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!
by Darla Baker
(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.”.
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. 
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.
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.
How do you deal with imposter syndrome? Who talks you off the ledge?
From 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: