Do you have imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Could you have imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a term probably everyone has heard recently. The term, and probably its prevalence, is a lot more common now than in the past. One way to understand this is to imagine someone who looks like they have a skill, they know they’re wearing the uniform of the job, but they don’t actually know how to do what they’re supposed to do. Many people with professional credentials or who have been hired to do a particular job may feel like imposters because they lack confidence in their ability to do the job adequately.

Imposter syndrome is a common reason people seek counseling.

Officially imposter syndrome is not a recognized diagnosis. But imposter syndrome and some related conditions result in high levels of anxiety and often depression. What we used to think was that it was primarily a problem of women working in male-dominated professions. We now see this phenomenon almost universally. We find similar insecurities among children and adolescents who feel they don’t measure up and have the abilities of their classmates.

In the past studies of several professions, we found that almost 100% of people in a given vocation rated themselves as above average. However, because of higher job stress and the increasing rate of burnout, we find more people today who believe they are in over their heads and don’t measure up to the abilities of their colleagues and coworkers.

Imposter syndrome is common.

One survey concluded that roughly 75% of people in certain occupations feel like they are imposters pretending to be competent at their jobs but not really having the skills they require. Of course, many professional licenses or certifications call for only a minimum level of competency. So, when the people in a profession compare themselves to famous practitioners, they are likely to feel that they don’t measure up.

Even at elite universities and colleges, students feel like imposters. They can see other students getting all A’s apparently with these. While they may have gotten admitted, the students frantically study, trying to keep their grades up to the level of their peers. The saying at some colleges is there only two grades. You either get an A, or you get the other grade. In this way of thinking, if you’re not a straight-A student, you’re a failure.

Imposter syndrome is more than a fear of failure.

Many people experience a fear of failure. Even the most talented people sometimes fail. People with imposter syndrome not only feel like a failure, they believed they don’t measure up. The belief that you don’t have the skills or talent needed to perform the job you’re doing satisfactorily is a significant part of imposter syndrome. People with imposter syndrome believe they are essentially defective.

People with imposter syndrome feel like frauds.

They often suffer from a high level of anxiety about their job performance and life in general. Since they don’t feel capable of doing the jobs they are performing, they live in constant fear of being found out.

Imposter syndrome has increased with more online work.

Constantly being on camera, whether working from home or being a student taking online classes, has created an incredible pressure to always be perfect. Many clients I’ve worked with have reported that the stress of working online has been overwhelming. I’m hearing increasingly common reports that students become so self-conscious that they will turn their cameras off and would rather take a failing grade than have to be constantly in the view of all their classmates. Getting teased and bullied about your appearance also contributes to an increase in anxiety.

Online work isn’t the only reason for an increase in imposter syndrome.

As more and more people become accustomed to working online were developing new skills and competencies for doing work this way. I’ve seen some outstanding teaching and counseling being done in the online virtual format. I was hearing of cases of imposter syndrome well before the Covid pandemic. With 24-7 media coverage and the ability to live stream, everything anyone does can be quickly recorded and rapidly disseminated. This feeling that you can never make a mistake or misspeak has resulted in many people feeling inadequate for today’s world.

Comparing up is one reason you may experience imposter syndrome.

Social media has been especially damaging to self-esteem. Someone with ten friends on social media compares themselves to someone with 500 or 1000. That upward comparison makes you feel inadequate. Very few people ever compare themselves down to someone who only has one friend.

You can overcome imposter syndrome.

Even in high-stress jobs, people do overcome their feelings of vulnerability and beliefs that they are inadequate for the job they’re doing. Counseling can help. Working on improving your skills also contributes to overcoming the feeling. And most importantly, accepting that you’re a fallible human and sometimes will make mistakes can take you a long way towards overcoming imposter syndrome.

In an upcoming post, I want to talk to you in more detail about specific techniques you can apply to overcome insecurities, feelings you don’t measure up, and overcome imposter syndrome.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel.

Exertion.

Exertion. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com   

Exertion

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active – not more happy – nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.”

