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The Imposter Syndrome – why successful people often feel like frauds

By 21 April 2014 18

How can it be that so many clever, competent and capable people can feel that they are just one step away from being exposed as a complete fraud? Despite evidence that they are performing well they can still have that lurking fear that at any moment someone is going to tap them on the shoulder and say “We need to have a chat”.

Come along and hear from our internationally renowned speaker what the latest psychological research has to tell us about ‘The Imposter Syndrome’ and more importantly some strategies for dealing with it.

Hugh Kearns (Flinders University, Australia) has worked with thousands of high performing imposters; he is one himself and is currently writing a book on the topic. His areas of expertise include self-management, positive psychology, work-life balance, learning and creativity.

When: Wednesday April 30, 10-11am
Where: The Finkel Theatre, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Garran Road, The Australian National University
Register here.
Enquiries:researchtraining@anu.edu.au T 6125 7555

 

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18 Responses to The Imposter Syndrome – why successful people often feel like frauds
#1
dungfungus10:58 am, 21 Apr 14

A self-confessed high performing imposter talking about the same subject?
Only other imposters will be attracted to this event.
Someone told me years ago to never bulls$%t a bullsh%$&*r.

#2
jasmine4:02 pm, 21 Apr 14

Isn’t this simply about lack of confidence.

#3
thatsnotme5:31 pm, 21 Apr 14

dungfungus said :

A self-confessed high performing imposter talking about the same subject?
Only other imposters will be attracted to this event.
Someone told me years ago to never bulls$%t a bullsh%$&*r.

Do you just have terrible reading comprehension, or are you just being a smart-arse? This speech is about people who ARE high performing (ie, NOT imposters) still feeling like they’re NOT high performing (ie, they ARE an imposter). It’s not really that hard.

jasmine said :

Isn’t this simply about lack of confidence.

Quite possibly – but I’d never say that a lack of self confidence could ever be classified as a simple matter. Saying to a person with low self confidence ‘well, just be more confident!’ is kinda like telling a depressed person ‘well, just be happy!’ Identifying the issue is easy. Dealing with it is much, much harder.

#4
VYBerlinaV8_is_back8:18 pm, 21 Apr 14

Most clever, competent and capable people that I know would be busy at work between 10 and 11am on a Wednesday morning.

#5
dungfungus9:23 pm, 21 Apr 14

thatsnotme said :

dungfungus said :

A self-confessed high performing imposter talking about the same subject?
Only other imposters will be attracted to this event.
Someone told me years ago to never bulls$%t a bullsh%$&*r.

Do you just have terrible reading comprehension, or are you just being a smart-arse? This speech is about people who ARE high performing (ie, NOT imposters) still feeling like they’re NOT high performing (ie, they ARE an imposter). It’s not really that hard.

jasmine said :

Isn’t this simply about lack of confidence.

Quite possibly – but I’d never say that a lack of self confidence could ever be classified as a simple matter. Saying to a person with low self confidence ‘well, just be more confident!’ is kinda like telling a depressed person ‘well, just be happy!’ Identifying the issue is easy. Dealing with it is much, much harder.

“Hugh Kearns (Flinders University, Australia) has worked with thousands of high performing imposters…..”
That’s what is said my friend. Hardly an ambiguous statement.

#6
davo1019:57 am, 22 Apr 14

dungfungus said :

A self-confessed

dungfungus said :

“Hugh Kearns (Flinders University, Australia) has worked with thousands of high performing imposters…..”
That’s what is said my friend. Hardly an ambiguous statement.

Doesn’t prove your point. What you’ve done here is confuse the testimony of a random ANU spokesthing for an admission from the speaker.

#7
thatsnotme11:04 am, 22 Apr 14

davo101 said :

dungfungus said :

A self-confessed

dungfungus said :

“Hugh Kearns (Flinders University, Australia) has worked with thousands of high performing imposters…..”
That’s what is said my friend. Hardly an ambiguous statement.

Doesn’t prove your point. What you’ve done here is confuse the testimony of a random ANU spokesthing for an admission from the speaker.

Exactly. Grabbing onto one word in the release – which wasn’t spoken by the speaker, and which appears to be used in a context that’s contradictory to the rest of the information about the topic – you’ve decided that this speech is being delivered by a bullsh#@ artist. Conveniently ignoring the remainder of the information that contradicts that conclusion.

