Imposter Syndrome Revisit

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I have put myself on certain mailing lists (mostly personality type stuff) and one hit my in box today that kind of tied a few strings together.  Or maybe it didn’t and I’m just making it fit.  You never know.  We all have some biases after all.  Just another one of those cases where some force in the universe delivers a message at an appropriate time.

Many moons ago I wrote a post or two about something called imposter syndrome.  I won’t link because I’m far too lazy to go back and find them.  Well, this post came through called “why introverts often feel like a fraud or imposter”.  It was from a site called personality junkie and I’m not going to link to the site but you can find it if you want.  Just the title was enough to make me go “hmmm….”.

To be clear, I don’t want to blame this on my personality type.  As in, I’m an INFP so this is why I feel this way.  No, it is just a way of understanding why I may feel this was from time to time.  Of course, the post doesn’t offer a lot of advice but at least I can recognize myself in there somewhere.  And, I do want to say that there are some INFP traits that I love but, damn, we can sure be a mess at times.

One of the main points of the book is that introverts (and especially intuitive introverts) are all about authenticity or meaning that we like trying to figure out who we are and many of us live by some internal code that only we know.  But we tend to be our own worst critic (totally guilty of this by the way).  And, because we tend to look inside first, it means we tend to ignore positive external feedback and replace it with our own reality in which we most likely suck.  The extraverts have it easy here because they tend to lend more credence to outside opinions.  If someone tells them they are doing a good job, they are more than likely to agree with them rather than saying “you’re full of crap because I know how much I suck”.

Oh, but here comes the real bitch of things according to this article.  While we tend to downplay positive feedback, we latch on to negative feedback like (fill the blank with your appropriate analogy I can’t come up with one).  Probably because the negative feedback fits our own distorted view of ourselves.  Oh, you think I suck.  Well, I happen to agree with you.  Let me polish up your comment and give it a prominent place in my subconscious.  Yes that bright shiny “you suck” will remain there while all the good comments gather dust in a corner of the mind we never look at.

I think I had said something similar in the post about the off hand remark about franchise dancers.  I don’t know, I tend to ramble so I don’t remember if I made any coherent points.  What it kind of means to me is that I took his one comment, which wasn’t really that much of a critique, to heart and used it to amplify my own feelings of inadequacy over these routines.  Toss in the stuff about not really having any strong connections at the studio and, bingo, I’m feeling like a complete fraud who has no business trying to do the show with other better dancers.  Fight or flight and I chose flight to run back and bury myself in other activities.

But, I’m not going to be too hard on myself here.  It probably turns out that I just psyched myself right out of doing this Showcase.  On the other hand, I do think it is true that I needed some time away because I was feeling stressed about spending too much time in the various studios.  I had let my life get a little unbalanced and I think that played a part in the whole cascade.

That’s not all I got out of the article.  This part may be a stretch but the article made a comment about extraverts and authenticity and because they look to the outside world for validation.  So they are probably the most likely to latch on to external trends.  These are the people clogging up Linked In with links to articles showing the hottest new ideas in business.  Even if they aren’t connected, just linking to the articles is a way to show that they are staying on top of the things and ready for the opportunity to embrace the new and shiny.

And when your corporate world is filled with ES types, they are constantly scanning the horizon for the latest and hottest trend.  Oh, Google did this, well then it must be right for our company.  So they bring is the best experts and they listen to the smooth sales pitches about how they can’t afford to be left behind because all the best companies are adopting these new methods.  It doesn’t matter whether it really worked for those companies.  If these experts say that it did, then the ES types just sign on the dotted line and bring these people in for training and do a hard sell about how wonderful this is going to be.  Until it doesn’t pan out and they find the next bright shiny trend to implement.

Well, I already went off on work earlier so I don’t want to continue that thread.  What I guess I see as the problem is that most of these types are task and process focused.  They think that the right tool or the right structure or the right process will fix all that ails a company.  But even though their logic may be undeniable, it can also be cold and unfeeling and doesn’t speak to the heart of those of us who need to feel something to be a part of it.  If you wanted true diversity and inclusion, then you’d recognize that us introverted feelers have a lot to offer and that you only get that when you don’t try to force us to be like you and do the things you like to do.



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