― John Wooden

“Human beings can always be relied upon to exert, with vigor, their God-given right to be stupid.”

― Dean Koontz

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Scornful

Scornful. Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”

― Mark Twain

 “I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them.”

― Baruch Spinoza

“There is no fate which cannot be surmounted by scorn.”

― Albert Camus

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Putting more excitement in your life.

The excitement of life.

Excitement.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

What makes your life exciting?

Excitements can contribute a lot to the quality of your life. By excitements here we are not talking about the kind of excitement you might experience watching a close sporting event where what someone else is doing excites you. What I mean by excitement are those times in your life where what you’re doing excites you and you become fully absorbed in the activity. When what you’re doing excites you, time passes before you know it.

Excitement is not the same thing as pleasure. Though experiencing excitement can bring you a great deal of pleasure. Pleasures are consumption, whereas excitements are creation. Creating these excitements is engaging and requires an investment of your time and energy.

The exciting life grows out of a life which is based on meaning and purpose. If you find your meaning in life, find that your life has a purpose, getting up every day can be a joy.

Some psychologists describe engagement as flow.

Flow is that state in which you lose all sense of time. Someone who loves to play music will sit down to practice a piece only to realize that hours have passed. Have you ever engaged in an activity you were so into, that it seemed as if hours had passed in minutes? That’s the state of flow.

What makes a task exciting and creates flow?

Researchers have discovered specific characteristics of activities that create flow when matched with people who were into those activities. If you can design activities that take you into this state, the time you put in will always feel too short. People who regularly engage in activities that create the flow state describe their lives as full of meaning and purpose.

It requires skill and is challenging.

To routine, an activity can become dull over time. An activity that is challenging and requires you to develop ever-increasing skill can quickly put you into the flow state. This activity should not be beyond your abilities but only at the edge or limit of them. Many people rapidly reached the state of flow when playing video games and can become so engaged in them that they lose all sense of time and forget other activities.

When you concentrate you enter a flow state.

While easy tasks may be enjoyable, maintaining a state in which you are excited in a pleasant way requires that the task be challenging enough that you need to concentrate. The more you focus on this preferred task the more the rest of the world seems to disappear.

Tasks with clear goals are more enjoyable.

The more well-defined the goals the more likely you are to feel enjoyment as you accomplish them. This is one reason why video game players become so engrossed in the game. As they play the game, they are able to achieve increasingly difficult goals. Each time they reach a goal the activity there engaging in is reinforced.

Challenging activities provide immediate feedback.

While there are few people who can work for years on a project not knowing if it will be successful, most people are much more motivated when the task before them provides immediate feedback. When the task is set just a little harder in the last thing you’ve accomplished there’s an incentive to continue to learn and practice. The more immediate feedback the more likely you are to continue with that activity.

Exciting, flow state activities provide deep, effortless involvement.

What you get into the activity you get carried along. Your concentration improves as you become more and more focused on the activity. Seems an amazingly simple solution that many people who say they suffer from ADHD find no difficulty in continuing to pay attention to and engaging tasks such as video gaming or a sports activity.

Challenging experiences should include a sense of control.

When an activity feels out of your control when no matter what you do results seem to be dictated by someone else it rapidly moves from being enjoyable to being unpleasant. If you want to achieve that ultimate feeling of engagement look for opportunities to challenge yourself.

Our sense of self vanishes.

When you get really into any activity you lose yourself in what you are doing. As you move along in this exciting and enjoyable activity is stopped being self-conscious or worrying about what others think about what you’re doing. You continue the activity for the pure pleasure of accomplishment.

Time stops when you’re in a flow state.

Once you find an activity that really engages you and provides this level of excitement and passion there never seems to be enough time to engage in this activity. Hours can pass in what seems like only minutes. When you have to stop you feel like you have just barely begun.

I know I’ve interchanged some terminology here. But I’ve come to believe that happiness involves a lot more than not being depressed. I genuinely happy life reaches far beyond temporary bursts of pleasure. Engagement or flow is one of those ways that people reach genuine happiness.

