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Living the call: Q&A with Sent 2018 attendees the call: Q&A with Sent 2018 attendeesContributed by Travis Duerksen<p>​<span style="color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;background-color:transparent;">NEWTON, Kansas (Mennonite Mission Network) – </span><span style="color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;background-color:transparent;">Pastors, church planters, and people from all over the country gathered in Chicago May 4-6 for the Sent 2018 peace church conference to worship and share how God is moving in their churches and communities. I caught up with two attendees to talk about their experiences. Hendy Stevan is the pastor of Bethany Elshaddai Creative Community Church, a Franconia Mennonite Conference congregation founded in 2002 in New York City, and Eric King works with TiLT [Taos Initiative for Life Together] in Taos, New Mexico, which is described on TiLT's website as a "Mennonite-inspired social change movement."</span></p><p> </p><p>Hendy Stevan, Bethany Elshaddai Creative Community</p><p><strong><em>What brought you to New York City?</em></strong></p><p><strong>Hendy:</strong> I was working with a church in Bandung, Indonesia, and my senior pastor asked me if I would be willing to help with an Indonesian congregation church in New York City. I was excited, and my wife and I prayed about it, and we had this confirmation that God wanted us to go.</p><p>It took my wife and me three years to move to New York City, because my visa got rejected twice, but I had a calling that God wanted me to be a blessing for New York City; God wanted me to be a blessing for people in the United States. </p><p>Even though it took us three years, I still felt the calling from God to become a blessing, and to preach the gospel out of my comfort zone. We arrived in New York two years ago and we started to help give the church a new energy, and especially start reaching out to the second generation, the young adults and youth in the church.</p><p><strong><em>What role do you see your church playing in the local community?</em></strong><em> </em></p><p><strong>Hendy:</strong> Our church is mostly older people who are first-generation immigrants from Indonesia, so in the future I want this church to become a blessing for the city, open up the barriers of the immigrant church, and start to become more multicultural. We've started to have preaching in English, as well as some of the worship songs. Most of the second generation that attends don't really understand if you speak Indonesian, and we don't want to lose the second generation. </p><p><strong><em>Could you explain more about the experience of becoming a multicultural church?</em></strong></p><p><strong>Hendy:</strong> It's a challenge, of course, but also an opportunity because I learned how to work with older people. We're different generations. I'm a millennial and they are mostly boomers … if we are not careful, we can create conflict. But if we just sit together and really talk about our fears, our backgrounds, I think the rock and the river can work together. The transition can be a little bit tricky, but God wants me to learn how to love, how to serve, and how to teach. I think that is the point that I'm working on with this congregation, is to love, serve, and to teach.</p><p> </p><p>Eric King, TiLT [Taos Initiative for Life Together]</p><p><strong><em>How did you get involved with TiLT?</em></strong></p><p><strong>Eric:</strong> Todd Wynward is the director and founder of TiLT, and he's written a book called <em>Rewilding the Way</em>, which I had read, and it was pretty compelling. It talks about affluenza in the United States, the addiction to consumption, and how destructive that is, and how it results in injustice. He came and spoke in Harrisonburg, where I was living, so that's how I knew about the opportunity. I was interested in moving [to New Mexico] for a few reasons, one was to try to integrate my personal living with my work life and to develop the values that I resonate with personally. Also, for the spiritual experience and hoping to gain some professional development out of it as well, through managing the [TiLT] site and being a creative force. It's the adventure of the Southwest. Desert life. </p><p><strong><em>How would you sum up what role TiLT plays in the Taos, New Mexico, community?</em></strong></p><p><strong>Eric:</strong> TiLT is seeking to be a multifaceted entity. We're primarily an urban agricultural site. "Bioregional resiliency" is a phrase we use often, which means that we're trying to grow what our region can grow when it can grow it, and move away from the industrial food system that is so destructive to the land and to its people. </p><p>We're also engaged in community organizing, especially in the area of racial reconciliation, as Taos is a hotspot for cultural diversity. We've got the indigenous population, the Latino population, and the White population. There's both tension and potential in Taos. So the question is how do we bridge those cultural gaps, and make Taos a stronger community as a whole by utilizing that diversity? A lot of what we're ultimately trying to do is to follow Jesus as people who are trying to restore the land, and honor and dignify other human beings. The gospel embodied. We're a very young organization, so it's a bit messy at times, but how else do you do it?<br></p><p><br></p><p>For more information about Sent, visit <a href=""></a>.<br></p>
