Fake It ’til You Make It

Welcome back to the  Point-of-View series, in which I chronicle my opinions and ‘points of view’ about various topics. 

In a conversation with one of my friends who recently became a teacher she expressed that she felt like she was not a REAL teacher, that she was FAKE.  This is actually called The Impostor Phenomenon and I’m not not surprised but very interested to hear other people express their experience with it.

Jack Howard (of Jack & Dean) expresses the feeling of Impostor Syndrome…sorta…without all the technical words.

According to Sakulku and Alexander the impostor phenomenon is more common in women who “had a pervasive psychological experience believing that they were intellectual frauds and feared being recognized as impostors.” It’s also called The Confidence Gap by Kay & Shipman.  We feel like we don’t know enough, or we doubt our knowledge and we’re afraid people are going to point it out.  People are cruel.  It’s just frustratingly disappointing that it predominately affects women, and women often bear the additional weight of representing their whole gender.  This fear has been researched and it’s described that when a woman is wrong “It’s not just her competence that’s called into question; it’s her very character.”  These high stakes increase the likelihood that women will NOT take risks.

One of the unexpected costs of being female is that people keep holding you accountable for other people’s behaviour. You thought you were just a person, but it turns out that you are a wizard. You control the actions of others by the way you choose to dress and walk and talk and live your life. Alexandra Petri

There is a cycle for this syndrome which starts with achievement-related tasks, leading to anxiety and self-doubt which can take two paths, one through over-preparation (my flaw) or Procrastination (I’ve known these people) once the task is completed and finally there is relief, those who suffer will discount positive  feedback with again increased self-doubt and perceived fraudulence which just goes around and around and around.

So Impostors “deny their success is related to their own ability”  it’s either Hard Work or Luck.

This fear of being caught out creates an undue amount of stress which can result in severe mental health issues.

The thing is, it’s not true!  We’re not impostors, it’s an unfair perception we place on ourselves.


I know I can’t explain this problem and it’s effects well enough.  So I’ll leave a link to Chris Lema’s video here.

Additional Resources

The Imposter Syndrome – Bill Watt

The Confidence Gap – Katty Kay & Claire Shipman

Why You’re Good Enough No Matter What – Dr. Kelly Flanagan


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