Do You Feel Like An Imposter?
Even after being an attorney for 30 years and having my own business for the past 21 years, sometimes I still feel like an imposter.
Imposter Syndrome is “a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and have a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.”
In our society, people look at professionals as those who have the “answers” and know immediately the solution for all problems. I felt that imposter syndrome was worse for me in the beginning of my career as an attorney and then as a legal nurse consultant … and even when I was a nurse.
When I began in nursing, I would all the time run into situations where I had no idea what was happening and had to ask for help or turn to my policies and procedures or even do some research.
One cannot be expected to know everything. That is an impossibility. That is why practicing law and practicing nursing, with the operative word being practicing is so important is because you can’t know everything. We are always practicing, learning, and growing.
What’s good is that if we have a situation about which we are not sure, we know how to find the answers. Having put expectations on yourself that you must have the answers to everything is completely unrealistic.
Now when this happens, I take a breath, analyze the question, and research information to figure out the best answer or course of action.
On the television series “House,” the main character always has a diagnosis for some obscure case within the approximate 45 minutes. On “Law and Order,” the average broadcast gets to a case verdict in about the same time frame.
Real life doesn’t work this way. And our job is not to come up with the quick fix or answer but to serve as a consultant or coach to construct the best course of action to serve our clients.
No matter which business you’re in, it is normal to feel like an imposter. But that is okay. It is an unrealistic expectation for you to know everything. Your value is not that you’re an imposter because you don’t know everything. Your value is that you know how to get the answers and the results for your clients.