Advice to my younger me to my younger meBy Carmen Hoober<p>​<span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">In my lifetime, I have been the recipient of all kinds of advice – good and bad, solicited and unsolicited, helpful and hurtful, and some that was just downright strange (the English professor who was convinced I should work for the FBI comes to mind). </span></p><p>Even the Bible has something to say about why we should value advice: "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors, there is safety." (Proverbs 11:14)</p><p>Sometimes the problem is not so much that there's a dearth of advice, but rather whose advice do you listen to? After all, lots of people are probably willing to give their opinion on how you should live your life and what choices you should make, and that's all well and good, and yet at the end of the day, <strong>you</strong> are the one who has to live <strong>your</strong> life. </p><p>However, there is ONE kind of advice I always pay attention to and oftentimes solicit – the advice people would give their younger<em> </em>selves. Framed this way, you are more likely to hear something that has <em>meaning </em>– if not for your own practical use, then certainly as a way to widen and inform your understanding of the human experience. </p><p>The concept of giving advice to your younger self is fascinating to me. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to hop into a time machine, travel back to pivotal moments in your life, tap your younger self on the shoulder, and say things like, "Go sit next to that girl in the back row; she could use a friend," or "You will forever regret it if you do not speak up right now," and "Do not eat the fish tacos. DO NOT EAT THE FISH TACOS!!!" (Valentine's Day 2014). Alas, time machines haven't been invented yet (<a href="">or have they?</a>), which is why, sadly, the smell of salmon continues to make me nauseous. </p><p>As many of you are transitioning out of MVS, I thought it might be fun to leave you with some advice from those of us at the MissionNetwork/Mennonite Church USA offices. Remember: This is not prescriptive for you and your life necessarily; it is simply advice we would give our younger selves. And to those of you moving on, Godspeed my friends! It's been a pleasure getting to know you. Stay in touch!</p><p> </p><p><strong>Advice to my younger self:</strong></p><p>Anything you see was made by somebody or made possible by somebody. That somebody could be you. You have the ability to do whatever you want, but once you start down a career path, it's much harder to change direction. Make every effort to learn everything and explore every possibility.</p><p>Develop good references while you're in high school and college. When you apply for jobs, the one thing that can make the difference is knowing the right people, be it a good reference, or somebody in the company you're applying at. </p><p>Be professional, well organized, and free from distractions during a job interview. I've seen this make the difference between people who got a job and people who didn't. </p><p>Everyone you meet has something worthwhile they can teach you. </p><p>Buy as much Bitcoin as you can. Pour every single cent you have into buying Bitcoin while it's at 35 cents apiece, and hold it until November 2017.</p><p>The winning numbers for the Aug. 23, 2017, lottery is 6-7-16-23-26, Powerball 4. Take a lump sum and invest it.</p><p>The Cubs win the World Series in 2016 in seven games, in extra innings, after a rain delay. I know it sounds unbelievable. By the way, they'll be playing Cleveland, so get ready for some heartbreak. Get your bet in now.</p><p>-Matt Lehman Wiens, MMN outgoing director of Donor Relations</p><p> </p><p>If I could give advice to my younger me, I would say not to worry so much about controlling the future. Since graduating from college, I have dealt with anxiety. I have learned that anxiety comes from wanting to control future outcomes. Something I have learned the hard way is that I do NOT have superhuman powers to do that. We will make mistakes, we might not get the jobs we interview for, or get into the graduate schools we wanted to, or end up living in the geographical location of our dreams … but, regardless, we get through those things and survive. I would have NEVER imagined that I would end up being the director of a voluntary service program. If things would have turned out "my way" in a lot of cases, I would not be where I am today. Control what you can, but also try to just enjoy the ride! Things happen for a