Back in the day when I was a newbie blogger with a good URL and an accidental audience, a friend offered a smart piece of advice. Quoting Kurt Vonnegut, he said, “Be careful who you pretend to be.”
Whenever I think I know something, and whenever I’m about to present myself as an expert on a topic such as human resources or marketing, I ask myself, “Is this true? Is this real? Or am I laying the infrastructure to support myself for when someone attacks me for being a fraud?”
Imposter syndrome. Right there. Plenty of psychologists will tell you that nothing good comes out of that line of thinking.
But imposters are everywhere. There are people who are ‘employment experts’ but haven’t worked in years. Men who openly swipe ideas from colleagues and pretend to be gurus and geniuses. Women who think of themselves as leaders but couldn’t lead a mischief of mice to cheese.
I don’t want to be one of those people.
But I live in America, which means that I know one truth: personal reinvention is possible and within reach for anybody who dares to dream. Do you want to be a career advisor? Go for it. Do you wish to be a marketing guru? With a compelling story and a semi-decent headshot, you can become a micro-celebrity in any niche community.
Everybody wears a mask. We are all imposters to some extent. And as long as you’re not a psychopath, I think it’s okay to pretend to be someone you’re not. In fact, I think it’s better to be someone you’re not. You are probably boring.
Just don’t be an imposter to yourself.