Facilitator Journal | Issue #0454, August 3, 2010
I wanted to update you on a change I just made and the reason I missed publishing last week's issue. I drove from California to Madison, WI, arriving last Sunday with my car loaded to the roof. I've been seeking an adventure out of my relatively isolated desert community and came upon an opportunity when I was in Madison in June. I was offered and accepted a temporary four-month position helping the local United Way in their Campaign drive this fall. It's an opportunity to get to know this new community, meet a lot of the business leaders, and see if this is a place to which I might want to permanently relocate. So if you're in Madison or the surrounding area, let me know as it would be great to meet you in person!
One of our readers, Valerie Gillies, shared an interesting response
to one of my past articles, Facilitateaphobia that dealt with fear faced by new facilitators. She shared information around
something called the "Imposter Syndrome" put forward by
an educational author Stephen Brookfield, in his book, "Skillful
Teacher," where he made observations about his doctoral students.
I think there are some significant messages here to explore for
anyone in a position of leadership. Thank you Valerie for your input
and for inspiring this week's article, Do You Have Imposter
Syndrome? As always, I look forward to your comments.
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You Have Imposter Syndrome?
high achievers get past feelings self-doubt.
Self Management Skill
As it turns out, The Imposter Syndrome is a common affliction
among successful people such as doctors, lawyers, actors, teachers, politicians;
and yes, even facilitators, trainers, group leaders, and their participants.
Imposter syndrome is defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy
that persist even in face of evidence to the contrary. It is experienced
internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence,
and shows up in any of the following three ways:
like a fake. A belief that one does not deserve his or her success
or professional position and that somehow others have been deceived
into thinking otherwise. This goes together with a fear of being, found
out, discovered or unmasked. People who feel this
way would identify with statements such as: I can give the impression
that I am more competent than I really am. I am often afraid
that others will discover how much knowledge I really lack.
success to luck. Another aspect of the imposter syndrome is the
tendency to attribute success to luck or to other external reasons and
not to your own internal abilities. Someone with such feeling would
refer to an achievement by saying, I just got lucky this time
it was a fluke and with fear that they will not be able
to succeed the next time.
Success. The third aspect is a tendency to downplay success and
discount it. One with such feelings would discount an achievement by
saying, it is not a big deal, it was not important.
One example of this is discounting the fact that they made it here,
which is really a big success. Or saying, I did well because it
is an easy class etc. Having a hard time accepting compliments.
and Beliefs that perpetuate imposter feelings. There are several behaviors
found to perpetuate imposter feelings.
Gifted people often work hard in order to prevent people from discovering
that they are an imposter. This hard work often leads to
more praise and success, which perpetuates the imposter feelings and
fears of being found out.
of being phony: A person with imposter feelings often attempt to
give supervisors and professors the answers that they believe they want,
which often leads to an increase in feeling like they are being
of charm: Connected to this, gifted people often use their intuitive
perceptiveness and charm to gain approval and praise from supervisors
and seek out relationships with supervisors in order to help them increase
their abilities intellectually and creatively. However, when the supervisor
gives them praise or recognition, they feel that this praise is based
on their charm and not on ability.
display of confidence: Another way that people can perpetuate imposter
feelings is to avoid showing any confidence in their abilities. A person
dealing with imposter feelings may believe that if they actually believe
in their intelligence and abilities they may be rejected by others.
Therefore, they may convince themselves that they are not intelligence
or do not deserve success to avoid this.
with Imposter Feelings
being able to discuss those feelings with others in order to understand
that you are not alone and to get a reality check.
those feelings: be aware when you engage in thoughts and feelings
of imposter. Awareness is the first step to change and it is not obvious
since many times we are not aware of our automatic thoughts.
Thoughts: Automatic thoughts can be defined as underlying, unquestioned
thoughts, which affect how you perceive an event or situation. These
thoughts are often so automatic that they occur very fast and you may
not even notice them
..but they are affecting your perception An
example of an automatic thought related to imposter syndrome would be
I am not smart enough. This underlying thought may lead
to thinking such things as: Everyone else is smarter than me
or admissions made a mistake.
your own reality check: Question these automatic imposter thoughts
and feelings and try to come up with more balanced thoughts.
the difference between feelings and reality: Some people tend to
believe that if they feel something strongly it must be right. If
I feel so stupid, it must be that I am stupid. When you catch
yourself thinking in this way change it to a coping statement of the
fact that I feel stupid does not mean that I really am.
Add Your Comments
you have Imposter Syndrome? If so, what practices above are you willing
to act on this week? Please click on the Add Your Comments link above and share your thoughts, stories, and experiences around this topic. I'd love to hear from you!
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