reason ... don't dwell on the "why." It might be revealed to you in ways you never imagined! </p><p>-Lizzy Diaz, MVS Manhattan alum 2015, director, Mennonite Voluntary Service</p><p> </p><p>"When choosing between being right and being kind, choose kind." What job you end up with, what career path you follow, what type of work you eventually do, is not what matters. The relationships you build along the way will be the lifeboat that helps you survive the next few decades. </p><p>-Linda Krueger, HR coordinator and MVS alum, Americus, Georgia (with EMBMC) 1980-1983</p><p><br></p><p>One bit of advice I received years ago was: Never pass up the opportunity to look into/interview for different positions even if you are happy with what you are doing. You might find your dream job when you least expect it.</p><p>-Scott Hartman, director of Event Planning, Mennonite Church USA</p><p><br></p><p>I would tell my younger self to not be as concerned with what job I want to do (like figuring out my dream job) and building a "successful career" as I am with what kind of person I want to be. Because, first of all, what truly defines a successful life is who you are, not what you do! Second, it's nearly impossible to know exactly what you will want to do for the rest of your life when you are in your 20s. In fact, many of the great jobs out there are not included on any career lists (like my job, for example!), so it just takes time and life experience to find them. What I have found is that as you try out different jobs/tasks, you discover what things you are really good at and what things are energizing/life-giving for you – and that might even change over time. Rather than thinking about where you want to be at the end of your work career, just focus on the very next step. </p><p>-Tonia Martin, MVS alum (San Antonio 1995-1996) and Program Human Resources care coordinator</p><p><br></p><p>I think I had a lot of negative self-talk as a young adult, thinking I wasn't smart enough, talented enough, qualified enough to aim high. I often set the bar low for myself and took the path of least resistance. I have begun challenging myself more now since my late 30s and 40s, and am pleased with the results. I don't always reach the higher bar, but it isn't because I didn't give my best effort. I would advise my younger self to not settle for mediocre when a little more effort or confidence would make a difference. <br></p><p>-Sharon Norton, Personnel counselor/Journey International program director </p><p> </p><p>Pursue what interests and excites you more than what you've been told makes a "sensible" career choice. High earning potential is no substitute for high satisfaction, a sense of fulfillment, and joy in what you do.</p><p>-Mike Sherrill, director for Asia and Middle East</p><p><br></p><p>Soon after getting married, I learned that you can figure out what your spouse expects on their birthday by observing what they do for you on your birthday. Communicating with coworkers is often like that, and they will communicate their expectations by how they communicate with you. Often, I get reminded that what works for me may not work for others. Everyone has their preference, and figuring out your own preferences will help. Teammates who like the same style as you are easy to communicate with. Working with others is where it can get tricky. At times, you have to negotiate with a coworker on how to effectively communicate back and forth, and both of you adapt.<br></p><p>In work situations where there is a conflict and you have a personal stake in things, ask a third party to step in. They can see things without emotion or bias, and their counsel is easier for others to hear. Emotionally charged situations are best navigated by people who have no personal stake in the matter.</p><p>-Ken Regier, director of Program Human Resources</p><p><br></p><p>The fear of failure and rejection is actually worse than failing and being rejected. With every choice you make there will be tradeoffs; you can't avoid risk, so you might as well get comfortable with it. (Also, I wasn't kidding about those fish tacos.)<br></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"> </span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">-Carmen Hoober, Personnel counselor, Program </span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">Human Resources</span></p><p><br></p>
