From her extensive work in the field Valerie Young guesses that approximately 90% of PhD students experience imposter syndrome! In this episode she offers some reflections on why academic culture may feed that anxiety of being found out as a fraud; as well as offering some advice on how to shift your perspective.
Dr. Valerie Young is the author of the award-winning book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It. In addition to speaking at such diverse organizations as Google, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Facebook, Merck and NASA, Valerie has also spoken to students and faculty at over 100 universities in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and the UK including Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and Oxford. Her work has been cited in dozens of popular and business outlets around the world including BBC, Newsweek, Time, Science, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Valerie begins by reflecting on her own experience of graduate school – which included her discovering Clance and Imes’ work on The Imposter Phenomenon. You can find out more about that research here: https://www.paulineroseclance.com/impostor_phenomenon.html
In working with imposter syndrome, Valerie emphasizes the importance of identifying unconscious patterns that may lead to feelings of self-doubt. She explores how academic culture may feed those feelings – and tells a very funny story about smurfs while she is at it!
She reminds us that failure is part of everybody’s CV. The link to the Princeton Professor’s Failure CV is here: https://www.princeton.edu/~joha/Johannes_Haushofer_CV_of_Failures.pdf
(I love how he notes that so many more people have been interested in this document than in the one that details his successes!)
The interview ends with a wonderful reminder that our work is not just for us. That there are people out there waiting to benefit from our research and it is an act of service to share it with them.
You can find out more about Valerie’s work at https://impostorsyndrome.com/
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