Fixing Imposter Syndrome
Ever feel that sneaking doubt that maybe you’re the wrong person to deliver your message? It’s an insidious little doubt that creeps in and has the real potential to derail your efforts. But here’s the thing: It’s your message. Who is better qualified than you to deliver your message? It’s called fixing imposter syndrome.
Let’s take me as an example. I live on the campus of University of Toronto, but I have no degree. I graduated high school – that’s it. I’m a retired carpenter and welder. So who am I to disagree with people such as Dr. William Glasser, founder of Choice Theory? Or to claim most psychiatrists are self-contradicting boobs, and psychiatry as a practice is actually quite hazardous to your health? I’m just a fat, old, uneducated, retired carpenter, right?
If you know me, you can hear me chuckling.
I have a library card and the wit to learn. Instead of paying a school a quarter million dollars for a narrow, biased education, I worked and borrowed books from the library. Did you know you can download the reading list for most courses at a university? So I know what the kids are reading, plus I can look beyond their reading list. I’ve read books by authors these university kids never hear about because the professor is only interested in pushing her viewpoint. A lot of professors need to be fixing imposter syndrome. They’re pretending to be educators when they’re really indoctrinators.
I have been teaching since I was seventeen. It started with first-aid and CPR. I went on to driver education, data entry, word processing, family relationships, and a host of other topics. I have six books published on marketing, including two international bestsellers. I have taught WordPress, email marketing, list building, fixing imposter syndrome, and building customer loyalty. It is amazing how much deeper your education goes when you study across fields, across disciplines, and across theories versus absorbing one course of study for four years.
There is an idea called the Fifth Man Principle. Michael Crichton came up with it in the late 1960’s. It sees very little use in a lot of fields because the fifth person often points out simple oversights and mistakes. You see, the idea is you bring together a team of related experts. They work on solving a problem. The fifth person is from a completely unrelated field so they ask questions the experts would never think to ask. A lot of the questions are easily answered, but very often the fifth person has insights the experts would never have precisely because the fifth person is bringing in outside knowledge and experiences. She is actually fixing imposter syndrome by helping the experts fill in their shortcomings.
Psychiatrists say trust and rapport are essential for a beneficial relationship. Yet they also have a Form 1 that allows them to incarcerate a person for 72 hours – no charges, no judge, no appeal – and force treatment on them. Where is the trust and rapport in that?
If you think that’s impossible, allow me to introduce you to the case of Mr. Spriestersbach. He was incarcerated in a mental health hospital for two years and eight months. His petition for release, filed by the Hawaii Innocence Project, stated “The more Mr. Spriestersbach vocalized his innocence by asserting that he is not Mr Castleberry, the more he was declared delusional and psychotic by the HSH staff and doctors and heavily medicated,” the petition said. “No one would believe him or take any meaningful steps to verify his identity and determine that Mr. Spriestersbach was telling the truth – he was not Mr Castleberry.”
Talk about fixing imposter syndrome – only in the worst possible way! There is a difference between unshakeable self-confidence and arrogance.
Trust Your Authenticity
Authenticity goes a long way toward fixing imposter syndrome. You are relating your experience as it happened.
Whether you’re a plumber, lawyer, or piano player, you’re relating your experience. It is always true that there are people of greater and lesser skill than you. Neither situation does anything to make you less or more than you are. The best path to fixing imposter syndrome is simply being honest and truthful in your presentation.