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60

min

In this episode of our podcast, we look at imposter syndrome, that feeling that we don’t deserve our achievements. First, students discuss questions on the topic and then listen to a podcast in two parts and do comprehension tasks. They move on to do production tasks, including a role-play between a therapist and a patient, and discuss what they have listened to.

by Edward Alden


Note: This worksheet is for educational and entertaining purposes. The information contained in it does not replace professional psychological advice.

podcast_imposter_syndrome_be.mp3

Transcript

00 : 00 00:00
Part: -1-
Angus: Hello, and welcome to Angus and Helen's podcast. I’m Angus…
Helen: … and I’m Helen.
Angus: Helen, have you ever felt you don’t deserve the things you have or that you don’t deserve to be where you are?
Helen: Uh, just all the time! I remember when I got this job at the podcast. I was so happy, but at the same time, I was so afraid they would realise they had made a mistake and that I wasn’t the right person for the job.
Angus: Yes, I remember feeling that way when I got into uni. I was really happy but at the back of my mind, I was telling myself that others deserved the place more than me. It turns out this is an extremely common feeling, and it’s called the imposter syndrome.
Helen: It’s good to know I’m not alone then.
Angus: Not at all. Many very famous and accomplished people have experienced imposter syndrome, including Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama, Serena Williams and even Albert Einstein!
Helen: Wow, how can they be at the top of their jobs and still feel that way?
Angus: That’s the thing: imposter syndrome can affect any of us. It doesn’t relate to any gender, age, race or profession. The first psychologist to study imposter syndrome was Dr Pauline Clance. She worked as a therapist with university students and found that many of them, like me, felt they didn’t deserve their place at university, and some even thought there had been a computer mistake.
Helen: So where does this feeling come from then?
Angus: Well, let’s start with where it does not come from. Psychologists believe it isn’t related to self-esteem or anxiety, as many think. It seems to come mainly from something psychologists call ‘pluralistic ignorance’: the fact that we doubt ourselves secretly, but believe we are alone in doing so. We don’t realise others are going through the exact same thing.
Helen: And what effects can imposter syndrome have?
Angus: Well, apart from making people feel anxious about being found out, it stops them from sharing ideas or applying to jobs or courses they would do really well in.
Helen: What can we do about it then?
Angus: That depends on what type of imposter syndrome you have.
Helen: There are different types?
Angus: Yes, five of them, according to Dr Valerie Young, an expert on the topic. Let’s have a look at each one.
Helen: Yes, please. I’d really like to know which one’s mine.
Angus: OK. First, we have the perfectionist. These people set really high goals for themselves, and when they don’t meet them, they feel they don’t deserve their job for example. If you’re in this group, you need to accept that mistakes are expected and they make you a better professional and person. Nobody can be perfect 100% of the time.
Helen: That certainly rings a bell, but let me hear the others first.
Part: -2-
Angus: Right, next we have the Superman or Superwoman. These people feel they are not as good as their colleagues, so they work extra hard to make up for that. So they stay later at the office and feel stressed when they’re not working. Lots of people are workaholics because of imposter syndrome.
Helen: So what can we do about that?
Angus: The supermen and women out there need constant positive feedback from colleagues and managers. So they should try to become less dependent on the opinion of others and decide themselves how good their work is.
Helen: I see. What’s the next type?
Angus: The natural genius. They feel like they need to have a natural ability to do something, so they get very upset when they don’t manage to do it well in their first try. Often these people grew up hearing they were ‘the smart one’, so they also have very high expectations of themselves. The main thing for this type is to see yourself as a work in progress. They need to realise that becoming truly good at anything requires time and effort.
Helen: No, that’s definitely not me. Go on.
Angus: We also have the soloist. That’s a person who feels they should do everything on their own because asking for help would be the same as saying they have failed. Soloists need to understand that asking for help when you can’t do something is perfectly normal, and the results you achieve when you work together are often better than when working alone.
Helen: Very true. And the last one?
Angus: That’s the expert. Experts measure their value based on how much they know about a subject and feel that they will never know enough about something. What psychologists suggest for this type is to practise what is called just-in-time learning: this means to learn just what you need when you need it, instead of trying to get more and more knowledge on a topic just to feel more comfortable.
Helen: That makes sense. Yeah, so it would seem that, of those five types, I fit within the first one more. The perfectionist.
Angus: I think I’m more of a soloist myself. But the main point is that, whatever type of imposter syndrome you have, possibly the best way to deal with it is talking about it. Many people suffering from imposter syndrome are afraid that if they talk about it with someone, their fears will be confirmed and people will find out they are indeed an imposter. But once you are aware that it is a very common feeling that many people around you experience, it’s much easier to deal with your own imposter syndrome.
Helen: I for sure feel much better after this podcast! Now, shall we talk about next week’s topic?
Angus: Yes! What have you got for us?
Helen: Next week, we’ll be looking at critical thinking. In the digital era, this skill is more important than ever, so we’ll look at ways to sharpen it, as well as different factors that affect it.
Angus: Sounds really interesting. See you next week, everyone.
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60

min

In this episode of our podcast, we look at imposter syndrome, that feeling that we don’t deserve our achievements. First, students discuss questions on the topic and then listen to a podcast in two parts and do comprehension tasks. They move on to do production tasks, including a role-play between a therapist and a patient, and discuss what they have listened to.

