Conquering the Imposter

August 26th, 2015

Today I was a panelist on a webinar about technology in student affairs, and I think I did pretty well. But there are a series of thoughts that occur heading into a presentation such as this that make this both an enjoyable experience and some messed up form of presenting torture. It goes like this…

Crap. Why did I say I would do this again? I have no idea what I’m talking about. Why in the world are people asking me to talk about this?

(Reviewing questions) Okay, I think these are manageable. Hey, at least I can fake it while the other presenters provide good information, right?

Wait, they invited me – I didn’t bully my way into this. I must know something they want to hear about.

Yeah, right.

(Now in the presentation) Hey, I’m talking, and I sound really smart! Go me! This is going well – I really do know what I’m talking about and should totally consider myself an expert (or at least somewhat knowledgeable).

(After presentation) That wasn’t so bad – I can totally do this again.

(Before next presentation) Crap. Why did I say I would do this again?

The reality is that no matter how many times I present, no matter how many times I get up on a stage or in front of a room or even on a computer screen, there’s a good chance I’m going to have this same series of thoughts or a similar set. I know some people say you can conquer Imposter Syndrome, but I have yet to figure out how. At this stage in my life, I’m not sure I ever will.

But it’s sort-of like having a baby – you forget the pain of having one when you agree to have another. I also have come to know that no matter how hesitant I am about getting up there and presenting, I can do this. I can get up and share my expertise, teach the audience, share my story. I can present – and I can present well.

So even with that damn imposter nipping at my heels all the time, I’m able to stomp on her and shut her up long enough to get up and shine.