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Le club des imposteurs : Faire face
au manque de confiance en soi
dans le milieu académique.
Loïc Le Tiran @astroloic
IAG – Université de São Paulo
1er octobre 2014
Disclaimer
I am not a psychologist.
All this is documented, but
necessarily quite subjective.
Feel free to ask anything during the talk
Academia: a fulfilling life…
• Mastery
• Autonomy
• Purpose
About Mastery, Autonomy , Purpose:
See www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation
"We need to start recognizing that mental
health is not a matter of crazy vs. sane. It's a
matter of happy vs. unhappy, productive vs.
destructive, and no different than physical
well-being.“
from http://mahalonottrash.blogspot.com.br/2013/04/compilation-of-mental-health-posts.html
Why is this subject is important for ALL of us?
Why is confidence important?
To feel good about yourself.
To apply to a high-level position
To ask questions
To discuss
To go to (and enjoy!) conferences
It helps to avoid procrastination
Can lead to success, by helping
you to step out from your
comfort zone
At least a positive point?
Lack of confidence
Over-preparation
Professional
success?
At least a positive point?
Lack of confidence
Over-preparation
Professional
success?
Less time for the rest:
Family, friends,
hobbies, and other
aspects of work…
Let’s put a name on this.
The impostor phenomenon
Lack of confidence in academia
(also called impostor feelings
or often impostor syndrome)
Psychotherapy Theory, Research and Practice
Volume 15, #3, Fall 1978
Some (redundant) definitions
“An overwhelming sense of being a fraud, a
phony, of not being good enough for your job,
despite much evidence to the contrary”
“Believing that one’s accomplishments came about not
through genuine ability, but as a result of having been
lucky, having worked harder than others, and having
manipulated other people’s impressions.”
“A distorted, unrealistic, unsustainable
definition of competence”
I thought it was a fluke, It was the same
way when I walked on the campus at Yale. I
thought everybody would find out, and
they'd take the Oscar back. They'd come to
my house, knocking on the door, “Excuse
me, we meant to give that to someone
else. That was going to Meryl Streep.”
Why would anyone want
to see me again in a
movie? And I don't know
how to act anyway, so why
am I doing this?
I have written eleven books, but each time I
think, “uh oh, they’re going to find out now.
I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re
going to find me out.”
Feel like an impostor? Take the
Credits:
Do you chalk your success up to luck, timing, or
computer error?
Do you believe “If I can do it, anybody can”?
Do you agonize over even the smallest flaws in
your work?
Are you crushed by even constructive criticism,
seeing it as evidence of your “ineptness?”
When you do succeed, do you secretly feel like
you fooled them again?
Do you worry that it’s just a matter of time before
you’re “found out?”
How you explain a success:
Credits:
• “I got lucky”
• “I was in the right place at the
right time”
• “It’s because they like me”
• “If I can do it, anyone can”
• “They must let anybody in”
• “Someone made a mistake”
• “I had a lot of help”
• “They are just being nice”
• “They feel sorry for me”
How you explain a success:
Credits:
• “I got lucky”
• “I was in the right place at the
right time”
• “It’s because they like me”
• “If I can do it, anyone can”
• “They must let anybody in”
• “Someone made a mistake”
• “I had a lot of help”
• “They are just being nice”
• “They feel sorry for me”
Where are you?
Credits for this slide:
Prof. Meghan Grey
Credits for this slide:
Prof. Meghan Grey
How to be confident
“When I lack confidence, I stop lacking confidence and be awesome instead”.
Doesn’t work in real life (except for Barney Stinson*)
(*who is not a real life caracter, by the way)
How to be confident
Having someone shouting at you: “be confident!”
Seriously, Barney Stinson’s method is way better.
How to be confident
There is
no magic
potions,
but many
tips.
Toolbox: First Tip
Embrace your impostor!
&
Talk about it!
Toolbox: Second Tip
Own your achievements.
Make list of your achievements
(pride list, +linkedin, CV…)
Ask other people what you are good at.
(+Mentorship)
Learn to separate feelings from reality
Toolbox: Third Tip
Listen (really!) &
Watch your language!
Own your compliments:
Internalize external validation and
stop minimizing your achievements
Don’t diminish yourself!
“Only”, “Just”, “I’m not a real…”
Toolbox: Others tips
Teach!
“I don’t know” is a valid answer
Everyone has the right to make mistakes
Failure is an option
Happy folder
Down your armour
List your typical impostor situations
Fake it till you make it!
Values Affirmation
Toolbox: Power Posing
A last one… but sometimes crucial
Ask yourself:
“is it me or the organizational
structure is screwed up?”
For everyone, a general rule
Feel bad, sad, depressed, unhappy?
Whatever the reason, seek
counseling.
