Are you forever worried someone is going to find out?
Sometimes I find myself waiting for the e-mail saying:
“Sorry, we’ve made a huge mistake, you are fired.”
Every success is a fluke. Each mistake is a disaster I play over and over again. I’ve convinced myself that one day it will all come crashing down.
Does any of this sound familiar?
When your life is dictated by an all-encompassing fear that people will find out your secret that you don’t have what it takes, you’re going to have a bad time.
Rewards make you feel bad because you don’t believe you deserve them, and when you don’t receive accolades, you agree, because you know… you suck.
“Rather than offering assurance, each new achievement and subsequent challenge only serves to intensify the fear of being found out.” —Susan Pinker
To prevent others from finding out, people try to compensate for their ‘fraud’ in one of two ways:
Overdoing: This occurs when people prepare to an almost obsessive level. They put in much more effort than is realistically needed in order to ensure they don’t fail.
Underdoing: If you don’t really try you can’t really fail, right? People will under prepare or put off doing something until the last minute so they can blame any possible failures on a lack of readiness, as opposed to their actual ability.
This is really well written — and a must-read for every person on the planet who works with people in any way — because it describes all of us at least some days.
I can really only add one other point to the full article. It’s the point Brennan Manning made in his book, ABBA’s Child.
Our impostors are us — and we need to make friends with them or we are forever fighting a war against ourselves and will never meet ourselves nor be stunned into silence by the dignity of ourselves. If we never see that dignity, we will continue to live in that deep sense of inadequacy and have even further grounds to continue the war against ourselves for being an impostor.