A newly diagnosed condition called “Imposter Syndrome” means constantly feeling stressed that people may discover you are not an expert at something and your success is undeserved. Personally, I have felt this way fairly often! For some, however, the stress of being “found out” is crippling, even if unfounded. (Read more:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome)
Putting aside for a moment society’s need to label everything as a condition, it made me think….so what? To some extent surely we are all imposters – each time we agree to do something we’re not really sure we can, put on a brave face and leap into the unknown.
Some of my best career breakthroughs were lucky. I did some groundwork but was in the right place and ready when someone gave me a chance. It doesn’t make those opportunities less deserved, does it? I think people will often give you a chance if they can see in you some willingness, aptitude or just pure bravado!
How do you know you can’t conquer public speaking, a 60 Minutes interview, a new career or cancer until you try? Striving or going outside your comfort zone, despite your fears, is deserving of a better moniker.
Meryl Streep has a record-breaking 14 Oscar nominations yet she didn’t rate her own acting for years. Her opinion doesn’t matter to the rest of us, apparently. Whose opinion really matters to you – today, next year, or next century? A fair yardstick may be to judge yourself by your milestones and the difference you are making overall. If you still feel inadequate, consider this – Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa at 75 years old and then made a difference for 20 more years. What could you do yet?