Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Are you afraid of the imposter police?

I have mentioned Delancy Place ( before as a great way to get your daily dose of nonfiction. You can subscribe for free and get in the email a short piece that you can read in a minute or so. Today's offering really struck home for me. It is about the impostor police. I first learned about them when I was working toward my doctorate. During that time I belonged to an online support group for doctoral students called PhinisheD. Members used to joke about finally getting the coveted degree but then living in fear of the imposter police coming into your office some fine day and ripping your diploma off the wall and exposing you for the dolt you really are. I first had such fears back as a school librarian because I was given a nice award. I kept thinking someone was going to revoke it or something because clearly I did not deserve it. And the fear still pops up when I am having a bad day, except now I am thinking it will be my diploma that get confiscated. Here is an excerpt from their excerpt"

""The term 'impostor phenomenon' was coined in the 1970s by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, both then at Georgia State University. Clance and Imes noticed that many of their students with excellent test scores and good grades admitted during counseling that they felt they did not belong at the school. Although these students were successful and accomplished, they expressed the idea that they had somehow conned their way into their current positions. They were astutely aware of their weaknesses and tended to overestimate the strengths and abilities of others. In their minds, they always failed to measure up - and they dreaded the day they would make a mistake and reveal to the world the grand illusion.

"Clance and Imes described this impostor phenomenon in a 1978 paper, taking care not to call it a 'syndrome' or a 'disorder,' because it is not a debilitating medical condition. Still, such thinking can be persistently troubling for those who suffer from it, and it may even keep some people from fulfilling their potential or finding contentment."

Author: Birgit Spinath   
Title: "Great Pretenders"
Publisher: Scientific American Mind
Date: March/April 2011
Pages: 33-37

OK there...I am admitting it. That sums up how I feel more often I like to admit. Now I know I am not alone!

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