Although, I had always loved school and did my very best since kindergarten; I’d worked extremely hard to “prove” myself once my mom enrolled me in a Christian school my eighth grade year. I was the only student of color in my class, so I felt this insurmountable pressure to show my classmates that I was just as smart as or even smarter than they were. I never imagined that my hard work would position me to have the highest GPA. It never even crossed my mind.
So, when I found out that I was valedictorian, I was so shocked. You might say I was flabbergasted.
Well, you may have thought that I would have gone on to some Ivy League College or at least gone to one of the larger more competitive public universities in North Carolina or some other state.
You may have thought that I would have pursued a career that would have paid me six figures, easily, in the mid ’90′s like law, accounting, computer technology, marketing and advertising, or even medicine; but, I didn’t.
In fact, when it came time for me to choose a career and an institution of higher learning, I settled.
I settled because I did not go to the college that I really wanted to go to and I did not choose the career path that I really wanted to choose. I chose to play it safe in both regards. I chose to go to a very small HBCU (historically Black College or University) in North Carolina and I chose to major in elementary education.
SAFE. SAFE. SAFE.
I now know that what fueled my logic, what fed my sense of inadequacy, even though my entire scholastic record said I was highly capable, is something called the Impostor Syndrome. It is the reason I literally talked myself out of taking risks and really pushing myself after high school.
But, don’t cry for me.
Even though I may have short-changed myself to some degree, this post is not about obsessing over the past. It is about acknowledging a mindset that is very prevalent in successful people–particularly women.
The Impostor Syndrome is a very real phenomenon that successful women, professional women, and women who are climbing the-bring-home-the-bacon-fry-it-up-in-a-pan-I-am-every-woman-ladder struggle with in spite of their abilities, education, salaries, and accolades.
This post is about resetting our minds so that we do not allow this syndrome to overtake us and keep us from joyfully fulfilling our divine purpose.
Do you suffer from listening to the “private voices of self-doubt” even though you are an accomplished leader in your field?
Have you obtained the education, accolades, awards, and salary of an expert in your industry but yet you struggle with believing that you really deserve any of it?
Do people consider you a role model or look to you for great counsel and advice; yet, inside you are still asking yourself questions like “What if they find out I’m not as smart as they think I am? or “Can I really pull this off?”
If so, you may be suffering from the hidden fears and insecurities that millions of successful people struggle with known as the Impostor Syndrome and it is time that you are SET FREE.
On Friday, March 29th, I had a wonderful discussion about this subject with Dr. Valerie Young, author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How To Thrive In Spite of It. She shared strategies that will help you transform your thinking so that you can “reach new heights” and “positively thrive.”
Dr. Young is an accomplished speaker and her career-related tips have been cited in publications around the world including The Wall Street Journal, USA Weekend, More magazine, Woman’s Day, Redbook, Psychology Today, The Chicago Tribune, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Mail, The Irish Independent, and Entrepreneur to name a few. You can learn more about her at www.impostorsyndrome.com.
Thoughts From You
- What Do You Think About This Phenomenon?
- Have you experienced it or do you know someone who has? Please share your thoughts below. I love to hear from you!