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Imposter Syndrome

When even the great suffer with Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome - 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.

Just to be clear, we're not talking about being afraid to do stuff due to self-doubt, or putting things off because you think you're not good enough, no this is when you are doing stuff, you are being successful and yet still you're worrying ... worrying that you'll be found out. That somehow your success has been down to dumb luck and you'll be shown to be a charlatan, rather than someone who has worked hard and deserves their success. Crazy, right?

Yes, it is crazy, but it's remarkably prevalent. Will it help you to tell that annoying little inner voice to get lost, if I tell you some truly remarkable people also suffer from Imposter Syndrome?

Here's a little story about two rather famous blokes called Neil. Neil Gaiman - successful author - told of this gathering he attended some years ago. He described it as a gathering of the great and the good - artists, scientists, writers, discoverers of things - where he was absolutely convinced they'd soon realise he didn't qualify to be there.

Then one night, while standing at the back of the room, he began chatting to someone he described as "a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman, who shared his first name". That gentleman said to him "I look at all these people and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They've made amazing things. I just went where I was sent." Mr Gaiman's response? "But you were the first man on the moon, I think that counts for something."

You see, that nice, polite, elderly gentleman was called Neil Armstrong. In a world where even the first man to walk on the moon feels like an Imposter, I think we're all in good company.

So, let's all tell this story to our inner voices - that should keep 'em quiet.

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