Note to self: imposter syndrome?

Have you ever thought whether you might have an imposter syndrome?

Earlier in the summer, giving a series of talks to a large financial institution in Singapore, I enjoyed how deep we got in the Q&A time.

In particular, we went into depth with a question of ‘why’ I do my adventures, by reflecting on how, on my latest trip, when faced with a series of major setbacks (which certainly felt like a point of ‘failure’ at the time), I was forced to face my motivations most honestly.

I had many motivations for doing that journey, but one of them, I had to admit, was to do with ‘imposter syndrome’.

I realised I wanted to prove that I was a great adventurer!

I felt insecure with what I had done (or not done) in the adventure world – the adventures not being epic enough, I’m not tough enough etc. I was afraid of what others might think if they really knew me.

suffering from imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome is extremely common amongst those who have achieved some degree of success.

When I openly shared about this with these very high achieving people (MDs, senior VPs, and so on), it was amazing how many heads were nodding in agreement.

But ‘imposter syndrome’ is not easy to get rid of.

I think a good first step, and a healing one, is just to admit it.

Admit to ourselves, admit to trusted friends, and realise that probably we are not alone.

The next step is trying to understand it. To realise that everyone’s success has come through a mixture of ability, hard work and luck. To understand how the syndrome affects us. To understand ‘who’ we might be trying to prove ourselves to, ultimately.

For more on imposter syndrome, check out this helpful Psychology Today article.

Enjoyed this? Try this other post about how, to “die with zero”, might be a good way to live.