Impostor syndrome

by Jacinta Calzada-Mayronne @drcalzy

I don’t believe in impostor syndrome. What is impostor syndrome? Impostor syndrome is defined as 'an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. While this definition is usually narrowly applied to intelligence and achievement, it has links to perfectionism and the social context' (Cuncic, 2020).

I’ve always been lofty with my goals, ambitious, yet cautious. By the age of 32, I obtained two bachelors degrees, two masters degrees, and a doctoral degree. Each degree pushed me closer and closer to the ultimate goal of being great and the best at what I do. However, I have never doubted myself, I have never doubted my intelligence, and I know every achievement that most people find impressive was earned.

So, why do women (most often) feel like impostors? Recently, a friend of mine shared with me that an event we attended encouraged her and shut her impostor syndrome down. I was perplexed as it’s not the first time someone close to me, a woman close to me, shared that they had impostor syndrome, and I couldn’t understand why.

Both of these women have terminal degrees in their field, and also both of these women, like myself, not soon after obtaining these terminal degrees that so beautifully give us the title of doctor, found themselves in positions that put them on a pedestal to do more and to be great leaders within their field.

 

What sets me apart from these women? Why don’t I feel like a fraud? Why don’t I feel unworthy of more? Honestly, I have no clue as to what sets me apart. I push for what I want for myself. Now, especially after having children since obtaining my doctoral degree, every goal I have is to ensure that my children are perfectly cared for.

I can ultimately say that I try not to bite off more than I can chew, and that includes my goals, my love, and thirst to educate myself further, being a leader, and being the person my husband and children need me to be.

I’m a planner, and I plan and guide myself all the time. For example, I am currently taking courses towards my certification as a principal, and I know that being a principal is not my last stop. I aspire to one day be a superintendent and know I am competent. I also know that I can’t pursue that role or the certification towards that role physically, mentally, and emotionally until my children are school-aged. Self-care includes knowing your limits, and limits and boundaries do not make you any less capable.

I believe we are all capable of achieving and being efficient at our jobs. I’m also a believer in guiding my steps and setting goals for myself that are realistic. I don’t believe in impostor syndrome. When I come to the table, I know that all of the hard work and energy I poured into myself to be an expert in my field is there. Confidence is crucial, and by definition, impostor syndrome is a lack of confidence.

What can women do to gain confidence in themselves?

Women can surround themselves with women who are in their field or who are pursuing similar roles and positions, find a mentor that they respect and who will genuinely guide them and take them under their wing, and develop a plan to achieve their goals.

Reference Cuncic, A. (2020). What is imposter syndrome? Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/imposter-syndrome-and-social-anxiety-disorder-4156469

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