AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Jul/15

18

Liz Zadnik on Faking it ‘till We’re Making It

Happy Saturday everyone!  Liz Zadnik here to start the weekend off with a recent struggle of mine as a practitioner and evaluation enthusiast.

For a few years now I have been honored to be conferred with and asked to speak on evaluation within the anti-sexual violence movement.  I also have had the chance to help curate this blog and communicate with all of you, the blog’s brilliant readership.  I have worked with talented and experienced evaluators who have described me as “a collaborator” and “coauthor.”

Truth be told though, I quietly wait for someone come along and finally say, “Hey!  You don’t belong here!”

I heard of “Imposter Syndrome” a years ago;  I didn’t want it to resonate quite as much as it did.  For folks unfamiliar, Imposter Syndrome is the individual belief that accomplishments, jobs, and/or reputation are not due to intellectual ability or skill, but to luck.  While it doesn’t discriminate, it does tend to impact women professionals more than their male peers.

‘Luck, Error and Charm’, Hannah Kent at TEDxLittleLonsdaleStWomen, 1 December 2012 from Emily Hehir on Vimeo.

Hannah Kent’s TEDxLittleLonsdaleStWomen talk sounds like my own.  Her experience sounded like mine; professional achievements and academic honors, but still questioning whether or not she earned them.  The successful women she mentions tend to attribute their honors, accomplishments, reputation “to luck, to being in the right place at the right time, to factors other than ability.  They live in fear that eventually some significant person will discover that they are, indeed, intellectual impostors.”

Lesson Learned: It’s OK to not know it all.  Learning something new is fun and exciting and keeps work interesting!  I try to tell myself, How will I ever get better/stronger/more confident if I don’t try something new or ask questions?  I have come to see my hesitations and second-guessing as anchors, keeping me in the same place so they can always be right.  Learning new things and connecting with more knowledgeable and experienced evaluators is the only way I can move forward.

Hot Tip: Find your power position.  For me, it’s standing with my feet hip-distance apart with my hands clapped in front of my chest.  I feel like I am honoring myself and everyone else in the room.  It also helps me become present and remember I deserve the respect of the people in the room, just as they deserve mine.  I am hear to share and learn.

Have you ever felt like a fraud or imposter?  What are some of the ways you help yourself get back to the present?

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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