Impostor Syndrome

Thursday, October 8, 2015

You show up to speak on a panel.

Your name is not included in the list of panelists. It's not even in the program.

The moderator shows up and asks you what you are going to be talking about. When you get over the shock of this and say that the topic is "impostor syndrome" and she blinks and then says she's never heard of it.

You think you might pass out. You also think that for showing up to talk publicly about feeling a fraud, this shit possibly writes itself.

You have prepared a bit, not a ton, because you know, the moderator. The moderator you were told was going to be leading the conversation. She is busy making a tent with a piece of paper that has your name on it and props it up on the table in front of you. There are way more people in the audience than you expected, and they are clapping for you, because it's time for you to lead the conversation.

This was not a dream. This was Friday.

But amazingly, it came together. It didn't hurt that I had Savannah Bearden on the stage with me to help keep the discussion flowing. As I was frantically scanning the printout article my mom had helpfully passed along, I zeroed in on the "cure" for impostor syndrome:

Group therapy. Boom.

I looked out at our audience and handed it over to them. We had a lovely, free flowing and extremely generous conversation about being a woman in the workplace, about missed opportunities, constant second guessing, and some honest confessions about our own misgivings. The potential train wreck gave way to something pretty spectacular.


So lessons learned: always say YES. Always prepare, even just a little. And when in count, always open with Amy Schumer.