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The Imposter Syndrome for WIT session at KSCOPE 2013

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Slide skpotvin.witimpostersyndrome

  1. 1. TheImposterSyndromeWhen SuccessfulWomen Feel LikeFrauds
  2. 2. Definition The psychological experience of believingthat one’s accomplishments came aboutnot through genuine ability, but as a resultof having been lucky, having workedharder than others, or havingmanipulated other people’s impressions,has been labeled the impostorphenomenon
  3. 3. “I’m a fraud, they’re onto me!” -TinaFey, popular actress and awards host“They must be speaking directly to me…” -Sherly Sandberg, Facebook COO andauthor of “Lean in” while attending Harvardspeech on “Feeling Like a Fraud”“I’m always looking over myshoulder, wondering if I measure up.” –Sonia Sotmayor while attending Princeton
  4. 4. The Imposter Syndrome Term was keyed in 1978 by psychologistPauline Clance and Suzanne Imes . Valerie Young, Ed.D, author of “The SecretThoughts of Successful Women” says littlehas changed in three decades since. Even more susceptible now that ever.
  5. 5. Symptoms Faking it Imposter Was just lucky Can’t internalize successes High levels of self-doubt Deep level of inauthenticity Just fooling everyone Fear of exposure
  6. 6. Keep in Mind- It is not perceived to be a psychologicaldisorder among people, but it has beenthe topic of research for manypsychologists. Evidence gathered from research doesnot support the idea that this syndrome isa distinct personality trait, but certainpeople are more prone to impostorfeelings.
  7. 7. Gender Differences Boys are taught to bluff and exaggerate Girls are taught to not trust their opinionsand stifle their voices. How does this impact the growth patter ofself-esteem?
  8. 8. Susan Pinker Author of “The Sexual Paradox, the RealGender Gap” Discusses the fraudsyndrome:“…it is purely limited to successful women;successful men apparently never feel likethey are frauds.
  9. 9. Costs to Companies"The cost to their companies in terms ofunrealized human potential can beenormous. … When qualified workers fearrisks, get caught in the expert trap and areprone to perfectionism and procrastination,theres a leak in the corporations humanresources pool.
  10. 10. Career Choice Impacts In male-dominated fields women aremore vulnerable to feeling like frauds. Often women in technical fields specializelater-on in their lives in their field of choice. Work allowed to spill less into personal life. May be only woman on team.“I must have fooled them..”
  11. 11. The Gender Gap Males are more likely to blame outsideinfluences where women are more likelyto blame themselves. Women, when surveyed, believed thattheir performance directly reflects on theirfemale peers. Women believed their were beingwatched more closely on performancethan men did.
  12. 12. Biggest Impact Its not discrimination, but…Stereotyping, which is evidentfrom both genders and not just from olderage groups.
  13. 13. Cumulative Effect Holding Back Over working Giving up Procrastinating Taking criticism too personally Qualifying contributions
  14. 14. Perfect Matches? The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitivebias in which unskilled individuals sufferfrom illusory superiority, mistakenly ratingtheir ability much higher than average.This bias is attributed to a metacognitiveinability of the unskilled to recognize theirmistakes.
  15. 15. Theories Special Minority Programs may add tofeelings of inadequacy- “I was only hiredbecause I was black/female/etc.”instead of recognizing that the personwas hired for their skills.
  16. 16. Never Let Them See YouSweat Or make a mistake. Or be less than in your best condition. Or perform less than perfect. Or take the best path in life. Or accomplish twice as much as anyoneelse in ½ the time….
  17. 17. Small Talk "This may not be right, but…" “I don’t know if I should add this, but” "Anyone could have done it" “I didn’t provide much.“ “I’m sure you can find someone morequalified than me.”
  18. 18. Worry, Worry and Worry dismissive attitude when praised . feeling that peers with the sameresponsibilities are more capable. reluctance to accept new responsibilitiesor challenges for fear of failure . difficult reaction to constructive criticism. worrying that others will begin to realizetheir shortcomings.
  19. 19. Recognition Your contributions matter. Your skills are important. It’s alright to make mistakes- theimportance is to learn from them. Surround yourself with supportiveindividuals. Stop asking for permission.
  20. 20. Ways of Addressing Taking risks or completing tasks that areundesirable can help address fear offailure. Ask oneself directly what in the past orchildhood may make one feelinadequate. Its not a mistake the first time, it’sexperience.
  21. 21. When it happens… When having a direct comparison, lookhonestly at your accomplishments andestablish if you aren’t acknowledging yourown. Actively recognize and avoid negative ordestructive thoughts, (imposter syndrome). Recognize negativity in others that mayimpact your ability to see your contributions.
  22. 22. How to Stop it… Chalk it up to a lessons learned, (not amistake..) Be kinder to yourself. We are our worstcritics. Seek Support from mentors and othersthat can offer you an honest view. Visualize your success!
  23. 23. Final Thought… “ A successful man is one who can lay afirm foundation with the bricks that othersthrow at him. ”— Sidney GreenbergWomen need to recognize this more… 
  24. 24. References