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August 30, 2004



"Suspicions of my own fraudulence"...interesting. I have read in several “female executive” articles and books (Harvard Business Review, National Association of Women Exec Review, Secrets of Six Figure Women, etc.) that this phenomenon is rampant among top female execs. I often wonder exactly how I got here and do I really belong, and do “they” feel that I belong. When reading these articles, the question that immediately popped into my head was…do successful men feel this way? I wonder if only those who are insanely deluded are excused from the need to prove one’s self over and over again? Finally, I wonder if it’s a nice experience to be so nuts as to not question your validity since you know you rock…or if people like that should envy us and our thrill over each new challenge?


Good questions, bcb -- though almost everyone I really respect has, when queried, confessed to these attacks of self-doubt. I don't trust too much certainty. I think a nice mix of anxiety and confidence works wonders.


In psych, this is called the "imposter phenomenon" or "imposter syndrome." There's a pretty good collection of links about it here.



Thanks, Camassia -- I'll check them out. I certainly think the phrase is apt!


My first semester in grad school, I was feeling this too and worrying about it. Then a buddy of mine was laughing and he was like, "Dude, you ever feel like one day you're just gonna get busted for being a total moron and then asked to leave."

What a wise man.

I still get it from time to time. I wonder if it might be more common in academics and the arts.

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