Impostor Syndrome by Darla Baker (plus a FREE book!)

Congratulations to Sue Thue, Szegerton, Shelley, Pam Goodwin, RJ.
Happy Sunday! Today we’re joined by author Darla Baker. She’s giving away FIVE copies of her book Eagle Cove. Drop a comment in the space below to enter the drawing!

Impostor Syndrome

by Darla Baker

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes, which refers to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud.”.[1] Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting 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. Some studies suggest that impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women. [2]
impostor-syndrome-cartoon-823x1024
I recently retired from a thirty-year career in technology to pursue a writing career. Throughout my career in technology I suffered from impostor syndrome and spoke with my colleagues about ways to manage and overcome it, mostly without much success.
Naively, I actually believed that when I retired from technology, I would also leave impostor syndrome behind. I could not have been more wrong. Now, one could argue that, as a new writer, I have a legitimate reason to feel inadequate to the task of writing and publishing a novel. Believe me, I’ve made that argument repeatedly, much to my wife’s consternation. And yet, I’ve managed to write and publish a book that has remained in the Amazon Top 20 since it was released on June 11th and has received some genuine positive reviews.
am i good enough
Trust me, I’m not saying this to brag about my accomplishments, but rather to step outside of myself in amazement at how impossible it seems that any of us can both suffer from impostor syndrome and achieve so much success. Bear in mind that, by its very definition, the primary sufferers of impostor syndrome are high-achieving women.  So I’m fairly certain I’m preaching to the choir here among the readers of Women and Words.
So, do we manage to accomplish great things in spite of impostor syndrome or because of it?
For me, I’d have to say it’s a little bit of both. I finished my career in technology working for a Silicon Valley tech startup, Datastax. I won’t bore you with the details of the technology.  But I will tell you that I was privileged to work with some of the smartest people in the industry, and I was so lucky for the opportunity to stretch myself to the limits. And I’m repeatedly compelled to do just that. I’ll bet you are too.
On a really good day, I might think for about fifteen minutes that I’m capable of being a good writer. The remaining one thousand four hundred and twenty-five minutes, I’m 100% certain that I totally suck and anyone who likes my writing is either delusional or just being kind. And yet, not only have I published my first novel, I’m now working on my second and have two more planned after that.
The one thing I’ve found to ease the suffering from impostor syndrome is to share my thoughts with others, whether they suffer from impostor syndrome or not. I recently had a great conversation with my friend and co-host of the Therapy Café podcast, KA Moll. It seems that each time I’m on the brink of giving up writing for good, the universe sends someone to talk me off the ledge. I’m quite grateful for that.  I’m too young to just sit on a sofa and watch tv. I need to be productive.  I don’t hold out much hope that I’ll ever stop experiencing impostor syndrome. But at least I know I have a good support system to help me fight it.
you are good enough
How do you deal with imposter syndrome? Who talks you off the ledge?

12440664_164576403919818_9099729332725738020_oFrom the time Darla entered high school she dreamed of being a therapist.  She took the only psychology class offered by the school and worked as a volunteer hotline counselor for Suicide Prevention.  After high school, she attended Georgetown College and Wright State University pursuing a BA in Psychology preparing for a career in Pastoral Counseling.

As often happens, her life went in a different direction. So after graduating from Wright State University, she spent the next thirty years practicing therapy skills on unsuspecting software and systems engineers.
Following a failed attempt at straight marriage, she has spent the last twenty years with her soul mate, Carol. Along with their two beautiful pit bulls, they split their time between Dayton, Ohio and Lake Cumberland, Kentucky.
As her career in technology comes to a close, she’s now living the dream, counseling fictional people as a fictional sex therapist in the Thalia Chase: Sex Therapist series.
Darla craves hearing from her readers. You may reach her via any of the following channels:
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52 thoughts on “Impostor Syndrome by Darla Baker (plus a FREE book!)

