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How to Beat the Imposter Syndrome feeling...

Steve Bridger

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Community Manager

17 Mar, 2017 11:52

I thought this was a good read

"Approximately 70 percent of us will experience a period of self-doubt at least once in our lives."

This manifests itself in many different ways and is present 'between the lines' in some of the questions posed on these forums *.

This article suggests five strategies for rebuilding confidence.

Number 4 is "We can help each other"...

"Seeing that feelings of Imposterism are fuelled by anxiety, low self-esteem and self-doubt, we can all help each other counter these feelings by fostering a supportive environment."

You could argue that is what we are trying to achieve on this Community.

* no shame in that; much more unattractive is the individual who is so boundless with self-confidence and obdurate in their denial of the overwhelming consensus of the advice received... that they plough their own furrow regardless ;)

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  • I've felt this syndrome several times Steve.

    I remember the very first time I ran a course for trainers on training techniques/methodology when I stepped away from the comfort of working with young adults to becoming a self employed trainer of adults.

    I'd been a youth trainer and had achieved much published recognition from government inspectors. But here I was, about to work with a group of adults, some of whom were teachers, managers, trainers etc., I had no qualifications except 2 C&G and my confidence started to drain away as I thought to myself; "what the hell do I know? These folk will have degrees, mscs and god knows what else. I felt just like an imposter. If they only knew I was once a scaffolder.........
    Luckily for me I soon found out that many were good on theory but poor on practice. But after several months I still felt an imposter - after all I'd only got my two little C&Gs, never been to college, and here I was working with folk who'd destroyed forests with the amount of paper qualifications they had.

    I was supported during this period of self doubt by two good people who'd worked with me and were very reassuring, supportive and encouraging throughout which was what I needed.

    I agree with you that many come on here because they too are not too sure whether they are on the right course of action and want some kind of re-assurance in the environments of these forums. I hope to they go away feeling a little - or much - better!
  • Steve Bridger

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    Community Manager

    19 Mar, 2017 08:43

    In reply to David Perry:

    David Perry said:

    "I agree with you that many come on here because they too are not too sure whether they are on the right course of action and want some kind of re-assurance in the environments of these forums. I hope to they go away feeling a little - or much - better!"

    I hope so, too David.

    Everyone is totally just winging it, all the time
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/oliver-burkeman-s-blog/2014/may/21/everyone-is-totally-just-winging-it

  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    But isn't there a difference between winging it and the imposter syndrome.

    The former is when you are doing it but without the necessary competence - making it up as you go along and as described in the article.

    The latter syndrome is when you are probably competent but just don't believe in yourself to be competent?
  • Steve Bridger

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    Community Manager

    21 Mar, 2017 13:51

    In reply to David Perry:

    Oh they are different, David. The fact that everyone is really only just 'winging it' is *reassuring* if you suffer from Imposter Syndrome ;)
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    When I first read about impostor syndrome I felt a genuine, massive weight lift off my shoulders - I don't think I have ever read anything that could so accurately apply to me - I thought I was the only one who felt like that!

    This is a timely reminder for me, as I begin (after 10 years of working in HR!) to consider myself as something other than 'new to all this'. Self confidence is something that I lack in lots of areas of my personal and professional life, but I definitely agree that the support and guidance shown on these forums has been an invaluable tool to me as I move on with my career. I know that if I need to ask a question I will get some helpful, knowledgeable and thought provoking replies and I also gain a lot of insight by reading all the posts and imagining how I would handle a particular situation.

    I recently completed my Level 5 studies through a university and without a doubt the wonderful HR professionals that I met in my cohort taught me as much as the lecturers and books did! As well sharing knowledge and ideas, they helped me through and believed in my abilities when I was going through a tough personal time in the middle of my studies, I genuinely don't think I may have finished the course without their support - this is something to consider for those thinking about the home learning route, although as Steve has rightly pointed out, communities such as this can provide such support.

    Steve - I certainly agree with your 'winging it' post - it *does* make me feel better. Interestingly, as an aside, my 6 year old is currently being taught at school how to develop a growth mindset and I so wish this was a thing when I was that age. Genuinely life changing, in my opinion.
  • I missed this post when it first came out - very relevant. Thanks for bringing it to the fore again
  • Steve Bridger

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    Community Manager

    13 Feb, 2018 13:55

    In reply to Cass Clothier:

    You're welcome, Cass.
  • ...and in XKCD this morning...