#117 – Her Popularity Comes With A Price

The term impostor phenomenon is used to designate an internal experience of intellectual phonies, which appears to be particularly prevalent and intense among a select sample of high achieving women. Certain early family dynamics and later introjection of societal sex-role stereotyping appear to contribute significantly to the development of the impostor phenomenon. Despite outstanding academic and professional accomplishments, women who experience the imposter phenomenon persists in believing that they are really not bright and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise. Numerous achievements, which one might expect to provide ample object evidence of superior intellectual functioning, do not appear to affect the impostor belief. Four factors, which contribute to the maintenance of impostor feelings over time, are explored. Therapeutic approaches found to be effective in helping women change the impostor self-concept are described.

reads the abstract of “The Impostor Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention” – a paper written by Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes from Georgia State University.

I was always fascinated by the term Impostor since the day I read an article about how even some of the great role model figures like Sheryl Sandberg, Emma Watson and Kate Winslet suffer from this syndrome. Popularity for women always comes with a price. And sometimes it takes toll on her self image and the scars last for a lifetime if not treated with proper care.

Impostor Syndrome is one such behavior. In their paper Pauline and Suzanne have gone to the depths of how this behavior arises and is prevalent among women. It’s not that Impostor syndrome is associated with specific gender. It is found both in men and women but it lasts longer in women as compared to men. The main reason for this being the stereotyping of women in our society.

It sometimes starts right from within the family when parents start being indifferent to their kids. When parents label one of the siblings as “bright, intelligent, creative” and the other as “sensitive, fragile, calm” kids presume those attributes to be true and act accordingly. Usually when a girl is always compared to her brother and told that she is a girl, so she has to be sensitive, compassionate, kind, and she is not good enough to pick a fight with boys, instead of empowering her, parents unknowingly are pushing her into becoming one impostor.

Ask how? The girl who has been now labelled as weak and fragile will continue to fight against that mental image painted by her parents. Each day she tries to break the glass cieling and fast forward this nature for another 10 years, you would get a perfectly crafted imposter syndrome stricken woman. A woman who would always doubt her abilities and always thinks “Maybe I just got lucky that my entrepreneurial debut is making a six digit income” , “Maybe the jury was being very considerate in nominating my name for the best business woman of the year”.

Added to all this, I have seen a lot of workplaces where if a woman has achieved something a man could never achieve all they would do is “Why not… after all she has got a beautiful face, boobs and pussy… she can get things done”. I might sound very lewd and disgusting for some. But the reality doesn’t change. In 2011, the Institute of Leadership and Management surveyed managers about how confident they felt in their professions – and half of the female respondents reported self-doubt in their jobs, compared to less than a third of men. It’s not that these women were inefficient or not qualified enough to take up their roles. It’s the constant fear of falling into the dilemma of whether to accept that she is fit for the role or to dismiss the entire fact and say “Hey it was just by fluke”. Either ways, she is not going to have mental peace until she accepts that she is as good as any other person in that role.

People should always remember that feminine charms are not everything in this world. A woman can be pretty and yet be dumb. These kind of women often drop off in the middle of their career in pursuit of love – marriage and – baby carriage. Taking these kind of women as an example you cannot target every other woman walking on the road as “She has boobs and pussy so she get’s things done”.

There are hundreds and thousands of women who are paying price for being smart, for being successful, for being pretty + badass, for being intelligent + creative, for being gutsy + sensitive and most importantly just because she is a woman. . They suffer silently throughout their teens proving their abilities to their parents, relatives and society. Once they get into their work places, they suffer even more because the stakes are really high. And how many more people are they going to prove if they become CEO’s of MNC’s , CIO/CTO’s of large tech firms (which is largely filled with male workers) , professors of reputed universities. The self doubt increases until there comes a point when each significant achievement they accomplish seems like “Ok. Maybe I wasn’t worth it. What’s next to achieve so that I can justify I really deserve this”. The loop doesn’t end. It goes on and on until it takes a toll on their self esteem and damages a part of their personality forever.

Here are some tips from famous super achievers among women who are dealing with impostor syndrome on a regular basis:

Sheryl Sandberg:

“Every time I was called on in class, I was sure that I was about to embarrass myself. Every time I took a test, I was sure that it had gone badly. And every time I didn’t embarrass myself — or even excelled — I believed that I had fooled everyone yet again. One day soon, the jig would be up … This phenomenon of capable people being plagued by self-doubt has a name — the impostor syndrome. Both men and women are susceptible to the impostor syndrome, but women tend to experience it more intensely and be more limited by it.” —Lean In, March 2013

Emma Watson

“It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going, Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved. I can’t possibly live up to what everyone thinks I am and what everyone’s expectations of me are. It’s weird — sometimes [success] can be incredibly validating, but sometimes it can be incredibly unnerving and throw your balance off a bit, because you’re trying to reconcile how you feel about yourself with how the rest of the world perceives you.” —Rookie, May 2013

Natalie Portman

On being a Harvard student: “So I have to admit that today, even 12 years after graduation, I’m still insecure about my own worthiness. I have to remind myself today, You are here for a reason. Today, I feel much like I did when I came to Harvard Yard as a freshman in 1999 … I felt like there had been some mistake — that I wasn’t smart enough to be in this company and that every time I opened my mouth I would have to prove I wasn’t just a dumb actress. … Sometimes your insecurities and your inexperience may lead you to embrace other people’s expectations, standards, or values, but you can harness that inexperience to carve out your own path — one that is free of the burden of knowing how things are supposed to be, a path that is defined by its own particular set of reasons.” —Harvard Commencement 2015, May 2015

Kate Winslet

“What people really think of me is something I remain blissfully unaware of most of the time. I love acting and all I ever try to do is my best. But even now I always dread those emotional scenes. I’m there thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m rubbish and everyone is going to see it. They’ve cast the wrong person.’ But I have come to realize that those nerves are all part of the process for me.” —The Mirror, June 2013

So the next time you hate a woman for being bossy and super successful, please remember the journey and the mental fight that she must have fought in order to feel super confident about her own abilities. Her popularity comes with a huge price. Respect the journey and hard-work of each individual irrespective of a woman or man. Before you judge others make sure you are “picture perfect”.

Quote Courtesy: http://ow.ly/1Wku30fU0jL


365/12 – To Know The Unknown. Is It Really Worth It?

This is your life
If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.

My answer would definitely be NO.

Because, of the many lessons I learnt off late, the most important one was to

Be patient and learn to go with the flow of life.

In a way, it is definitely the best way to live life. There exists no man in this world, who being aware of his future was able to change few things which were bound to happen in his life. In that case, what is the point in knowing the Unknown. It will definitely add more pain to you.

The best scenario for this statement would be like this:

You get your life-history book. You read it cover to cover only to discover that, 90% of your life shall be spent in chapters of sadness. Now what? Can you change the order of those events? No. Can you go into the future and stop the person from not leaving you? No. You cannot change the order of nature. What needs to happen, shall happen no matter what.

Nothing is in our hands. In that case, what’s the point in knowing the uncertainty. Uncertainty is definitely an uncomfortable position but certainty is an absurd one. I am a huge believer of Gita. The following quotes pretty much explains why one should never ever be bothered about the sequence of events happening in his life. Its hard to practice but ultimately we all know, that is the truth of life.

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365/11 – Anything at Cream Stone

Vanilla, chocolate, or something else entirely?

There is this new store called Cream Stone in HSR Layout Bangalore. Last year, I happened to visit this ice cream parlor and to my amaze…. The way the ice cream is served totally blew me up. The mighty cones, the menu, their hospitality and most importantly their wide variety of options under Chocolate Concepts are a real treat to any ice cream lover.


Coming back to the prompt, I would always prefer a flavor which has 99.99% chocolate and the rest I don’t mind what they add to it….

(Menu Courtesy: Zomato)

365/10- The Most Scariest Thing To Do In This World

You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.

She was walking down the alley hurriedly when she heard someone calling her name from the dark. She turned back slowly to see the caller. To her horror, he was the Kerberos of her life…. guarding every move of hers since the time she came there.

She so wanted to get out of that place, but her legs were frozen. A masked man, came and dragged her back. She knew what was waiting her once she entered the darkness.


Lisa was awake now. The thunderous applause in the room had made her come out of her dreamland. The speaker had just now finished giving his speech and now it was her turn. Lisa was never much of an extrovert. She had spent all her life, hiding her nose behind the thick books and never came out in public. Her last memory of public speaking was in 4th Grade when she terribly failed to memorise a small psalm from Bible and broke down infront of the whole class. Since then, she had never stepped the dias. The backstage was her favorite.

But, Warren, her best friend, nominated her to the Public Speaking Club in her college 2 months back where she started slowly opening up. Her fears were embraced by the patient teachers and like minded friends. She learnt that, speaking infront of the crowd is scarier than death but it is very simple. And as she thought about all those countless sessions of her mentors tuning her into making her one of the best speakers in her University… she took one step towards the dias. Lisa was now going to deliver her very first TedX Speech.

She could feel the butterflies in her stomach, the anxiety, panic and all those quotes which pulled her down… But she overcame all of them, with just one quote in her mind




There she went, right to the middle of the stage and delivered her speech. At the end of 15th minute, all she could hear was the hooting and non stop applause of people. She felt as if she had won the Oscars. Tears rolled her cheeks as she made her way to the backstage. All the moments when her friends used to bully her and the pain resurfaced in the form of tears. That day she decided to put an end to it. She thanked her friend Warren for making her come out of her comfort zone and thanked her mentors for making the shy kid become such a successful speaker.


The above short fictional story was inspired by Amy Cuddy’s TED Video.

365/9 – This food definitely works wonders during depression

Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?

I feel like that everytime when I see an ice cream parlor near me. The moment I see an ice cream parlor, i feel I am depressed and I need to eat Ice Creams now. The feeling of helplessness/ not being in control are all just reasons to grab that big tub of Chocolate Ice Cream, because sometimes all you have to do is….

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