Smart people are rich and famous. They win Nobel Prizes and Genius Grants. They’re high achievers and arrogant. They don’t waste time on the little people. Right?
Well, OK. I guess that some smart people are all of the above. Or parts of the above. Maybe your Uncle Charlie. But how many are, say, none of the above? And if you are one of the none of the above, do you believe that you just aren’t all that smart? Do you think that you’ve fooled everyone only because you happen to be witty every once in a while, and people are so darned gullible? Do you believe that you’re really an impostor? In fact, most days you’re a total failure for now and all eternity?
But: What is success, anyway? What makes a successful life? Is it some grand achievement? What is achievement? Some people refer to “greatness.” What exactly is that anyway?
Oh boy. I think I’m getting in way over my head with all of these questions. This is a blog. A little itty bitty blog. Not a dissertation.
Speaking of dissertation, I never did get that PhD. Did I mention that I took Argentine tango lessons instead? Does that mean that I’m a total failure for now and all eternity?
(Note: Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m not really using myself as an example. After all, I’m barely g-g-gifted. But it’s just so convenient. So hang in there with me.)
(Another note: Yes, I do realize the irony in the fact that I’m writing about giftedness and impostor issues and I’m telling you that I’m not really really gifted when it comes right down to it. My qualifications come from years of teaching gifted kids in schools and now counseling gifted adults. I’m really good at it. But I can’t explain why. And stop looking at me like that.)
Back to the tango.
What if success and achievement have to do with something other than college degrees and how many rockets you’ve fired into space? I mean those things are nice but what if your compassion is an achievement? What if finding your authentic voice or stopping the cycle of abuse in your family qualifies as success? What if parenting sweet, loving, empathetic humans counts as greatness?
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t win a Nobel Prize or shoot rockets into space. That’s OK, too. What I’m saying is that I want you to use that rainforest mind of yours in a way that has meaning for you and for others, maybe even for the planet.
And I want you to rethink what success really is. Maybe you already have it. And consider that if you feel like an impostor it’s not because you are one. It’s because you aren’t one.
To my blogEEs: How do you define success? What are your experiences with impostor syndrome? Share your thoughts, feelings, questions and insights. Please. Your comments are meaningful to everyone who reads this blog.