The author describes feeling like an impostor when they were, by objective measure, behind their peers. People experiencing impostor syndrome, on the other hand, are by objective standards doing just fine, but still have strong feelings that they are a fraud.
It's an important distinction to me because the way you help people who are behind is different than the way you help people with impostor syndrome. Encouraging grit in those who are behind can be very helpful. But I don't think telling people with impostor syndrome to be tougher is a good idea; it just gives them another way to perceive themselves as not good enough.
If you were to ask me to describe my lot in life in my workplace it'd probably sound like your first bit - I'd describe myself as being the one holding things up, slow to understand, having the least amount of domain knowledge, etc. Yet, I know this isn't true, based on objective measures of the feedback I receive (even beyond verbal accolades) I know I'm doing better than "just fine". I have to work pretty hard to not picture myself as the worst person in the room at work, even though I know that's not the case.
But even if they were "behind," that wouldn't make them impostors who didn't deserve to be there.
How is this different from thinking endlessly about a problem until we arrive at a solution?
Like I said, this is completely anecdotal. But I read that Richard Hamming had the same thing to say about it, kind of,
Now again, emotional commitment is not enough. It is a necessary condition apparently. And I think I can tell you the reason why. Everybody who has studied creativity is driven finally to saying, ``creativity comes out of your subconscious.'' Somehow, suddenly, there it is. It just appears. Well, we know very little about the subconscious; but one thing you are pretty well aware of is that your dreams also come out of your subconscious. And you're aware your dreams are, to a fair extent, a reworking of the experiences of the day. If you are deeply immersed and committed to a topic, day after day after day, your subconscious has nothing to do but work on your problem. And so you wake up one morning, or on some afternoon, and there's the answer. For those who don't get committed to their current problem, the subconscious goofs off on other things and doesn't produce the big result. So the way to manage yourself is that when you have a real important problem you don't let anything else get the center of your attention - you keep your thoughts on the problem. Keep your subconscious starved so it has to work on your problem, so you can sleep peacefully and get the answer in the morning, free.
Why do you begin with the assumption that you aren't gifted? Does 'gifted' imply innate talent?
Now, I'd be really worried if I got that wrong my whole life so far...
Logging off now. Later folks.
*unempathetic in the scientific sense; of not being able to fully comprehend how and why a person is thinking and feeling the way they do.
Also, it is probably more important to tell people that personality is malleable and can change - this seems to be one of the root causes of resiliency (C. Dweck et al., 2014).
I've always had impostor syndrome in my professional life regardless of management. Even in situations where there's a pretty constant stream of affirmation it's hard to completely get rid of that feeling.
I'll agree that in workplaces where the management mood is more dour that it didn't help at all, but it was never the root cause of it.