Overcome Impostor Syndrome

How do impostor feelings affect talented people? Here are a few examples:

Lupita Nyong’o had not yet graduated from Yale Drama School when she was cast by Steve McQueen for his powerful movie 12 Years a Slave.

Lupita Nyong’o with OscarNyong’o: “I was extremely excited and of course, extremely intimidated.

“I had impostor syndrome until the day I landed in Louisiana. I was certain that I was going to be fired.

“I was certain I was going to receive a call and they were going to say, ‘I’m sorry, we made a mistake.’ Every single day.”

Emma Watson admitted to Vogue U.K. magazine in 2015 she isn’t always so sure of her acting abilities.

The article said, “Asked whether acting comes naturally, Watson—who graduated from Brown University last year—isn’t sure.”

Emma Watson - VogueUK“It’s something I’ve really wrestled with. I’ve gone back and I’ve quizzed my parents.

“When I was younger, I just did it. I just acted. It was just there. So now when I receive recognition for my acting, I feel incredibly uncomfortable.

“I tend to turn in on myself,” she admits. “I feel like an imposter.”

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Jonathan Safran Foer commented about his novel Everything Is Illuminated, which made The New York Times best-seller list:

“I can be very hard on myself. I convince myself that I’m fooling people. Or, I convince myself that people like the book for the wrong reasons.”

He also said, “The writing itself is no big deal. The editing, and even more than that, the self-doubt, is excruciatingly impossible.

“Profound, bottomless self-doubt: it has no value, what’s the point? In a way, that takes up as much time as anything else.”


The Impostor Syndrome site of Valerie Young says:

“You’re intelligent and successful… at least that’s what everyone says. So how come you don’t always feel that way?

“Instead of feeling satisfaction, with every achievement you’re filled with anxiety you’ll be unmasked as an incompetent fraud…

“But it doesn’t have to be that way.” 

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From article: Feeling Like A Fraud: Living With Impostor Syndrome, by Evelyn Kalinosky, Forbes.com:

Referring to impostor feelings among career women, public speaker and consultant Valerie Young, Ed.D., notes that their fears can “prevent them from fully enjoying their success and seizing opportunities, and can cause them to overwork to compensate for supposed deficiencies.”

Valerie Young“But ‘impostors’ are not the only ones who pay a price,” she continues.

“The cost to their companies in terms of unrealized human potential can be enormous. …

“When qualified workers fear risks, get caught in the ‘expert trap’ and are prone to perfectionism and procrastination, there’s a leak in the corporation’s human resources pool.”

To become more aware of impostor thinking, Young suggests, among other things, looking for stereotyping and self-defeating attitudes that can be reflected in speech, such as women prefacing sentences with disclaimers like “This may not be right, but…” and discounting accomplishments with “Anyone could have done it” or “It wasn’t much.”

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From article: The Impostor Syndrome – Finding a Name for the Feelings, by Dr. Valerie Young:

“The people I’ve worked with come from all walks of life.

“They are doctors and nurses, educators and college students, lawyers and accountants, executives and administrative assistants, engineers and administrators, human service providers and human resource managers, computer programmers and program directors, architects and artists, police officers and principals.

“What they share in common is a deep desire to understand why, in the face of often overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they continue to doubt themselves, their competence, and their abilities.”

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video: Valerie Young: Overcoming the Impostor Syndrome
From The University of Pennsylvania Career Services office

Learn more about her program:

Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome


Article publié pour la première fois le 08/10/2011

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