the term was coined as “The Imposter Phenomenon,” by the clinical psychologists
Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in the 1970s. In a nutshell, Imposter Syndrome
isn’t just about doubting yourself, or having low self-esteem. The syndrome is a belief or continuous
feeling that regardless of academic or professional accomplishment, you’re
inadequate or incompetent in your field of work. Or a fraud that will soon be “found
out” at any moment.
feelings are not mutually exclusive to entry level positions. Senior,
Management, C-Suite, even some of the brightest and most talented individuals
have expressed their feelings of Imposter Syndrome, amongst them are: Arianna
Huffington (of the Huffington Post), Tom Hanks, acclaimed writer Maya Angelou,
Howard Schultz (former Starbucks CEO), 3 time Oscar winner, and 21 time Oscar
nominee Meryl Streep, Albert Einstein, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Debbie
Millman (named one of the most influential designers of today, and the former
President of AIGA). This list goes on and on.
are thousands of articles, books, blogs, videos and the like that have recipes
for dealing with imposter syndrome. But I have been able to deal with mine by
realizing the ultimate power wasn’t in having to always know everything...but
the opposite. I gained infinite strength by being humble enough, and brave
enough, to say these three simple words: “I don’t know.”
self-awareness in the things that you don’t know—paired with a restless pursuit
for knowledge lifts a weight off of your psyche. Embrace what you don’t know,
fall in love with your ignorance enough to change it. Learn and grow through
the ignorance, not in spite of it, and to use challenges as didactic
also key to be open and verbalize those challenges. It’s a lot easier to climb
Mt Everest with a group of Sherpas than it is to do it alone.
presented at the 2019 Big Design Conference in Dallas Texas.
info on the event can be found here: https://bigdesignevents.com/
More info about Tony Dausset and his Imposter Syndrome can be found here: https://www.xdpodcast.com/