle each and every day. If you can relate to these feelings, start by acknowledging yourself and the awesome you bring to the world. Keep in mind that this is not about being conceited or egotistical. It is about being realistic and finding a good balance between confidence and humility. Here are 5 ways to keep your imposter syndrome under control.
1. Look Back on Your Successes
Give yourself the credit that is yours. This is hard for some people to do, and even if they do come up with a few things, it is easily forgotten. If you are battling these feelings, write down a list of your successes and assets that make you valuable to any team. Keep it handy so you can glance at it if you find your confidence slipping.
2. Be Confident
Be confident that you are a skilled #eventprof and you are creating your own place in the world. Don’t compare yourself to others. Remember that you are living and creating your own path in life. You have had your own unique experiences that have gotten you to where you are today. If someone else is more skilled than you in a particular area, don’t worry about it. Acknowledge it instead of stressing over it. If you feel like you should be better at that skill, take the opportunity to learn it for next time.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things
Don’t be afraid to stretch outside of your comfort zone. Pushing yourself is how we all grow and continue to learn. Trust yourself. As you are learning a new skill and implementing it for the first time, it may feel like you are faking it. Remember, though, that your other skills will compensate and help you achieve success with something new. And as an #eventprof, you are the expert. Be open and honest if you don’t know something or when you are trying something new. Remember that you are not faking it. You are using your expertise to push the boundaries and make the #eventprof field better. Trying something new is not faking it. It is experimenting. As you do with every situation, learn from it and make it better each time.
4. Being Wrong Does Not Make You A Fraud
If you are wrong, take a deep breath and accept it. Admit it and move on. Being wrong does not make you an imposter. It means you are stretching and trying to grow. You should never settle for mediocrity just because you are scared. Be brave, strong, and confident in yourself.
5. You Are Not Alone
Realize that you are not alone. Many people out there in the world are feeling the same things as you. Many people are being very successful “faking it”. In reality, though, they are doing extraordinary things that not many other people would be able to do!
In today’s world, there are more and more people skilled at more and more things. While I know there are many unskilled people truly faking it, there are also people doing amazing things in fields that they are technically not qualified for. We have the ability to continually learn on our own, and become skilled in many areas, regardless of if we actually have a degree or certification in that field.
If you find that you are having problems balancing your ego and your doubt, find someone that you can confide in. Let them know your feelings and ask for an honest opinion on the situation. Keep in mind though, that trying something new and stretching yourself is called growing, not faking. #Eventprofs are amazing and special people. Be confident in yourself, and don’t be scared to admit you don’t know something. Learning and creating is an ongoing process. This makes us better, not frauds.
I will leave you with this quote, regarding the delicate balance between confidence and doubt:
"It's helpful to have some arrogance with paranoia. If we were all paranoia, we'd never leave the house. If we were all arrogance, no one would want us to leave the house." - Chris Martin, Singer/Songwriter - Coldplay