She's back! In this piece your favorite guest blogger, Louise Gray Leonard, expertly describes Imposter Syndrome and then kicks it to the curb, without even knowing it’s a theoretical concept. I first heard about Imposter Syndrome in grad school. I was blown away by the fact there was a name for what I so often felt and also by the new worry I would be found out to have it. As is too often the case, my kids are way ahead of me in learning about and then negotiating the challenges of this sticky, glorious world. Thank goodness.
Richards, C. (October 26, 2015). Learning to deal with the Imposter Syndrome. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/26/your-money/learning-to-deal-with-the-impostor-syndrome.html
Louise Gray Leonard
I’ve realized there is a place some of us go. If you’ve been there, you’ll recognize it. If not, be glad you get to visit somewhere else. The spot I’m talking about is a frightening place. It’s a land where you can’t quite figure out how you deserve the good things you’ve got. You feel like the things you most cherish come from luck instead of your own hard work. It makes you hold your breath with worry.
I call this place Almost. In Almost, what you are doing, what you’ve done, who you are, and what you’ve got to offer is almost-but-not-quite good enough. In Almost, you have a sinking feeling that you’ve overlooked something. In Almost you are sure someone is going to find you out and reveal you’re a hoax. In Almost, there is some small hairline fracture in your plan or cover that means all you’ve worked for could come tumbling down.
In Almost you might overdo things to try to protect what you’ve got. Or you might lay awake at night looking for flaws in your plans or dreams. In Almost you pick yourself and your work over like a buzzard does a carcass. Sometimes, Almost is too much and you just take yourself out of the running for the gifts you want before you even give getting them a try.
But what if you decided the problem was with Almost instead of you? Or what if Almost signaled you are on the right path? What if Almost’s silly feelings represented arrows pointing you in the right direction?
These options mean believing you’re good enough just as you are. Any one means you’re willing to fail, fail a lot, and even fail spectacularly. Accepting these versions of Almost means when something slips out of your grasp, it’s because you reached as far as you could this time, but you have the potential to stretch further. These versions of Almost let you believe in the possibilities of next time, but also in the power of this time. You’re almost there.