As impostor syndrome is a prevalent topic in this group, lets get detailed and work through it a bit.
Impostor syndrome (as we have discussed) is defined as a belief of self-doubt which meets 3 criteria:
- It is false (and unjustified - meaning assumptions differ from reality)
- It is degrading of self-value
- It requires something is being compared to something else
If criteria 1) It is false… is changed to ‘it is true’, then self-doubt changes to self-awareness. I am self aware that I will never be a pro athlete. That is no longer impostor syndrome and becomes a rational and justified belief.
If criteria 2) It is degrading of self-value… is ‘affirmed’ rather than degraded and taken to an extreme, but 1 and 3 are left as-is, then we are no longer discussing ‘impostor syndrome’, rather than ‘delusions of grandeur’ syndrome.
If criteria 3) It requires something to be compared to something else… is omitted, you don’t have impostor syndrome, you simply have low self esteem.
Addressing criteria 1. Impostor syndrome is not impostor syndrome unless the facts are incongruent with reality or you are in denial of relevant facts (which also renders a belief false). If you are confident in facts regarding your belief, this syndrome will not affect you. The facts say I (Jonathan) will never be a pro football player. The facts are correct. I accept those facts (since the assumption aligns with reality) and thereby I am not an NFL impostor. For those of you who aspire to have a successful career in audio, you often question the ‘facts’ of your self adequacy. Let me remind you that by definition, those are still QUESTIONS. Not facts. Impostor syndrome requires that you have formed a conclusion and believed it - NOT merely raised a question.
Addressing criteria 3. Number three is a direct derivative position of number one, except that being an ‘impostor’ requires something to impersonate, as well as a person to deceive (even if the person is yourself). So rather than evaluating ourselves against our competitors accomplishments, we need to focus on our clients expectations. Think about this. If you’re in the NBA, your coach and team owner are your client. Worry about YOUR roll on YOUR team NOW. Not what Michael Jordan accomplished 20 years ago. Tell impostor syndrome to take a seat on the bench by simply aligning your priorities where they need to be.
“The craziest people among us are the ones who struggle with it [impostor syndrome] the least”. - Chris Graham.