When was the last time that you had symptoms of some ‘disease’ that you could not figure out on your own? Were the symptoms both physical and psychological? Has the combination of symptoms baffling to those who you confided in about them? Were you ready to seek professional help when you realized that you were experiencing the symptoms of Imposter Syndrome?
Most of us would rather ignore or deny the symptoms we experience than own them and more towards helping and recovery. The same might be said of the Imposter Syndrome. There are people who would rather keep going on with their lives and careers hoping that they will recover without any self-care or doing anything differently.
The Imposter Syndrome is like many other ‘diseases’ in that it is subtle at first and horrendous as it goes on without attention. In the beginning, the symptoms might be irritating at best, a nagging thought here and there. In time it goes on to include symptoms like self-doubt and isolation.
Like any good ‘disease, the Imposter Syndrome will progress when left unattended or untreated. In time, the nagging symptoms can give way to the bigger symptoms that paralyze to isolate some people. The core cause of the Imposter Syndrome, like any disease, can only be discovered with a set of diagnostic procedures. This will always include inquiry, can you self-reflect to see what might be causing this level of self-doubt?
While the symptoms are annoying and irritating, many people will live with them rather than take of the bigger work of addressing them and working to eliminate them. Getting rid of the core case takes time, patience, and focus.
The core-cause of the Imposter Syndrome will differ from one individual to another and what all will have in common is the overwhelming feelings of self-doubt. Self-Doubt is at the core of every Imposter Syndrome experience.
The catalyst for triggering self-doubt will likely be different for each person. Some people hit hard times of self-doubt after being laid off from a job, or being fired from a job, or losing out on a promotion, or not being offered a new job. These triggers and countless more that can be identified might very well develop into the initial symptoms of the Imposter Syndrome. Most people who are on autopilot will miss the message in the trigger and move on to more serious symptoms before they realize that they might be in crisis mode.
Many first born leaders experience the Imposter Syndrome during their careers as they are highly driven to achieve more and will be relentless in their pursuit of success. They are typically overachievers and have more experiences and outcomes to doubt. It does not help that firstborn leaders are seeking perfection and by not achieving it, they can start to show the early symptoms of the Imposter Syndrome.
Other contributors to the Imposter Syndrome might include the LGBT professionals who are driven to do more to be successful than their colleagues. Coming out and being out in of themselves can stir up some of the Imposter Syndrome symptoms linked to self-doubt.
While everyone is equally susceptible to the Imposter Syndrome, these are just two of the reasons that might make someone feel the symptoms more often and more intensely. The attention given to those who have fallen ‘victim’ to the Imposter Syndrome is the same no matter the core cause or the symptoms.
Some of the ways to come out of the Imposter Syndrome include focusing on the positive in your career and life, owning your successes by finding the concrete evidence, coming out with whatever has you hiding from others, and practicing something builds your self-confidence-something that brings you joy. Overcoming self-doubt is about doing things over and over again and learning from each iteration and outcome.
My recent experience with the Imposter Syndrome came on suddenly and was already full-blown by the time I realized what had a grip on my and my mindset. While I was embarrassed and ashamed when I realized what my self-doubt was all about, getting told no over and over again as a new entrepreneur, and began to find the antidotes that would rebuild my self-confidence.
There’s nothing like going through your career files from 35 years to get you in touch with what you really did to create successful outcomes. I saw the photos and newsletters announcing me as the National Employee of the Month and knew the reasons that happened. I could not argue with any of the evidence.
I realized that there is a need to come out about the Imposter Syndrome and avail myself to the professional LGBT and Ally community as a mentor who has experienced and addressed his own Imposter Syndrome symptoms.
My best mentors have been the ones who have gone through the very thing that I am going through and came out on the other side with proven solutions to share with me. I know that when we serve and support each other, we take the power back from those experiences that would others disempower us.
Living in the symptoms of the Imposter Syndrome would not have allowed this article to be written and published. Let’s all support each other in coming out, being out, and overcoming self-doubt.
What’s Next? Talk with others. Take action.
We are proud of our SOCIAL INTEREST GROUPS—WEEKLY PHONE CALLS to discuss, gain insights, build communities— and help solve some of the most difficult challenges the world has today. Calls are for Members Only (although you can join the first call for free). Not yet a member of The Good Men Project? Join below!
Join the Conscious Intersectionality FACEBOOK GROUP here. Includes our new call series on Human Rights.
Join The Good Men Project Community
All levels get to view The Good Men Project site AD-FREE.
Register New Account
Please note: If you are already a writer/contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (Request a new password if needed).
ANNUAL PLATINUM membership ($50 per year) includes:
1. AN ALL ACCESS PASS — Join ANY and ALL of our weekly calls, Social Interest Groups, classes, workshops, and private Facebook groups. We have at least one group phone call or online class every day of the week.
2. See the website with no ads when logged in!
3. MEMBER commenting badge.
ANNUAL GOLD membership ($25 per year) includes all the benefits above — but only ONE Weekly Social Interest Group and ONE class.
ANNUAL BRONZE membership ($12 per year) is great if you are not ready to join the full conversation but want to support our mission anyway. You’ll still get a BRONZE commenting badge, and you can pop into any of our weekly Friday Calls with the Publisher when you have time. This is for people who believe—like we do—that this conversation about men and changing roles and goodness in the 21st century is one of the most important conversations you can have today.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Photo courtesy iStock.