There’s an annoying voice inside your head whispering that you don’t deserve to be successful, that even though you might be appreciated you’re still a fraud. But the good news is that most people hear it one time or another. Even really famous people.
The voice has a name and it’s the impostor syndrome. It’s the persistent feeling that you are not as intelligent or pretty or skilled as your achievements might suggest. If people do appreciate your work is just because they don’t know any better.
Nobody is immune to this nuisance, but women and members of minority groups are more likely to feel that they don’t deserve what they have accomplished. Are you praised for your intellect? Surely it’s just because you’re nice and people don’t want to upset you.
As I said, not even famous people are immune to this. Here are 3 incredible talented and accomplished actresses that confessed confronting this feeling.
Natalie Portman, on being a Harvard student (Harvard Commencement, 2015)
“So I have to admit that today, even 12 years after graduation, I’m still insecure about my own worthiness. I have to remind myself today: You are here for a reason.
Today, I feel much like I did when I came to Harvard Yard as a freshman in 1999 … I felt like there has been some mistake — that I wasn’t smart enough to be in this company and that every time I opened my mouth I would have to prove I wasn’t just a dumb actress.
Sometimes your insecurities and your inexperience may lead you to embrace other people’s expectations, standards, or values, but you can harness that inexperience to carve out your own path — one that is free of the burden of knowing how things are supposed to be, a path that is defined by its own particular set of reasons.”
Penélope Cruz (CBS, 2009)
“Every time I’m making a movie, I feel like it’s my first movie. Every time I have the same fear that I’m going to be fired. And I’m not joking. Every movie, the first week, I always feel that they could fire me!”
Tina Fey (The Independent, 2010)
“Ah, the impostor syndrome!? The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania, and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh god, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’
So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud. Seriously, I’ve just realized that almost everyone is a fraud, so I try not to feel too bad about it.”