Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Clark Kent, Meet Superman

Ever feel like you’re pretending to be someone or something you’re not, like Superman pretending to be Clark Kent, i.e., ever feel like an impostor? I hear this a lot from new graduates at all levels, people new on their job, new parents…okay, new [fill in the blank]. It’s difficult to move from study to practice, from known to unknown.

While I don’t generally borrow whole hog from a source, I thought this APA Monitor article about impostor syndrome provided some really excellent solutions, which are as follows, with just some minor additions and deletions.

Be patient with yourself. It takes awhile to grow accustomed to new roles and situations. You will make mistakes; no one’s perfect.

Acknowledge compliments and successes. Keep a diary of them or post them visibly so you’re reminded often of things you’ve done well.

Let go of the overdoing rituals if you can. Reading too much to prep for a new job, studying too much for an exam, or rehearsing too much for a presentation or performance just reinforce your own notion that you’re not good enough. Consider keeping these things a level the average, above-average performer would find appropriate.

Embrace positive rituals. Taking calming breaths, or using positive self-talk, pump-up songs and the like, are fun, upbeat ways to ensure yourself that you are what others seem to think you are.

Celebrate your accomplishments. You’re good. Show yourself you believe it by doing something special for yourself.

So stop pretending and be yourself. Like Superman. Or was it Clark Kent pretending to be Superman?

To pump it up: Start Me Up (Rolling Stones)

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