Conclusion
LEARN to enjoy your academic life NOW!
Please
“helpful”, “stupid”, “a total waste of my time”,
“best talk ever”, “I slept after slide 2”…
Please give me some feedback!
(even anonymously!)
[email protected]
Wanna discuss? Office C-312,
my door is always open,
at least metaphorically.
Questions/Discussion
Bibliography
Links, blogs, facebook groups, books,
games, ideas, papers.
Currently on:
http://goo.gl/ZvIs2x
Quelques mots sur AUDDAS ?
• Role central sur l evolution du doctorat (en astro)
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La question de l epanouissement : se sortir les doigts du cul.
Enjeux professionnels sont lies aux conditions de travail: si on se rend compte qu il
y a plein de choses formidables a faire dans sa vie apres un doctorat en astro, on
est moins paniques par la peur de ne pas avoir d’avenir
•
Mettre a la fin plutôt ?
•
+ slides frustration.
Who? / Where?
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Women
Minorities
First-generation professionals
…
Academia
Arts
CEOs
Gender/colour dominated environments (ex: women in
tech)
• …
“Brazilians don’t apply enough to
prestigious fellowships”
“Brazilians don’t apply enough to
prestigious fellowships”
Institutional?
Lack of confidence?
Why us? Why me?
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Parental education?
School?
Institution? (esp. isolation)
Colleagues/Manager?
The nature of our work?
Why is confidence important?
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Feeling good about yourself.
You put the bar always higher (better faster stronger). It is difficult and it leads to the feeling of failure.
Not applying for a post doc in a brilliant institution thinking “I am not good enough”
Not asking a question “I don’t know enough to ask a question”
Not sharing an interesting comment “my comment is not interesting enough”
Not going to a conference (you have not made enough progress yet)
Not publishing a paper (your work is not good enough)
Nervousness about talking to others in their field, especially if those others are perceived as highly
skilled/experienced
Lack of confidence can also be a competitive advantage: it pushes you try thing better because you feel you are
not up to the others. But you can’t let it cripple you!
Working too hard (over preparing) is good sometimes but bad for life balance...
Procrastination (can also take the form of somebody who is always reading litterature, and/or missing its real
work. esp staying in the comfort zone, the zone of no danger, no risk.)
success in any career often requires stepping outside your comfort zone, so it's important not to let your fear of
failure get in the way.
You may choose a lower level job because you think it will be easier for you to manage.
You take constructive criticism as condemnation:
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- When things go wrong, I automaticallky blame myself
- When I make amistake, I have a really hard time forgiving myself
- I often walk away from conversation obsessing over what I should have said, or failed ro say.
- I remember every dumb thing I ever did or said.
- I take constructive criticism personnaly, seeing it as a proof of my ineptness.
• Lack of confidence can also be a competitive
advantage: it pushes you try thing better
because you feel you are not up to the others.
But you can’t let it cripple you!
Tips: Own your achievements
•
Make list of things you [are/should/people consider you should be] proud of. Facts.
remind them to you. Discuss it with friends.
• - Learn to own your success. -1 Write down your different success, awards, things
that you succeeded in doing. Only the facts. -2 Aknoledge the fact that luck, charm
etc plays a role. They were here, but you took advantage of it.
• - ask other people what you are good at?
• find a mentor, a trusting friend, which can guide you, sometimes (constructively)
criticize, or recognize your successes. = feedback
-Keep track of your accomplishments (linkedin, CV…)
Ask people to recommend you on linkedin. Ask advice for things to put on your CV
from people that know you well.
• Separate feelings from reality. Remind yourself that feeling like an imposter is
different from being an imposter.
• Keep a written record of your accomplishments. Feel a sense of ownership for
them.
• Own your compliments and praises : say thank
you, not “let me explain why I don’t deserve this
compliment” Learn to internalize external
validation.- Stop minimizing your achievements.
When someone congratulates you, say “thank
you”, not “it wa sshitty right?”.
• watch your language. “Only”, “Just” are
diminishing! And you end up beleiving what you
are saying. “I am not a REAL xxxx”.
Others tips
• teach what you know (and what you don’t know~) : it
forces you to realize that you know things. + outreach
• Dare say you don’t know something.
• happy folder
• Make a list of the situations in which “imposter” feelings
are likely to strike. When you can warn yourself to expect
these feelings, they’re easier to recognize and deal with.
• Try to break frightening tasks into several parts. If possible,
start with the easiest part.
• - give a talk about the IS ?
Be supportive with the others
• -:
• + Talk, blog, share experience, esp if you are senior.
• + Correct the others when they misrepresent their
experience as less than it is.
• + linkedin recommendation
• + offer help the others (you know well) in writting their
CVs
• + Encourage others to accept opportunities and
challenges they are qualified for.
•

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