Saturday, May 10, 2014

Impostor Syndrome

As of this moment, the following is wikipedia's description of the topic at hand:

The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

Does this sound like someone you know?  Does any of this describe yourself?  I learned about imposter syndrome in 2011 when my husband forwarded Jean Hsu's blog entry, Overcoming Impostor Syndrome.  He was not-so-subtly trying to make a point.

I recognized it in myself, immediately.  At the time, I had a BA and I was close to finishing my Associates in Applied Science - but I wasn't a good student.  I just sound intelligent, so people make assumptions.  I was also digging myself deeper into debt, and without a lot of help, I would not have attained my degree - anyone can apply for loans.  This isn't a healthy train of the thought.

I shared Ms Hsu's blog with my classmates and asked if any of them felt this way.  One of them, unimpressed, said, "All the time," though this was new terminology.  It helped to put a face to the enemy, even if we've long since been familiar with its work.

I thought I'd left the bulk of this problem in that classroom, but today I learned otherwise.  This video taught me that I'm still afraid of being "found out".

To recap, as I know you took the time to watch the video Ms Diamond put together for us, what is fear?  False Evidence Appearing Real.  I've had all the evidence stacked against me.  I only got through two degrees because I had a bunch of help (never mind that help is part of education).  I'm only an AMTA volunteer because someone else didn't sign up (although I see merit in someone doing something that others do not want to do, I offer no merit for myself).  I've only met accomplished MTs because of the people I've met through AMTA (because I haven't met other wonderful people under similar circumstances).  You see the pattern.

I thought myself much over impostor syndrome when I applied for my business license.  Understandably, I was nervous about this new endeavor; who wouldn't be?  I've never run a business before, and it could fail.  Dwelling on this fact certainly doesn't help, and can set one up for failure before even trying.

Failure is always an option!

No need to get philosophical on me.

What do we do when we fail?  Wrap ourselves in a blanket, cry, eat a pint of ice cream, then try again.  That's the easy part.  So, what do we do when we succeed?  I had no idea that one could be afraid of success, but it's just as real as being afraid of failure.  Success leads to new challenges and new potential for failure.  In a cynical way, I feel this is a reason to embrace success, if we're so familiar with failure.

Aside from our worst critic, who's keeping score of our success and failure?  That annoying relative who knows everyone's marital and parental status doesn't count.  We are our own worst critics, so once we've assessed our efforts and concluded that we've done all we can, who can fault us for success or failure?  Whether we're the CEO of a mega-corporation or a sole proprietor, we're always looking for ways to improve our business.  We don't know everything, and we're always learning.  Once we accept that we have this in common, who can we call an impostor?

Thursday, March 6, 2014


As the title of this post suggests, I'm sick.  For those keeping track at home, krankheit is, indeed, the opposite of gesundheit.  And some of you just knew that. ♥

This is the first time I've been sick since opening my door (and closing it for clientele privacy).  I didn't grow up with the best examples of how to deal with illness.  Short of pneumonia, if a soldier is sick, they still go to work.  If a massage therapist is sick, we have to close up shop.  This hurts, because our natural inclination is to take care of people.  Writing the cancellation notice was more painful than my raspy throat.  My clients are very understanding, and for that I am fortunate and grateful. 

Instead of sitting around and sulking, I'm taking the time to catch up on some Massamio blogs, perusing the Massage Therapy Foundation, working out kinks in my website (and removing Neocities' groundfloor, so it's going to get worse before it gets better), and just taking care of myself.  I've read accounts that claim a daily 20-minute bath, while you're sick, can reduce the time you spend under the weather.  I find baths to be a boring waste of time, and a huge waste of water.

"I've seen your twitter sermons.  I'm REALLY worried about you wasting water."

My point still stands!  In any case, the last time I wasn't feeling well, I followed that advice, and I got through it with barely a tickle and less-painful coughing.  This is very anecdotal, so what does the research have to say about it?  While I'm not sulking about being sick, I'll do a bit of digging and find out.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Conversation & Online Etiquette

I have a simple request for everyone, as you surf the web and interact with other users:  don't be a jerk.

On the surface, it seems like a simple request.  We've been raised with this simple lesson, haven't we?

But, alas, when we feel our intelligence is being insulted or challenged, many of us feel we must retaliate.  This is the worst thing we could possibly do.  If someone is trolling, they don't care how much evidence we have to support our case.  If someone repeatedly refutes our evidence by pulling rank ("I've been in this business for 20 years!"), cease and desist.  We can't control how others conduct themselves on the internet or elsewhere, but we can control how we react to it.  I remind myself of this often, but I have made the mistake of engaging when I shouldn't.  It's a human mistake, so I hope the person on the other end of the line knows not to deal with me on a day in which I should not be within 50 miles of a keyboard.

Here is a chart that may help you identify a lost cause.

Sources22 Words and Atheism Resource.

Save yourself some agony and recognize when someone is not willing to change their position in light of solid data.  Recognize when you've entered the realm of opinions and subjectivity.  Though I don't have numbers to prove it, I have a feeling that most people live there.  If you do make a permanent home there, please learn how to approach a dissenting opinion.  Not everyone is going to agree with you in all things.  You don't need to be in eternal agreement in order to have a good conversation.

Since so many people view a dissenting opinion as an automatic attack, my online involvement is limited.  The only online forum for massage therapy that I'll engage is POEM | Project for Open Education in Massage, and I've given up on LinkedIn conversations.  If we can't be decent to each other, it isn't worth the time or effort.