Imposter Syndrome

“The most important person that needs to believe in you and your capabilities, is you”. GPC 2019.

Week 6, 10 July 2019

Maintaining faith in one’s self can be a hard slog, particularly when the odds seem against finding success. Even gaining small victories can be open to over-interpretation and self-ridicule, particularly when we humans can be our own worst critic if we do not immediately hit the attempted mark. It is perfectly okay not to be perfect.

Imposter Syndrome or metamorphosis?

Every adult who is honest with themselves, has at one time or another asked themselves whether what they are doing or how they are doing it is satisfactory, or if they in fact know what they are doing! We fear being labelled as an imposter, a person who has over-stated their worth or their skills, in comparison to what we deem is the widely accepted and expected value of what we have on offer.

One sure way to overcome imposter syndrome is to take the time to list the successes of our life and the skill-sets we have gained. These skills and attributes have been attained through trial and error, hours of study and practice, and many times, being thrown in the deep end to sink or swim.  We all would see that we have incredible value, have hundreds of lessons learned, gained flexibility and resilience, and these attributes are particularly prevalent in the over 50s aged group. This under-utilised group of employees have lived through what most Human Resources agents in their 20s and 30s may never live through.

We have often raised children on our own whilst a partner was absent or worked away, we had few or no family close-by for assistance, we worked part time and became masters of multi-tasking, home-schooling, teaching our children to read and write with limited digital input, just using dictionaries, encyclopaedias, libraries and in school and community groups. We taught our children to cook, clean, be independent, have trust in themselves, live peacefully in society through being active sports and team players, being members of community groups in fundraising and taking care of our elders and the sick and frail. We have much to offer the workforce if only we could still be seen as valuable by the hiring managers of today.

Yesterday, a team member from Centrelink said to me that there is indeed age and gender bias in the workforce, and this is not the first time I have encountered this cold, hard truth. I have attended many interviews where it is written on the faces of the HR panel that I am “past my use-by date… move over old lady, let the young ones have their turn!” This of course is a ridiculous notion on their part, but one which is proving to be an uphill battle for me and for many women and indeed men of a certain age. With the impending A.I. workforce, people of my generation need to be utilised as mentors; we have the emotional intelligence, humanity skills, grit and fortitude which Artificial Intelligence just cannot master!

Nevertheless, I continue to believe my skills are valuable; my empathy, patience, extreme love of learning, flexibility, resilience, and determination will ensure I win, whether it is in gaining a great full-time job, or in finding acceptance of exactly where I am at and building upon this to add value to my endeavours.  Each day I work part-time with aged and disabled clients to help them maintain their independence in their own homes. These are some of our most vulnerable people who often doubt their own value to society, and I help build them up and find their self-esteem and self-worth. Many of these clients have taught me to listen to my heart, to believe in myself and what I have to give, and what I have already given the communities in which I have lived. That to me is already a win.


Getting others to believe in you.

“Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time”.  From “Desiderata” ~ Max Ehrmann 1927.

5 June 2019

Day 5

“Water Lilies and Reflection”. Acrylic by GPC

Selling your skills so others believe in you or your dream does not come easily to many people. There are those who are naturally shy, those who have suffered repeated setbacks or made many decisions which did not work out to plan, or some have even suffered belittlement, non-support or even abuse from significant others which leads to consequences for a person’s self-confidence. We should never assume that someone who is not confident in their own abilities, means that the ability is not valid. Some people must learn to be brave and realise that we must market ourselves and our strengths first, and then market our abilities.  

Learning to take compliments is a great place to start. When somebody says, “great painting” or “great presentation”, the best reaction is a straight-up “thank you” response. No over-analysing, no shyness, no putting yourself down, no saying “thanks, but…”.  People who want success need to train themselves to take the compliment and enjoy it!

Marketing yourself requires seeking external reassurance and validation; interestingly many of my introvert friends tend to need less validation or mental stimulation from external sources than do extroverts, and I would call myself an introverted extrovert (I am comfortable on my own in my own space for extended periods of time needing no outside stimulation, but thrive in a team when there is a common goal.) I also love receiving rewards for work well done either on my own or in a team, so maybe that is my extroverted side.

Believing in yourself and your own achievements can be difficult when you are not in the place you imagined yourself to be in, or things around you are not going to plan. Stay flexible, keep searching but enjoy the moments of the now, and never stop learning. All those frustrating instances are lessons in disguise. All the disappointments, near misses and slow-moving plans are getting you one step closer as long as you look for the lessons, stay focused on the objective, keeping eyes, ears and the mind open to possibilities. Sometimes failures are opportunities in disguise.

Projecting to others what you want them to see about you and your endeavours starts with your strength in believing that you are unique and authentic, your work is of value, and your efforts are undeniably positive and productive. Be yourself; allow others to see you how you want to be seen.

Gabe (GPC)