Advance Performance | Anyone Can Experience Imposter Syndrome
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Anyone Can Experience Imposter Syndrome

Anyone Can Experience Imposter Syndrome

Dame Julie Andrews is a National Treasure: the leading lady from Broadway, the ground breaking performer on stage and screen in Victor/Victoria, and known for her iconic characters particularly as Maria in The Sound of Music and the lead role in Mary Poppins.

So, it was very refreshing to hear Andrews tell her story of feelings of self doubt that we all experience. She explained in her interview on The Graham Norton Show how she had suffered Imposter Syndrome after she was award the Academy Award for Best Actress for her first movie Mary Poppins. The extent of her doubt and feeling she was unworthy of the accolade affected her mentally for many years as she explained:

l kept the Oscar in the attic for a very long time because I thought I’d been given it as a ‘Welcome to Hollywood’ and I didn’t feel worthy of it.” She continued: “So much early success sent me into therapy and analysis. I learnt you have to do it right and honour the films you are making. It’s a huge gift, but a lot of obligation.”

Julie Andrews suffered from the recognised psychological term Imposter Syndrome or Imposter Phenomenon – the feelings of unworthiness and doubt that you have succeeded or gained your position or achievements through luck and circumstances rather than by merit, your talent, skills, qualifications and experience. The psychologist Audrey Ervin said in Time that in today’s society Impostor Syndrome can apply to anyone “who isn’t able to internalize and own their successes.”

Suffering from the symptoms of Imposter Syndrome can cause depression, loss of confidence, anxiety, increase stress, and prevent the individual from trying new opportunities and challenges.

So, if you have those feelings of self doubt over your positions and achievements, what can you do about it?

  • Acknowledge the thoughts and feelings related to your self doubt, and write them down. Step away from them as being you – they are part of that inner critic and taxi driver leading you to negativity.
  • Reframe your thoughts as Positive Self Talk. Write down why you gained your position, why you succeeded, what were the skills, knowledge and experience that ensured your success.
  • Share your feelings with a trusted friend of mentor who can reassure you that everyone has self doubts at times.
  • Create positive triggers to boost your positive self talk. Place positive mantras on your desk at work, bookmark your favourite inspirational podcast or talk on your phone or tablet, read your weekly Advance Momentum blog, and open your Inspirational Quote from us each morning for your daily boost.

We all need to remember we worked hard for our successes, we are in our positions for a reason, and we are worthy of our achievements. As Dame Julie sums it up in her wise words of experience:

“What matters is that you do the best, most truthful work available to you at the time.”

Find out more about the experiences of Julie Andrews in her book Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years.