Revere at Effect Measure wrote about Imposter Syndrome yesterday. Although I’d never heard of the syndrome before, the symptoms certainly seemed familiar.

Here’s an Imposter Syndrome Quiz from Dr. Valerie Young:

Yes or No

  1. Do you secretly worry that others will find out that you’re not as bright and capable as they think you are?
  2. Do you sometimes shy away from challenges because of nagging self-doubt?
  3. Do you tend to chalk your accomplishments up to being a “fluke,” ?no big deal? or the fact that people just “like” you?
  4. Do you hate making a mistake, being less than fully prepared or not doing things perfectly?
  5. Do you tend to feel crushed by even constructive criticism, seeing it as evidence of your “ineptness?”
  6. When you do succeed, do you think, “Phew, I fooled ‘em this time but I may not be so lucky next time.”
  7. Do you believe that other people (students, colleagues, competitors) are smarter and more capable than you are?
  8. Do you live in fear of being found out, discovered, unmasked?

If you answered yes to any of these questions ? join the club!

The only two that I would tentatively answer “yes” to would be #2 and #7.

What I’ve always done for as long as I can remember is to create new opportunities if I have the feeling that I may not be able to continue along this current path to success. For example, I used to play violin in the high school orchestra but was really devoting my time to piano, so without enough practice, I was probably only ever going to be second chair instead of principal violinist. To get around that, I quit violin and learned string bass. There was no competition so I was principal bassist among only two others.

Similarly in college when I was doing far from well in the pre-med track. I switched my focus to epidemiology and had little trouble getting accepted to grad school. While I did well in grad school and academia could have been my future, I reassesed my life and realized that I’d never be able to have a stellar academic career given our choice to let Marv’s career dictate where we’d live in the world. So, I left science research and moved on to consulting, editing, and writing. And here I am today with

I still wonder about my ability to succeed in the problogging sphere, but I work hard and am learning from the best. As most paths go, this one has been going up and up. It’s not an easy walk by any means but the rewards along the way have been worth it.

NB: Dr. Young’s 10 Steps to Overcome the Impostor Syndrome.