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New Narratives About Impostor Syndrome In Popular Culture

Impostor syndrome is seemingly everywhere, with an explosion of attention via books, blogs, online and print articles, podcasts, television and radio interviews, and social media.

And with this popularity comes consequential shifts in the public conversation.

Currently there are two divergent narratives about impostor syndrome.

One frames it as a positive.

The other challenges the very concept itself while simultaneously blaming it on systemic bias in society as a whole or within organizations.

Both have gained considerable traction in popular culture, and both have potential consequences for future study on impostor syndrome and for efforts to address it.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes access to a lesson from our Rethinking Impostor Syndrome™ Licensed Associate training where Dr. Young shares her point of view on these new narratives.

For further reading on this topic and additional nuance related to racially and ethnically minoritized people, Dr. Kevin Cokley, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor and Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan shares his response to two of these narratives in this Harvard Business Review article:

It’s Time to Reconceptualize What “Imposter Syndrome” Means for People of Color

VALERIE YOUNG is a global thought leader on impostor syndrome and co-founder of Impostor Syndrome Institute. In 1983 she designed the first training intervention to impostor syndrome and has since delivered her Rethinking Impostor Syndrome™ program to over half a million people around the world at such diverse organizations as Pfizer, Google, JP Morgan, NASA, and the National Cancer Institute and at over 100 universities including Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and Oxford.

Valerie earned her doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she was the founding coordinator of the Social Justice Education program, a forerunner to today’s DE&I training. Although her early research focused on professional women—over half of whom were women of color—much of the original findings have proven applicable to anyone with impostor feelings. Her book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: And Men, Why Capable People Suffer from Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It has been reprinted in six languages.

Click here now to learn how you can bring Valerie in to speak at your organization.

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