The "nitty gritty" of Anabaptism "nitty gritty" of AnabaptismBy Peter Wigginton<p>​<span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">While I have been giving presentations and workshops on Anabaptism I have started to realize how little I really knew growing up.  People would always ask, "Who are the Mennonites?" Or "How are Mennonites any different from other Christian groups?" I wouldn't say much more than we are pacifists and we also do this thing called foot washing.  That really didn't help explain much. People would usually just take the answer in stride… probably still wondering.</span></p><p>But as I have delved more into the nitty gritty of philosophies and doctrine, I have come up with some fascinating stories and information.  I am much more in touch with what Anabaptism really means. I have defended and explained in detail many of these ideas and values.  I have also tried to explain ideas surrounding pacifism and nationalism, in a context that is vastly different from a European or North American context. I have been blessed with numerous discussions contrasting and comparing indigenous ideas (that come from the historic Andean Cosmo-vision in many cases) to Anabaptist practices, customs and frameworks.</p><p>So far, the example of "Jesus Being the Center of our Faith" is the easiest point to get across and people tend to latch on to that idea and run with it.  The concept of interpreting the scripture in community has also been embraced by many of the churches here. In the Latin American context, I have had to explain more about the idea of Jesus' authority in a context of government, but otherwise, people really love this basic value.</p><p>One example of how indigenous thought and way of living melds perfectly with Anabaptist values is when it comes to community.  The second value that "Community is the Center of our Lives" lines up with these indigenous ways of life. The community concept is readily accepted by indigenous churches, but the mestizo and North American churches could take a lesson from the example of indigenous churches who have community and truly live in community.</p><p>The Quito Mennonite church has also been acting on the idea of organizing the church in small groups and have also taken this to heart by forming a pastoral team. They have not had a salaried pastor for a year, but rather are trusting the pastoral team and are setting up new commissions to support the team in leading the congregation.</p><p>The Indigenous and mainline Ecuadorian context, as far as the third value "Reconciliation is the Center of our Work" or pacifism goes, is a bit more complicated.  Generally speaking, Ecuador has been a nation at peace, relatively, for many, many years, and the idea of pacifism, as a value, doesn't seem to resonate.  But there is a nationalistic ideal (as I mentioned before), so people don't really see military service as a tool of war, but rather as a place where boys become men. This is similar to many other Latin American nations, with the exception of Colombia, which has experienced civil war for half a century.  Indigenous culture doesn't seem to have much of an idea of pacifism either, unless you take into account being at peace with nature, which is extremely important for them.</p><p>The idea of reconciling brothers and sisters in the church is also very powerful and is important in the different Ecuadorian communities, especially since this hasn't been something very intentional in other Evangelical church settings here in general in Latin America.</p><p>Taking all this into account, people seem to be able to grab hold of the concept that we should be ambassadors of peace and that this should be our message to carry forward to all nations of the world, reconciling each other and reconciling new believers through Christ.<br></p><p><br></p><p>Read more from Peter and Delicia on their <a href="">blog</a>.<br></p>
Voice of youth helps life-seasoned couple find new meaning through service of youth helps life-seasoned couple find new meaning through serviceBy Sondra Tolle<p> </p><p>​I, a Bethel College-educated woman, speak from a place of many kinds of privilege, including White privilege. I received the blessings of being born to a hard-working Kansas farm family with Christian values. I experienced family as people who take care of each other. My Mennonite community will never stop loving and showing grace and mercy to this middle-aged couple who have grown children successfully launched into their own real-life journeys. My voice of privilege comes from being allowed to work in the United States, where I can spend money, save money, and share money. </p><p>My husband, Bob, and I decided to share money and time with Mennonite Mission Network’s Service Adventure program. Our commitment to a three-year term was inspired by a former mentee from Eden Mennonite Church in Moundridge, Kansas. She was serving in Anchorage, Alaska, with Service Adventure, and knew I was struggling with meaningful employment. She said this would be a good fit for us. God spoke through the voice of youth and opened my heart to see life through her perspective. I am grateful for this gift, and pray that Bob and I may use it wisely to help others seek the Lord. </p><p>We are also grateful for the intergenerational relationships that have been formed through the holy experience of faith formation and community living. During the past three years, we have had the opportunity to grow deeper in our own faith as we walked beside 14 young people for 10 months of their life journeys. </p><p>The spirit of joy is a common thread woven through each of the three units we walked alongside. The fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control ... against such things there is no law.” The fruits of the Spirit reciprocated from the Service Adventure participants have been experienced in a lovely way. </p><p>We cherish the memories of shared tears and laughter – and continue to share them, as we remain in communication with the Service Adventure participants who have moved on to the next steps to which God is calling them. And so, too, it is for this middle-aged couple to continue the next faithful step. Our lives have been forever transformed by our Service Adventure experiences. Though we are formally leaving unit life, we will remain in Albuquerque to be used by God in whatever way we are called.<br></p>
