Wednesday, April 13, 2005


I have a secret, irrational fear. Psychologists call it Imposter Syndrome -- a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in the face of information that indicates the opposite to be true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt and feelings of intellectual fraudulence. It is basically feeling that you're not really a successful, competent and smart person -- that you are only posing as such. No matter how much success you experience, you're never quite able to internalize it. It all must be due to luck or just being in the right place at the right time or your ability to charm and fool people.

I've got it, and I've got it bad. In fact, I've wrestled with it on and off for my entire life. I hear people say great things about me, but inside my head that little voice whispers, "Yeah, but if they really knew what you're really like they'd say something else."

Recently, due to the heightened stress of too much travel, too little rest and a foolish decision made more than a decade ago that has reared its ugly head to bite me in the tail, I have been consumed with this fear that at any moment someone will stand up and yell, "Imposter!"

Of course, I'll know they're talking about me and that at last the jig is up. I was able to fool them for a while, but in the end my incompetence was discovered.

I know for a fact that several people read this blog. I have a counter that tells me I get nearly 100 people a day looking at the site -- unless that's my mother hitting the refresh button every 30 seconds. I also know that many of you are very successful people in various capacities -- writers, preachers, therapists, coaches, scholars, computer techs, business people. Anyone else out there struggle with this?