Imposter syndrome

I haven’t been sleeping well this week.

Bilbo the moxie has decided – for some unknown and totally infuriating reason – that he is scared of sleeping in the laundry after months of quite happily heading there of his own accord each night.

His whining woke me at 3.30am on Wednesday morning. Then I couldn’t get back to sleep because my hip was hurting. I started worrying about my hip, which led to worry about EVERYTHING and the rest of the night was screwed.

Worry is a bit of a thing in our family. When the youngest started kindy she was bitten so hard by another child that she had a full set of his teeth marks in her arm for hours. Unfortunately, there had been a couple of other stressful situations in the previous month – a bluebottle sting and a choking incident at yum cha. The three traumas led her to develop agoraphobia and other scary issues and she spent months in therapy.

I don’t know what happened during those sessions with the psychologist as my husband was the primary carer at that time, but the end result was amazing: she completely recovered.

One thing I do know about the sessions was that they involved externalising her fears into a creature called “Mr Worry”. During her final session, the psychologist explored a sand garden with my daughter and asked where Mr Worry was. My daughter said he was gone.

More than a decade later, I still get a bit teary when I write those words. We are so incredibly lucky that we had the means and determination to get her the help she needed.

It would probably be beneficial if I could externalise all my fears into Mr Worry, rather than letting them swirl around in my brain like a washing machine on the spin cycle.

Something called “Imposter Syndrome” has been popping up in my LinkedIn feed a lot lately. When I finally gave up on sleeping at 5.30am yesterday morning, I Googled it.

Shadé Zahrai, a career coach for professional women, told Yahoo this week: “If you’re constantly feeling a lack of confidence about your abilities, doubting yourself, feeling like you don’t deserve your job, then you’re likely suffering from imposter syndrome.”

If you swap “job” for “life” then it totally applies to how I feel at 3.30am when I can’t sleep.

Singer Billie Eilish recently weighed in on the struggles she faced ahead of the release of her new album, Happier Than Ever. She told Vevo: “I always felt under pressure and anxious and felt like I wasn’t doing enough, right, or doing a good job. Or this isn’t good enough. I felt like I wasn’t very talented at the time, and I actually feel much more confident in my craft now. And I feel that I’ve worked really hard on that.”

Not that I’m comparing myself to Billie Eilish, but it’s interesting to hear that really talent people also doubt themselves sometimes.

The University of Queensland Business School lecturer in leadership Dr Terry Fitzsimmons, who I sat beside at a function a few years ago – such a lovely bloke – told the Herald Sun earlier this week that the pandemic and the subsequent shift to working from home has made the issue worse.

“Impostor syndrome thrives on the unknown and without that basis of comparison, being isolated and not knowing what the future holds will only make that worse,” he said.

Maybe that’s why it’s bugging me so much. I was very gloomy about yesterday’s announcement of another four weeks in lockdown for Sydney.

Peta Sigley, chief knowledge officer of resilience program provider Springfox, said the solution is working on self awareness and not avoiding new opportunities because of the fear that comes into play.

I reckon it’s time for new opportunities. When interviewers ask why I’m looking for a new, full-time role, I tell them I’m missing being part of a team. I was just drinking the Kool Aid at first, but I’m actually feeling it keenly now.

It’s such a buzz to brainstorm and bounce ideas off other people.

While I love being at home and doing my own thing, I think it might be time for more workplace interaction and less pestering by Charlie the moodle to shoot the Nerf ball gun 500 times a day.

A leap into the great unknown!

Oh, and Wednesday got off to a weary but beautiful start, when I looked out the window and saw this sunrise:


Plus …

Lockdown lunch: Tomato and Pesto Squares

2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted

Fresh pesto (I cheated and bought a tub from Harris Farm)

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced

Salt to taste

METHOD: Preheat oven to 180C. Cut each pastry sheet into 9 squares. Spread each square with a teaspoon or so of pesto. Top with a little salt and bake until pastry is golden.

PS I took two Nurofen and a Benadryl and slept really well last night.

Song of the day: Billie Eilish “You should see me in a crown”

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