Self-Reflection on Imposter Syndrome

Originally posted on PhD Balance social media platforms on 05/24/2020.


“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” ― Michael Jordan


Picture taken at a basketball game from a height. There is a large crowd and people standing on the court at half-time.

Research and basketball are often quite similar, in that you win some and you lose some. There’s not a scientist on this earth who hasn’t had negative results after planning executing an important experiment. There are scientists whose publications have been rejected by journals, been denied fellowships, and who have bombed presentations. The multitude of what we consider failures listed above are also some of the biggest contributors to our own imposter syndrome when they occur.


Like basketball, the key here is to go back to the drawing board, sometimes alter plays (e.g. experiments), and then try again. In the midst of trying again, sometimes we must have a self-talk, which involves self-reflection. By definition, self-reflection is meditation or intense thought about one’s thoughts, actions, and character. Self-reflection can be one of our greatest tools in combating the woes of imposter syndrome. It is this mere action, that will remind us of our personal greatness when imposter syndrome is knocking at our door.


Check out the final May module on dealing with Imposter Syndrome in Academia! All of this month's content is available to everyone!

Sign up to our Stronger Together section here to take part in this week's module: Self-Reflection.