Have you found something which adds excitement to your life? Is your life full of meaning and purpose? How would your life be different if you found your passion?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Excitable.

Excitable. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com   

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing – and then marry him.”

― Cher

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt, The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

“Respond to every call

that excites your spirit.”

― Rumi, The Essential Rumi

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Independence.

Independence.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Independence.

Inspiration.      Post by David Joel Miller.

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

― Coco Chanel

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Normally I share these quotes on Sunday, but since this weekend is 4 July, America’s Independence Day, I thought it might be useful to share some additional quotes about the meanings people attach to independence.

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

2021 Midyear Review.

2021 Midyear Review
photo courtesy of Pixabay

2021 Midyear Review.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

A quick glance at my calendar tells me that the year 2021 is about half over.

Last week was the summer solstice, where we officially moved into the summer season.

This week we moved from June to July, marking the beginning of the second half of our 12-month year.

Seems like a good time to take stock of my progress working on my “things I want to do this year” list.

Relationships.

High on my list of priorities for 2021 has been improving my relationships with family and friends. Covid has certainly got in the way of maintaining relationships. But on balance, I feel pleased with my progress in staying in contact with people who are important to me despite the difficulties.

Creative endeavors.

The year 2021 was one I dedicate to try to improve the quality of my creative work. I have spent some time taking classes on how to teach online, and I have studied ways to improve my writing and my video production. Unfortunately, all that time spent studying has not yet translated into actually producing more creative work. That should probably be the focus of the second half of the year 2021.

Becoming more proficient in using online platforms.

Technology has been a challenge, especially for an old guy like me. Since Covid began and particularly during the early part of 2021, I have taken classes in teaching online, and I have created to complete asynchronous online courses in the field of substance use disorders. I want to finish my certification for online teaching before the end of 2021.

I’ve gotten very used to using Zoom and occasionally some other videoconferencing platforms. I now have a dedicated Zoom room for doing online clinical supervision and seeing some private practice clients.

Improving my skills at creating videos.

I made some progress in learning to make simple videos. My YouTube video Channel recently reached an all-time high in viewers. Most of the videos are related to alcoholism, substance abuse, and counseling for substance use disorders. In addition, I began adding videos about mental health and having a happy life. I hope to expand those before the end of 2021.

Blog posts.

Time has been premium to work on the counselorssoapbox blog. With 1800 posts completed, it’s been getting harder to come up with topics and the time to create new blog posts. So although I haven’t completely abandoned blogging is had to take a back seat to my other longer-form writing.

Writing and publishing new books.

I currently have three novels and one nonfiction self-help book I’m working on. I and doing more research than I had on past books. I’m also taking classes and reading books on how to become a better author. I’ll let you know when the books get completed and published.

Trying to keep my life in balance.

Of all the things I wanted to do for 2021, this goal has proved the most elusive. There are just so many things I want to do every day that keeping things in balance is a constant challenge. While I can’t say that everything in my life is in balance, shifting from a list of things that I “have to do” to lists of “things I want to do” has helped me reduce the pressure to get more done each day and has increased the time that I can simply relax and enjoy the things I choose to do.

Now don’t get the wrong impression here. I’m still teaching two classes per semester, conducting group supervision, and seeing clients in private practice. I enjoy working, so I continue to do it. But I’m trying to increase the time I spend each week doing creative projects and learning new things.

For the rest of this year, I’ll try to keep you updated on what I’m learning and what I’m creating.

There are probably many more things I should reflect on for this midyear review, but I wanted to get this retrospective review completed before we reached the end of 2021.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Efficient.

Efficient. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

“Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.”

― Peter F. Drucker

“Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.”

― Charles Darwin

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Courage

Courage. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

― E.E. Cummings

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

― Winston S. Churchill

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

― Lao Tzu

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Domineering

Domineering. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com   

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”

― Patrick Henry

“I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.”

― Noam Chomsky

“The strategic adversary is fascism… the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.”

― Michel Foucault

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration