Friday, May 9, 2014

The Imposture Syndrome & and strokes

20 years ago, a friend and I had a conversation about the "impostor syndrome." We laughed when we admitted that we have that condition.

Throughout my career I have thought about the impostor syndrome a lot. I have been honored and have accolades heaped on me. 

But often I don't believe my "Press" has been deserved. From high school when I was honored to be the "Most Likely to Succeed" and through the years I have received honors like "BSU Alumni of the Year," elected twice to be on the board of the College of Western Idaho, etc. I have plaques galore. 

Since the strokes, I was elected again to be on the board of the College of Western Idaho. The governor appointed me to be on the Board of the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. And I was chosen to be on the board of the American Heart and Stroke Association, the Idaho Chapter.

I'm trying to reconcile my life and being a victim of the impostor syndrome.

From Wikipedia, here is the definition:

"The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be."

My strokes have compounded my impostor syndrome for several reasons.

Even now, 27 months later I'm so humbled that hundreds of people donated funds to help with my therapy. Therapy that is ongoing even now. There are so many people more deserving. 
Why me?

Early in my career, I became CEO of a large trade association. Throughout my career people consider me to be a leader. I don't know why.

Many people have told me that I am their mentor. I like to help people but not for the accolades. Why do they think I am their mentor? 

Throughout my life people have asked me to be involved in so many ways. But why me?

My strokes 27 months ago, changed everything. But what did not change is my imposter syndrome. Actually, the stroke heightened my awareness of my limitations.

During a trip to Disney World, a friend of mine on Facebook commented that I look "so healthy, happy and relaxed. I am
jealous!"

In reality, though I'm grateful for my recovery, the impostor syndrome has exacerbated my lack of confidence. When you cannot read, write, and speak very well at all, it heightens your sense that you are an impostor in your life.  

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