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Am I A Fraud?

For as long as I can remember, I have had this constant feeling in the back of my mind. I always felt that I was an actor playing a role in my own life. At any moment, the people around me would discover that I was faking all of my skills and achievements and did not deserve the successes I have had. If you can relate to these feelings, you may also be dealing with a common psychological phenomenon known as Imposter Syndrome. If you have never experienced these feelings, then what I just described may sound very bizarre. However, chances are, someone you know may be going through something similar! 

Imposter Syndrome can manifest itself in many different ways depending on the individual and their personality. For me, it leads to a lot of self-doubt, particularly regarding my abilities. In my work life, I often feel like I’m not the best person for the job and that someone more qualified should have been hired instead of me. In an educational setting, any high grade I receive seems like a fluke or luck even if I know how hard I worked for it.

It is important to know that if someone feels like an imposter in their life, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t or won’t be successful. In fact, some of the most successful people also deal with these thoughts. Albert Einstein reported that he often questioned why people listened to his ideas when other scientists were just as capable, if not more so. 

Maya Angelou may have been going through Imposter Syndrome as well. She said,

“I have written 11 books but each time I think ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’” -Maya Angelou

There is a sense of calm that comes with knowing that so many of the world’s brightest minds are dealing with this as well. It can make you feel like you are not alone when it comes to the way your brain naturally thinks. Despite all of this, in some cases, it can invalidate these feelings in those of us who aren’t Nobel Peace Prize winners, grammy-nominated artists or Harvard graduates.

Because this phenomenon is so nuanced and complex, we may never be able to combat and control the feelings associated with imposter syndrome completely. However, merely opening up the conversation and bringing awareness to it is a crucial first step.

*Leadership Lesson*

Here are a few online tests you can take to see if imposter syndrome may be impacting your life:

  1. Clance Imposter Phenomenon Test
  2. Psych Tests: Impostor Syndrome 

This feeling of being a “fraud” or an “actor” is something that I still deal with to this day, despite all of the wonderful support I have received throughout my life. So whether you have never dealt with these feelings before or you’ve felt this way your entire life, just know that you are not alone. It is hard to talk about and almost impossible to put into words, but I strongly urge you to consider writing down your feelings. It makes it much more concrete and easier to break down once its all on paper, or on a blog like this!

Finally, my last piece of advice is to remember that your struggles do not make you any less of a capable leader. In fact, they make you a better, more well-rounded leader that can prove to the world that it is impossible to be a perfect human being. Use your challenges to inspire others to overcome their own struggles!

*Meet the Author*

Kylie is entering her second year with Leadership Inspirations! She is currently a student at Chapman University, working towards her B.A. in Integrated Educational Studies with a double minor in Psychology and Leadership. 

Favorite Quote: “Take your time, don’t move too fast, troubles come and they will pass” – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Fun Facts: 1) I grew up overseas in 7 different countries 2) I love music and love to sing 3) I can play 5 instruments!