Part 2: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome 2: Overcoming Imposter SyndromeBy Carmen Hoober<p></p><p>Last month I talked about my own struggle with <a href="/blog/Overcoming-the-Impostor-Syndrome" target="_blank">Impostor Syndrome </a>– the roots of which I can trace back to my childhood. To recap: The Impostor Syndrome is a collection of feelings of inadequacy and fraudulence that keep us from internalizing our successes; it is chronic self-doubt despite evidence to the contrary. It is often the domain of high achievers – a term that accurately describes many MVSers.</p><p>In her <a href="" target="_blank">incredibly helpful book</a>, leading expert on Impostor Syndrome, Valerie Young, identifies several coping and protective mechanisms that “keep you safe from harm by avoiding the shame and humiliation of being unmasked, as well as to relieve some of the stress that comes from feeling like a fraud.”</p><p>From a career standpoint, this can look like:</p><ul><li>Burnout from working ridiculous hours/overproducing in order to meet an inner expectation of perfection.</li><li>An endless cycle of obtaining (a lot of times unnecessary) training, credentials, or degrees (because you must know EVERYTHING about a subject before you can consider yourself competent).</li><li>Flying under the radar: not raising a hand in a meeting, not volunteering for a committee, not sharing an idea for fear people will realize that you are actually quite stupid.</li><li>Turning down a promotion because you don’t think you’re ready. (It turns out there is a fine line between natural humility and paralyzing fear.)</li><li>Not applying for a position you really want because your experience does not EXACTLY line up with the job listing requirements.</li><li>Switching jobs/career paths all the time – if you’re constantly on the move, no one will find out you are a Fakey McFakerson.</li><li>Using your sense of humor, charm, and perceptiveness to deflect attention away from the areas you feel vulnerable and fraudulent.</li><li>Waiting until the last minute to make a deadline. (Procrastination provides a built-in excuse because you probably didn’t give your best effort.)</li><li>Not negotiating for a higher salary. According to Joyce Roche, "The concern that some flaw or lack will be highlighted if you push too hard can cause those with Impostor Syndrome to settle for 'good enough' rather than pushing for what is achievable."</li><li>Stopping just short of completion on a degree or project (keeps you from detection, possible criticism, and provides the excuse of being “in progress”).</li><li>Self-sabotage (e.g., no-call-no-show for interviews, not preparing for the big presentation, and even substance abuse) helps to preserve the ambiguity of success or failure.</li></ul><p> </p><p>Looking over everything I just wrote, it occurs to me that living this way is just exhausting. And you know what is the worst part of the Impostor Syndrome? It steals the joy we could receive by using our God-given gifts. I love the quote from Eric Liddell, on whose life the movie <em>Chariots of Fire</em> was based: <strong>“God made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.”</strong> When we let the Impostor Syndrome win, we are not doing what we were created to do, and we deprive ourselves of feeling God’s pleasure.</p><p>I appreciate Valerie Young’s <a href="" target="_blank">message</a>, that by learning to recognize and change your thought patterns, you might still have Impostor <em>Moments</em>, but you won’t have an Impostor <em>Life</em>. Here are some things that have been helpful to me and might be helpful to you.</p><p><strong>1. Cultivate awareness.</strong> For me, the first step to loosening the grip of the Impostor Syndrome is calling it by name. There is SO MUCH being written about Impostor Syndrome these days – check out the resources I’ve linked, or do a simple Google search. As I think back on my life experiences, it can be painful to think about all the ways I have limited myself, but it’s also liberating to realize that it’s never too late to show up to your life. It is incredibly rewarding and well worth your time to figure out what’s holding you back and experiment with ways to manage it.</p><p> <strong>2. Call yourself out.