Impostor Syndrome

WCCO’s Jordana Green explains what it takes to overcome self-doubt and fear

Photo by fotolia/darkbird

A friend of mine called me last week near hysteria. He’s an accomplished hairstylist and had written a viral blog about how we feel about our hair. He was getting a lot of media attention and even though he’s been on TV styling hair and talking about it many times, he was starting to panic. For some reason, now he was getting stage fright.

I let him unload his fear and just listened. He called me for some stage fright tips. (I had already ‘media trained’ him when he first started doing TV and radio appearances, so he already knew my ‘tips’.)  Then I asked him, “Why? Why do I need help?” he responded, “Because I’m no expert, who the hell am I to tell other people how to feel or what to do?”

Impostor Syndrome is a bitch.

She feeds on your most intimate insecurities, eats away at your self-esteem and makes you afraid.

If you WiKi Impostor Syndrome you’ll see this:

“Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.”

She’s real and I struggle with her all the time. Who am I to get on the radio and interview famous people and thought leaders? Who am I to write this blog? I don’t have anything useful to say, I’m a mess. Yes, Impostor Syndrome and I are old frenemies.

I did NOT tell my friend that he is an amazing stylist, that he is an expert on hair, that he’s already media-trained. I told him he was enough. He does not have to study his talking points, or be prepared with a witty anecdote, he just has to show up. He already knows the answers to all the questions, he just has to believe that he knows them.

He cried, I cried, and the next week he rocked three media appearances.

It’s hard. Believing in yourself, thinking, “Yes, I got this, I can do this.” Kicking Impostor Syndrome’s ass every day can be exhausting. She’s resilient, but you’re stronger. Having someone who believes in you is helpful, you’re lucky… I believe in you.

This week I wish you the success, accolades and attention you deserve and the ability to OWN that you deserve it. I also wish you someone who believes in you… but you already have that.  😉

Read more from Jordana Green’s journal