#8
Garfield11:10 am, 22 Apr 14

My take on this is that the more you know about something, the greater the understanding of how much you still don’t know. In comparison those who only know a little are ignorant of the true scope of how much they don’t yet know and so can come across as more confidant.

In my career I thought I knew heaps after 5 years and could do it all. By the 10 year mark I knew a lot more than I did at the 5 year mark but realised there was still more that I didn’t know. I can relate to the imposter syndrome.

#9
justsomeaussie11:17 am, 22 Apr 14

Garfield said :

My take on this is that the more you know about something, the greater the understanding of how much you still don’t know. In comparison those who only know a little are ignorant of the true scope of how much they don’t yet know and so can come across as more confidant.

In my career I thought I knew heaps after 5 years and could do it all. By the 10 year mark I knew a lot more than I did at the 5 year mark but realised there was still more that I didn’t know. I can relate to the imposter syndrome.

Also known as religion and the “God of the Gaps” argument. Throughout history everytime man hasn’t been able to understand or explain something we’ve inserted a god in the gap of our knowledge.

The biggest issue these people have is admitted that they don’t know or could be wrong.

Everyone should feel like an imposter sometimes because we can and will be wrong at some point in our lives. The second we claim to have perfect unfaultable knowledge is the second we are lying to ourselves.

#10
dungfungus11:18 am, 22 Apr 14

davo101 said :

dungfungus said :

A self-confessed

dungfungus said :

“Hugh Kearns (Flinders University, Australia) has worked with thousands of high performing imposters…..”
That’s what is said my friend. Hardly an ambiguous statement.

Doesn’t prove your point. What you’ve done here is confuse the testimony of a random ANU spokesthing for an admission from the speaker.

Experts never agree.

#11
dungfungus11:19 am, 22 Apr 14

Garfield said :

My take on this is that the more you know about something, the greater the understanding of how much you still don’t know. In comparison those who only know a little are ignorant of the true scope of how much they don’t yet know and so can come across as more confidant.

In my career I thought I knew heaps after 5 years and could do it all. By the 10 year mark I knew a lot more than I did at the 5 year mark but realised there was still more that I didn’t know. I can relate to the imposter syndrome.

When you know what you don’t know consider that you know everything.

#12
Walker6:51 pm, 22 Apr 14

dungfungus said :

Garfield said :

My take on this is that the more you know about something, the greater the understanding of how much you still don’t know. In comparison those who only know a little are ignorant of the true scope of how much they don’t yet know and so can come across as more confidant.

In my career I thought I knew heaps after 5 years and could do it all. By the 10 year mark I knew a lot more than I did at the 5 year mark but realised there was still more that I didn’t know. I can relate to the imposter syndrome.

When you know what you don’t know consider that you know everything.

!

#13
Walker8:23 pm, 22 Apr 14

I suspect the problem sometimes is, in part, the word “syndrome” that might trigger some reflex in some people.

Maybe it’s more about gaining insight and improvement in the work place. That can’t be bad. Seems interesting.

#14
astrojax1:12 pm, 23 Apr 14

Just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you…

#15
Alf5:50 pm, 23 Apr 14

I relate to this as a public servant. I’m certainly successful and I work hard, but plenty of what I do just doesn’t matter. Even though I am surrounded by people in the same situation, it is easy to feel someone will call the charade for what it is at any moment and highlight my role in it. I think this feeling is symptomatic of modern society and a lot of the jobs that exist. Try reading The Busy Trap by Tim Kreider in the NYT. As he most eloquently points out, ‘…if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary.’

#16
davo10112:52 pm, 24 Apr 14

Alf said :

‘…if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary.’

Ah, that might be why I became an engineer–all that Richard Scarry I was exposed to as a child.

#17
dungfungus6:54 pm, 24 Apr 14

Alf said :

I relate to this as a public servant. I’m certainly successful and I work hard, but plenty of what I do just doesn’t matter. Even though I am surrounded by people in the same situation, it is easy to feel someone will call the charade for what it is at any moment and highlight my role in it. I think this feeling is symptomatic of modern society and a lot of the jobs that exist. Try reading The Busy Trap by Tim Kreider in the NYT. As he most eloquently points out, ‘…if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary.’

“I relate to this as a public servant. I’m certainly successful and I work hard, but plenty of what I do just doesn’t matter.”
But you still take the pay home, don’t you.

#18
davo1017:43 pm, 25 Apr 14

dungfungus said :

But you still take the pay home, don’t you.

Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:

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