</strong> Now that I am beginning to recognize my own behavior, the more quickly I’m able to SHUT IT DOWN. After submitting last month’s column, I received an e-mail with some really nice feedback. I noticed how much trouble I had <em>literally reading the words on the screen</em>. Catching my inner Impostor in such a fashion was a funny/sad kind of moment, but I made myself rewind and read it again.</p><p> <strong>3. “Act as if.”</strong> The people who don’t suffer from Impostor Syndrome are often times no more knowledgeable or better than we are; they just think different thoughts. From the world of sports psychology, I’ve learned that a little role playing can make a huge difference. When my son smashes the baseball in practice but struggles at the plate in games, one technique is to encourage him to pretend he’s an actor who has been hired to portray his favorite hitter (Kris Bryant). How does Kris Bryant stand in the batter’s box? What kind of facial expressions does he make? What does he do between pitches? How does he react when he strikes out? When he hits a home run? (Kind of like WWJD, but for jocks.) </p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">In other words, “Fake it ’til you make it.” While it might be a little counter-intuitive, this is one of the best ways to combat Impostor Syndrome because research shows that </span><em style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;">confident actions precede confident feelings</em><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">. Observe people who seem confident in the areas you are struggling, and get an idea of how they speak, behave, and position themselves in situations you would find daunting. Over time, “acting as if” you are that person can actually change the wiring of your brain.</span></p><p> <strong>4. Keep a file of your successes. </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Make a file on your computer</a>, take a screen shot on your phone, or create a physical location where you can collect your “wins.” Complimentary e-mails, positive performance evaluations, transcripts, certificates, recommendation letters … all of these things are easy to forget when we were determined not to acknowledge them in the first place. This might feel awkward at first, but it’s a necessary discipline for some of us. Folks suffering from the Impostor Syndrome have an acute inability to internalize positive feedback about themselves.</p><p> <strong>5. Do it for someone else. </strong>If there is one thing I can think of that always motivates me to push that Imposter aside and get out of my own way is when I wake up to the need in the world around me and use what I have been given on behalf of other people. <em>To</em> <em>serve</em>, basically. </p><p>I love that scene in the BEST MOVIE EVER MADE (Wonder Woman, obviously) where <a href="" style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;font-style:inherit;">Diana storms No Man's Land</a><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">. I am just going to stop right here while you go watch this clip. Seriously. Waiting, waiting, waiting … are you back? Great. Gosh, I am not a crier, but that scene makes me weep at the sheer magnitude of awesomeness she embodies. I think we should all be forced to watch this every morning before we get out of bed. You know why? Because I am someone’s Diana Prince. You are someone’s Diana Prince. Eh, maybe not so much with the metal bustier, but you get my point.</span></p><p> </p><p>As people of faith, we know that God has given us gifts, skills and abilities to build up the body of Christ. We are called, anointed, and equipped with the power of the Holy Spirit working through us to do “great exploits” (Daniel 11:32). <strong>If God gave you these gifts, who are you <em>not </em>to use them?</strong> Stop hiding out and playing small. And, yes, I’m totally channeling my inner <a href="">Marianne Williamson</a> here, but for good reason. Look around! This world is going to hell in a handbasket and we kind of need y’all to show up. Metal bustiers optional.</p><p></p><br><br>
Dream the Impostor-able Dream: Overcoming the Impostor Syndrome the Impostor-able Dream: Overcoming the Impostor SyndromeBy Carmen Hoober<h2 style="text-align:left;">The impostor syndrome—part 1</h2><p>Once upon a time (1980-something), in a land far, far away (Greentown, Indiana), an 8-year-old girl (me) was pulled out of her class in school and told she was going to be moved to another class where she would be "challenged." She walked down the hall to the new classroom with four other students who had been told the same thing. The kids walking down the hall looked at each other with a mixture of apprehension and pride. No one said it out loud, but they all realized it: They were the smart kids. </p><p>In the new classroom, things seemed to go well, but after a few months, the girl noticed something. She wasn't in the highest-level reading group at first, and she wasn't able to do the multiplication flash cards as fast as the other "smart kids." So … the girl wondered … maybe … she really wasn't that smart after all???  </p><p>The years flew by and she continued to be identified as one of the "smart kids," but in the back of her mind, she knew—it was only a matter of time until everyone else learned that she had them fooled. She wasn't that smart; she was just coasting by on a few lucky successes and a nice personality. But she made peace with herself through the years, and even occasionally allowed herself to feel good about her accomplishments. At critical junctures in her life, however, the same old doubts would creep to the surface—reminding her time and again that despite any evidence to the contrary, she really wasn't that intelligent or competent or worthy, and someday, Everyone. Would. Find. Out.</p><p>___________________<br></p><p>This experience is one I identify as the root of something I deal with to this very day. I never had a name for it until about a year ago when I stumbled onto a <a href="">podcast</a> about the <a href="">Impostor Syndrome</a> (more accurately known as the Impostor Phenomenon or Impostor Experience). Discovering that this is an actual "thing" has been incredibly freeing for me - and so I bring this topic to you here because, left unchecked, it can and will hold you back in your career.</p><p>Does any of this sound familiar? Take <a href="">this quiz</a> to see if the Impostor Syndrome is impacting you. </p><p><strong>Q: What is the Impostor Syndrome?</strong></p><p><strong>A:</strong> According to Wikipedia, the Imposter Syndrome is:  </p><p>A psychological pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often <a href="">internalized</a> fear of being exposed as a "fraud." The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more <a href="">intelligent</a> and competent than they believe themselves to be. </p><p>People with Impostor Syndrome are really good at deflecting praise, minimizing accomplishments, and explaining away successes. Because (take your pick) anyone could have done it! I was just in the right place at the right time! People just like me … I'm actually not that smart! This has so many negative consequences, but perhaps the worst one is that, eventually, other people will begin to <em>believe</em> you. </p><p><strong>Q. What </strong><strong><em>isn't </em></strong><strong>the Impostor Syndrome?</strong></p><p><strong>A. </strong>The Impostor Syndrome is not just a lack of self-esteem or self-confidence. In fact, it's really not a "syndrome" at all. More, it's a collection of feelings of inadequacy or fraudulence that persist despite evidence to the contrary. A certain degree of self-doubt is a positive thing - especially when you are learning something new. </p><p><a href="">Maureen Zappala</a> writes: "The Impostor is not the person who says, 'I don't think I can do this.' It's the person who says, 'I'm not sure I'm doing this correctly now,' while they are actually doing it. And then looks behind and says, 'It wasn't all that great. I didn't really do a great job. In fact, it wasn't really me who did it.'" </p><p><strong>Q: Who has the Impostor Syndrome? </strong></p><p><strong>A: </strong>Basically, everyone. But it does (in my opinion) hold some people back more than others. Researchers believe up to 70 percent of the population experiences the Impostor Syndrome at some point in their lives. Originally, it was thought that women were mainly the ones who suffer from the Impostor Syndrome, but studies now show that men experience it at the same rate. Here are some groups commonly identified as being particularly affected by the Impostor Syndrome: </p><ul><li>High achievers. </li><li>Academics.</li><li>Tech workers.</li><li>Writers, actors, and creative types.</li><li>Minorities, women, and those who represent their entire social group in areas where they are not typically present.</li></ul><p><br></p><p>Anecdotally, at least, I would add MVSers and your fellow millennials to this list. I don't put much stock in participation trophy rhetoric, but anxiety about "adulting" is a recurring theme in the folks I talk with in my role as a personnel counselor. There seems to be a perception out there that <em>real</em> adults have reached some elusive level of maturity and thereby have received all the knowledge. Here's the truth: To a certain degree, we're all pretending. Times I feel like I'm masquerading as an adult include: completing a W-2 form, praying in front of a group, walking through an airport, flossing, lecturing my kids about swearing, anytime I'm trying to act "professional," etc. </p><p>So, I am learning not to despair. Lots of amazing people have dealt with this! And you know, me, Albert Einstein … Maya Angelou … basically the same thing, right?</p><p><img src="" alt="" style="margin:5px;" /><br><strong></strong></p><p><strong><img src="" alt="" style="margin:5px;" /><br></strong></p><p><strong><br></strong></p><p><strong>Coming next month: Strategies to overcome and manage the Imposter Syndrome.</strong></p><p><br></p>



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