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Pages tagged "Imposter Syndrome"


For those times you feel like a fraud

Recently, someone requested a meeting with me to chat about many things—from the nonprofit sector in general, to what the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits does, to ideas he had for the sector that he wanted to run by me. As I sat and waited for him to arrive at our meeting, one thought kept going through my head: ‘He is expecting to meet with an adult, but he’ll get here and see me – a kid (even though I’m 27). What business do I have being here?’ It’s a feeling I know all too well – imposter syndrome.   

According to The American Psychological Association, imposter syndrome “occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success.”  People will often think their accomplishments are the result of luck – not ability, and often worry that others will expose them as a fraud.

I always assumed these worries I was having were because a) my anxiety gets the best of me or, worse, b) because they were all true. I had no idea this was a legitimate thing. When I realized that these thoughts I was having weren’t actually true, I started to wonder what I could do to shut that voice up. It’s a work in progress, but here are some things I’ve learned that might help you if you’re going through this as well.

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Unmasking imposter syndrome

When I arrived at Yale Divinity School to pursue a Master of Arts in Religion, I was excited, eager to start classes, and ready to meet some fellow classmates. I also secretly felt like a fraud.

Somewhere inside, I felt like I slipped past the admissions committee, or they made a mistake, or the recommendations from my professors carried me in without real merit. I was scared that I wasn’t up to the caliber of my fellow students, especially since my classmates at YDS are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met and do important work. Even as I excelled in my coursework, I had a small nagging fear that my professors were going to wise up and show me the door. I felt like this after being hired in my current position; what do I know about fundraising and why would anyone give me money? I was half-convinced the first five donations I brought in were a fluke. Rationally, I know I earned my place in grad school and I’m a competent fundraiser, but that didn’t completely quiet the small voice in the back of my head.

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