Imposter Syndrome and Me

Greetings Friends! 

My name is Santiago and I have no idea why I’m here.  Well, except that I do know.  But I don’t.

Confused?

Yeah, so am I. But the good news is that we’re not alone. And that seems to be the biggest lesson to learn about this phenomenon called “Imposter Syndrome.”

By now you’ve probably heard about it. It’s been a popular topic in a lot of professional newsletters over the past few years. I first encountered it in my regular day job in the tech industry. I work as a Quality Assurance Engineer, which means that people build software and I try to break it. Sounds like an easy thing, yes? Not as easy as you might imagine. Sometimes it feels like I need to know more about the software than the people who wrote it. And that feeling leads to stress, which leads to thinking “am I really good enough?”

That’s the core question of Imposter Syndrome. Am I really good enough?

Turns out this ties into every endeavor of humanity. Am I a good enough husband? Father (Uncle in my case actually)?  Am I a good enough employee?  Am I a good enough student?  Am I a good enough teacher?  Am I a good enough…. Magician?

One of the things that has taken me years to overcome is getting myself onto a theatrical stage as a magician. This, despite doing many private shows, parties, even a few weddings, and corporate events. This despite having a literal lifetime of theatrical experience as an actor!
 
Being on a theatrical stage as a magician is what I consider to be my ideal environment. How could it not be with all my other experiences? But Imposter Syndrome says, “There was a whole cast of people on the stage for the audience to see when it’s a play. That audience wasn’t there for you. They were there for them.”  And of course, once it’s only me, the whole show lives or dies on my shoulders. “Am I a good enough magician?”
 
Turns out I am.  I’ve done a couple of theatrical stage shows now. Not huge venues. Audiences mostly made up of my friends and family. But it’s all about the steps you take. I’ve gotten more experience. I’ve learned more about marketing myself. I’ve developed connections. I’ve built a magic team, and I proved to myself that I will be at my best in a theatrical environment. I’ve improved my performances by setting show dates, which means deadlines that have to be met.
 
No more time to worry about “good enough”. Now it’s all about doing the work.
 
There is no cure for Imposter Syndrome.  That’s the bad news.
 
The good news is that Imposter Syndrome is very treatable, and the treatment is remarkably easy! 

  1. Remember that everyone has it. You are not alone.
  2. Surround yourself with people who will be honest with you – not just about how good you are, but also about what you need to work on. People who validate you and your goals.
  3. Daily goals create momentum. Once you’ve succeeded in one goal, you’ll find that the next one becomes that much easier. 

The best way to beat Imposter Syndrome is with success. So put yourself into a situation where you experience success often enough, that every time you begin to doubt, you are never too far away from an example of your actually being good enough. The last performance you did, the one before that, the one before that – all of them stack up to your success. And if you are on the road towards the next success, then you’ll have yet another opportunity to prove that you are, indeed, not an imposter.
 
That’s how you do it!
 
You’ve got this!  I believe in you!

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