Jobs Blog

From bu.edu   Do you often experience feelings of inadequacy or become overly concerned with making mistakes? Do you sometimes find it difficult to take credit for your accomplishments? If so, says Valerie Young, breathe a little easier: You are not alone. Author and speaker Young is an internationally recognized expert on “impostor syndrome”—the “secret belief,” as she describes it, “that you’re really not as bright, capable, competent, or talented as other people think you are.” “People who feel like impostors tend to dismiss their accomplishments to factors outside themselves, such as luck or timing or connections, and they don’t think they can repeat that success again,” Young says. “This is despite evidence of one’s accomplishments or abilities, whether that is getting into a good school like BU, or getting good grades, degrees, promotions, recognitions, and awards. [People think], ‘Sure I’m successful, but I can explain all of that.'” On Tuesday, September 18, Young will visit the School of Public Health for the Diversity and Inclusion Seminar “Impostor Syndrome: Why Capable People Suffer and How to Overcome It.” Ahead of the seminar, Young discussed the prevalence of the syndrome, why both social media and academic culture can fuel feelings of inadequacy, and how those suffering from self-doubt can “talk themselves down faster.” For more than 30 years, you’ve spoken to thousands of students and working professionals about impostor syndrome. Why did you decide to travel around the country to talk about this? When I first heard about impostor syndrome, I was a doctoral student at UMass Amherst. Someone brought in a paper by Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, and it was describing all of these competent people who felt like they were fooling folks. And I sat there nodding my head saying, “Oh my gosh, that’s me,” and all of the other graduate students were also nodding their heads. I changed the topic of my dissertation based on hearing about this—I wanted to understand women’s self-limiting attitudes and behaviors that would lead to impostor feelings. Read more here