imposter syndrome (noun)
the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills. “people suffering from impostor syndrome may be at increased risk of anxiety”
Over the last two days I’ve heard this term used by three different speakers at three different sites. Once at Google yesterday afternoon, again this morning while at Workday, and then again this afternoon by our guest speaker, Dara Connolly from Common Purpose Ireland, at Griffith College. This is a feeling I’m deeply familiar with though I’ve never talked about it expressly in those terms. Many times over the course of my life I’ve felt this way and in the past I would just hide from the feeling, to my own detriment, more than a times I’ve allowed self-doubt keep me from achieving my goals. It’s only lately I’ve learned to push through and triumph in spite of my fears.
When I first got to Pittsburgh I was riding high on my own successes, I had done extremely well at my community college and I expected more of the same from myself from once I got to Pitt. My first year at Pitt I wasn’t accepted straight in to the College of Business Administration as I hadn’t taken a Calc. class that was a prerequisite for the school, so, of course this was the first class I scheduled. I was really eager to get this show on the road, but I really struggled through this class. I got through, but not in the stellar fashion I had become accustom to. This was the first time I had begun to question whether or not I was cut out for Pitt Business and whether or not I deserved to be here. I pushed forward and instead of running from that feeling I embraced it and this past semester I brought home my first 4.0 here at Pitt. Over the last year since I’ve been officially enrolled in Pitt Business I have had other moments. Many of them stemming from the interviewing/internship seeking process, time spent questioning my own merits and strengths and wondering if I truly belong here. The competitive nature of the hunt for “Big 4” placement has caused me many sleepless nights and obsessive introspection. The interviews themselves are where I feel imposter syndrome the most keenly, having sat down with many of the large accounting firms represented at Pitt I can say each time the same question runs through me head “how did I get here?”. I haven’t landed a Big 4 spot yet but I believe that its only a matter of time, I refuse to let my self-doubts run my life anymore. I haven’t learned to rid myself of them completely but with the help of my loved ones and faith in something greater than myself, ultimately, being the one who is pulling the strings, I have gained the courage to face these fears today.
There are other aspects of my life that the imposter syndrome sneaks its way into it, like my social life for one, and its been a problem I’ve face for as long as I remember, but the solution is always the same. Talk it out with someone you trust to listen and tell you the truth, for me, my fears lose their power over me when I do this. It’s something I constantly need to remind myself of; to not be afraid to ask for help or a sympathetic ear. The voice in your head doesn’t always have the best advice, sometimes you need to take it to somebody else.
Final though: F.E.A.R. – Face Everything And Rise