by Edward Alden


Note: This worksheet is for educational and entertaining purposes. The information contained in it does not replace professional psychological advice.

podcast_imposter_syndrome_ae.mp3

Transcript

00 : 00 00:00
Part: -1-
Jacob: Hello, and welcome to Jacob and Lorin's podcast. I’m Jacob…
Lorin: … and I’m Lorin.
Jacob: Lorin, have you ever felt you don’t deserve the things you have or that you don’t deserve to be where you are?
Lorin: Uh, just all the time! I remember when I got this job at the podcast. I was so happy, but at the same time, I was so afraid they would realize they had made a mistake and that I wasn’t the right person for the job.
Jacob: Yes, I remember feeling that way when I got into college. I was really happy, but, at the back of my mind, I was telling myself that others deserved the place more than me. It turns out this is an extremely common feeling, and it’s called the imposter syndrome.
Lorin: It’s good to know I’m not alone then.
Jacob: Not at all. Many very famous and accomplished people have experienced imposter syndrome, including Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama, Serena Williams and even Albert Einstein!
Lorin: Wow, how can they be at the top of their jobs and still feel that way?
Jacob: That’s the thing: imposter syndrome can affect any of us. It doesn’t relate to any gender, age, race or profession. The first psychologist to study imposter syndrome was Dr. Pauline Clance. She worked as a therapist with university students and found that many of them, like me, felt they didn’t deserve their place at university, and some even thought there had been a computer mistake.
Lorin: So where does this feeling come from then?
Jacob: Well, let’s start with where it does not come from. Psychologists believe it isn’t related to self-esteem or anxiety, as many think. It seems to come mainly from something psychologists call ‘pluralistic ignorance’: the fact that we doubt ourselves secretly, but believe we are alone in doing so. We don’t realize others are going through the exact same thing.
Lorin: And what effects can imposter syndrome have?
Jacob: Well, apart from making people feel anxious about being found out, it stops them from sharing ideas or applying to jobs or courses they would do really well in.
Lorin: What can we do about it then?
Jacob: That depends on what type of imposter syndrome you have.
Lorin: There are different types?
Jacob: Yes, five of them, according to Dr. Valerie Young, an expert on the topic. Let’s have a look at each one.
Lorin: Yes, please. I’d really like to know which one’s mine.
Jacob: OK. First, we have the perfectionist. These people set really high goals for themselves, and when they don’t meet them, they feel they don’t deserve their job for example. If you’re in this group, you need to accept that mistakes are expected and they make you a better professional and person. Nobody can be perfect 100% of the time.
Lorin: That certainly rings a bell, but let me hear the others first.
Part: -2-
Jacob: Right, next we have the Superman or Superwoman. These people feel they are not as good as their colleagues, so they work extra hard to make up for that. So they stay later at the office and feel stressed when they’re not working. Lots of people are workaholics because of imposter syndrome.
Lorin: So what can we do about that?
Jacob: The supermen and women out there need constant positive feedback from colleagues and managers. So they should try to become less dependent on the opinion of others and decide themselves how good their work is.
Lorin: I see. What’s the next type?
Jacob: The natural genius. They feel like they need to have a natural ability to do something, so they get very upset when they don’t manage to do it well in their first try. Often these people grew up hearing they were ‘the smart one’, so they also have very high expectations of themselves. The main thing for this type is to see yourself as a work in progress. They need to realize that becoming truly good at anything requires time and effort.
Lorin: No, that’s definitely not me. Go on.
Jacob: We also have the soloist. That’s a person who feels they should do everything on their own because asking for help would be the same as saying they have failed. Soloists need to understand that asking for help when you can’t do something is perfectly normal, and the results you achieve when you work together are often better than when working alone.
Lorin: Very true. And the last one?
Jacob: That’s the expert. Experts measure their value based on how much they know about a subject and feel that they will never know enough about something. What psychologists suggest for this type is to practice what is called just-in-time learning: this means to learn just what you need when you need it, instead of trying to get more and more knowledge on a topic just to feel more comfortable.
Lorin: That makes sense. Yeah, so it would seem that, of those five types, I fit within the first one more. The perfectionist.
Jacob: I think I’m more of a soloist myself. But the main point is that, whatever type of imposter syndrome you have, possibly the best way to deal with it is talking about it. Many people suffering from imposter syndrome are afraid that if they talk about it with someone, their fears will be confirmed and people will find out they are indeed an imposter. But once you are aware that it is a very common feeling that many people around you experience, it’s much easier to deal with your own imposter syndrome.
Lorin: I for sure feel much better after this podcast! Now, shall we talk about next week’s topic?
Jacob: Yes! What have you got for us?
Lorin: Next week, we’ll be looking at critical thinking. In the digital era, this skill is more important than ever, so we’ll look at ways to sharpen it, as well as different factors that affect it.
Jacob: Sounds really interesting. See you next week, everyone.
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