This is the 31st in a series of posts in which I share thoughts on a book that has inspired me over the years.
I have a weekly zoom call with the leadership team of a global healthcare staffing and recruiting company. We talk about life, leadership, and whatever else is on our minds.
Sometimes the topic comes up that warrants putting it on an upcoming agenda. On our next call we are going to talk about imposter syndrome.
It’s an unfortunate paradox that giving into imposter syndrome can cause you to pretend to be less than you really are. Epictetus warns us (though this wonderful interpretation by Sharon Lebell) that giving in to imposter syndrome can prevent you from developing your true talents and becoming the person you were meant to be.
Here are questions I’ve asked the team to think about prior to our call. How would you respond to these questions yourself?
Question 1: Have you experienced imposter syndrome yourself? What did it stop you from doing?
Question 2: Some authorities believe that fear of success is a greater barrier than fear of failure; as one author put it, we tend to prevent what we must fear from happening. Does that make sense to you, and how would fear of success relate to imposter syndrome?
Question 3: To the extent it is experienced, does imposter syndrome go away once you’ve achieved a certain level of success and self-acceptance, or is it endemic in that it graduates to each new level along with your success?
Question 4: How does imposter syndrome relate to being trapped in, or eventually escaping from, your comfort zone?
Question 5: Does imposter syndrome get worse the higher you get on the totem pole of life; in other words, is it related to the well-known Peter Principle that says people get promoted to their level of incompetence and then stagnate there?
Question 6: What techniques have you used yourself, or at least read about, to help yourself overcome imposter syndrome?
Question 7: Is “fake it till you make it” an effective antidote to imposter syndrome?
Proceed Until Apprehended: Leadership for What Matters
We recently returned from the annual conference of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership where the 12 volunteers who helped staff our exhibit hall booth gave away 500 copies of the 60-page preview of my forthcoming book Proceed Until Apprehended: Leadership for What Matters.
Those words – Proceed Until Apprehended – are an antidote to learned helplessness. The eBook version of the preview can now be downloaded from our website – click on the book cover.