  1. You are good enough! I am still working and go through some of the same things you have.
    Hey, I grew up in Kettering, just down the road from Wright State!
    Keep positive and keep writing!
    LJ

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  2. I think I’ve had impostor syndrome many times, too. Now I just tell myself to do the best I can and be OK with that. Your book sounds interesting. I look forward to reading it.

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    1. It is definitely not just you. I’d be willing to bet a high percentage of women suffer from imposter syndrome. I know that is true in technology. And now I’m fairly certain it is true amongst writers. It is not limited to women, of course. And it seems it’s also not limited to a specific profession. One thing I did to help overcome or cope is to pick one thing I really love about myself and go overboard in talking about how perfect and wonderful that thing is. In my case, it is my hair…it is perfect! 🙂 And somehow, that allows me to accept other parts of me as good enough at the very least.

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  3. Hmmm I resemble those thoughts…..I am only now beginning to think of myself as a real author and not a fluke….I still think the Goldie was a fluke, luck, or whatever combination made it possible. Good blog!

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    1. I know for certain your Goldie was not a fluke! Clear off a shelf. You have many more awards in your future. YOU are NOT an impostor!

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    1. It is interesting, isn’t it? I do know males who suffer as well. Perhaps it’s that the definition of success for a woman for so many years centered around the home and family rather than the career. I hope you enjoy the book.

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  4. Darla, congrats on the success of your first novel and I’ve no doubt you have many more to share. It was nice to meet you in D.C. and I look forward to coffee and a chat.

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  5. Interesting diagnosis. I’ve heard of it the first time and I’d say it fits me sometimes. It feels funny to hear people prising me for what I feel is not that much.

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    1. I do believe understanding imposter syndrome helps with coping. I’m sorry to hear you experience these feelings. You are good enough. Don’t forget. 🙂

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  6. Darla, have you changed your name???? My sister told me about imposter syndrome years ago when she got her PhD and discovered that all the female candidates thought someone was going to find out they were frauds, while all the male candidates thought they totally deserved to be called Doctor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I haven’t changed my name. I can add a new nickname to my list, though. 🙂 I did send an email to have my name updated to Darla Baker. Also, it seems I left the “e” off of syndrome in the title.

      Isn’t that research amazing! I think the gender discrepancy is something we need to explore. And hopefully, do something to prevent this from happening in girls now growing up.

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  7. Wow, great blog!!! I often feel this way too! I’m panicking a bit about an upcoming speech I have to give in October after being selected ‘Outstanding Teacher and Mentor’ for our district. I thought about turning the honor down, but I’ll try to put on my big girl panties and accept the award. Would love to read a copy of your first book! Congrats’ and great cover🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sandi, thanks so much. Oh, yes! You MUST accept the honor. You DESERVE it!.

      The famous author and amazing Ann McMan designed the cover. I’m very pleased with it. I’ll let her know you like it.

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  8. That’s an interesting theme. I think there are a lot people who suffers with this syndrome, including me sometimes. I’m lookong forward to read this book. Congratulations Darla. All the best, sandra

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    1. Sandra, yes a lot of people, especially women, do suffer. I’m sorry to hear you do as well. Thank you and I hope you enjoy the book.

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  9. OMG, I suffer from this syndrome all the time. Every time I’m asked to participate in something, I think, “Who am I to speak on this subject?” And, yes, it is very much something that afflicts women. We are told from the day we’re born that we are not as good/smart/talented/skilled as men, and that there’s no way we can be an authority on anything. It’s something that we need to stop doing, and we need to recognize that we are good enough. Thanks for expressing this, Darla.

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    1. I’m sorry to hear you suffer from this but very glad it resonated with you. Definitely talking about it will help those of us who suffer but also, as you said, we need to teach our little girls right from the start that they are good enough and not less capable than boys.

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  10. You know, I have never looked at this as an imposter symptom, but rather lack of self confidence – more often women, while with men there is often seen unfounded self confidence.

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    1. Svetla, for me, having a name for what I feel helps to cope and find support from others. It is a minute-by-minute battle sometimes. And as ridiculous as it seems sometimes externally, the battle internally is very real. My head knows that both you and I ARE GOOD ENOUGH! 🙂

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