Voices of imposter syndrome

What is imposter syndrome?

23 October 2020 | Health

Do you recall that moment when you were about to apply for that job, attempt that business, speak at that event, advise that expert, organise that programme, advocate for this and that, but you changed your mind? Your heart wanted to, but the voices in your head were louder than your passion. You probably heard something to the extent of “what are you doing here?”, “how dare you think you can?” and “you are not competent enough and everyone will see it”. Sound familiar? Then you are no exception to the opportunity thief called imposter syndrome.

Coined by Clance and Imes (1978), imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud. Despite external evidence of their competence. Those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve all they have achieved (Clance & Imes; 1978).

To commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month, this article focuses on one of the most common psychological issues faced by individuals in the work place. There are five types of imposter syndrome, basically referring to the benchmarks that an individual uses to measure whether they are competent or not. These are: the perfectionist who judges their competence on 100% perfection in their deliverables, any less, means they are not competent. The expert, who believes they need to know everything about their field of interest, otherwise they are not competent at all. The soloist, that wants to achieve every great thing alone, without the efforts of others. The superwoman/man believes competence is about being able to do it all and lastly, the great mind, they base their competence on whether they can deliver with ease and speed, if not, competence is lacking.

Competence is a process

Imposter syndrome tells us that the value we add is not significant, thus diminishing us and making us feel inferior to others around us, when in reality our competencies are valuable and valid. They also enhance the competencies of others and vice versa. Imposter syndrome affects all kinds of people at any level of the organisation, in any industry. Competence is not intelligence. The concept of competence is broad. Competence is a series of knowledge, abilities, skills, experiences and behaviours, which leads to the effective performance of an individual's activities (The ARZESH Competency Model; 2018). Competence is measurable and it is developed over a period, through experience, coupled with training, coaching, mentoring and more. Competency levels are observable through action and in respect to situation, person, purpose and organisation. However, a person experiencing imposter syndrome gauges their level of competence on preconceived perceptions of themselves (about themselves).

Focus on your reality

How can one deal with and overcome imposter syndrome? I took an excerpt out of Elana Lyn Gross’s 2020 article ‘How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome at Work’. She lists the following tips. Firstly, give yourself a reality check by paying attention to your negative thoughts. Are the thoughts really the thoughts of others around you or just your own? Secondly, keep track of your strengths and accomplishments. Imposter syndrome can only be quenched by positivity and celebration. Thirdly, create a professional support network. Strive to nurture some relationships with more experienced co-workers and other people you can learn from to help build your confidence through exposure. Lastly, build your knowledge bank, focus on your professional development and empower yourself.

Each time I write an article, imposter syndrome invites itself to the table. The difference lays in whether or not I ever allow it to write with me. No, I do not, otherwise the articles would never reach the reader. Most people give in to imposter syndrome because of fear of failure. The next time imposter syndrome threatens you, remember the words of Dennis Waitley, “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” If you desire to achieve great things, understand that imposter syndrome will show up every now and then, but always stay focused on your reality.

Similar News

 

Leadership at core

1 day - 22 June 2021 | People

She is passionate about mentoring and grooming young girlsEnzo Amuele Gift Dapewa Amwaalwa (26) is an aspiring young leader who believes in improving the...

Education ministry talks AS level in schools

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

Elizabeth Joseph On Monday, 14 June, education minister Anna Nghipondoka said for all the schools to successfully implement the AS level as part of...

Photo of the week

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

CAPTION: Amid the closure of schools and the announcement of the winter holiday, we are reminded about the educational booklets that help learners remain active...

Education ministry introduces winter holiday

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

Octavia Tsibes Learning and teaching has significantly been interrupted by the raising Covid-19 cases in schools. The education ministry announced that pre-primary to...

These items will be distributed to over 23 schools...

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

Michelline NawatisesPull quote: “NamPower has spent over N$48 million towards corporate social investment (CSI), with the education sector having received the biggest share of its...

Star Teacher of the Week

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

Vanessa Hartung When and where did your teaching profession start?I started teaching in 2011. My teaching career started at Delta Secondary School Windhoek. ...

Want to study at Stellenbosch University?

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

Desiree Gases The high school careers of many learners will soon come to an end. Many are about to be faced with indecisiveness about...

Namibia: A forever home

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

Jeanette Diergaardt On 20 June, the world commemorates World Refugee Day. The theme for 2021 focuses on the power of inclusion, especially during the...

Mental well-being suits us all

5 days ago - 18 June 2021 | People

DR JOHN STEYTLERMental health is a subject which we are only starting to scratch the surface of in Namibia and it is not talked about...

Latest News

Education ministry talks AS level...

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

Elizabeth Joseph On Monday, 14 June, education minister Anna Nghipondoka said for all the schools to successfully implement the AS level as part of...

by Michelline Nawatises

Photo of the week

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

CAPTION: Amid the closure of schools and the announcement of the winter holiday, we are reminded about the educational booklets that help learners remain active...

by Michelline Nawatises

This week, My Zone set...

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Opinion

Mia Botha It’s definitely self-discipline and the ability to adapt to any situation at hand. You’ll have to be able to focus on what...

by Michelline Nawatises

Education ministry introduces winter holiday

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

Octavia Tsibes Learning and teaching has significantly been interrupted by the raising Covid-19 cases in schools. The education ministry announced that pre-primary to...

by Michelline Nawatises

Tennis

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Sports

Namibia under 16 tennis players travelled to El Soleymaniah in Egypt for the African Junior Team Championships. Dian Caritz, Sarel Janse van Rensburg, Stephan Koen...

by Michelline Nawatises

These items will be distributed...

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

Michelline NawatisesPull quote: “NamPower has spent over N$48 million towards corporate social investment (CSI), with the education sector having received the biggest share of its...

by Michelline Nawatises

Star Teacher of the Week

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

Vanessa Hartung When and where did your teaching profession start?I started teaching in 2011. My teaching career started at Delta Secondary School Windhoek. ...

by Michelline Nawatises

Want to study at Stellenbosch...

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

Desiree Gases The high school careers of many learners will soon come to an end. Many are about to be faced with indecisiveness about...

by Michelline Nawatises

Namibia: A forever home

1 day - 22 June 2021 | Education

Jeanette Diergaardt On 20 June, the world commemorates World Refugee Day. The theme for 2021 focuses on the power of inclusion, especially during the...

by Michelline Nawatises

Load More