Professionals on Social Media: Avoiding Imposter Syndrome

Professionals on Social Media: Avoiding Imposter Syndrome
Dana Corriel, MD

Dana Corriel, MD

A board certified internal medicine physician who, mid-career, swapped stethoscope for computer screen, and has become a digital brand consultant. for individual health experts and businesses, alike.

Avoiding Imposter Syndrome.

Remember how I wrote an article about a week ago, asking professionals to ‘Just Do It’? Maybe you didn’t see it, but to sum up its point, get yourself out there, professionally, on Social Media.

Today’s topic, in contrast, will center around what to do once you’re actually inside the social media realm.

(BTW, if you’re interested in joining a FB group that brings together physicians looking for connections, networking and exposure, to others in the social media world, join Medicine Connect: Doctors on Social Media. If you’re a physician looking to network solely with other physicians, you can also check out Doctors on Social Media, its sister group.)

The Mantra.

I’m asking the following of everyone today: Just (Don’t) Do It.

I ask you not to because, once you contemplate a dive into social media, and especially once you’re IN it, you may find yourself experiencing imposter syndrome of the worst kind – the Social Media Imposter Syndrome.

Here’s a definition of imposter syndrome, to those unfamiliar with the term:

Imposter syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

If you’d like to read further on my own brush with the syndrome, and how I’ve tackled it for most of my life (how we all do), and how to view it as a positive and make it work for us, read Hi, I’m Your Doctor, and I’m a Recovering Imposter.

Social Media Imposter Syndrome.

I was inspired to think (and ultimately write) about this important topic at the unlikeliest of places – at the gym, while experiencing my own miniature version of this syndrome.

Here’s what happened:

Professionals on Social Media: Avoiding Imposter Syndrome
Other people, pictured taking on the aforementioned torture device.

At the gym where I work out, I took on a piece of equipment that can only conscientiously be referred to as a workout-torture-device. It was made of mobile stairs – like an escalator – that you (clearly a masochist to take it on) must continue to climb at a rapid pace. Some of you are nodding already, probably recollecting your own moments of pain on this torture machine.

Well, I can sit here and type falsities all day long – tell you the device was fabulous, and that I graciously climbed up and down in style. But I’d be lying.

In fact, I couldn’t help that my eyes wandered to the man right next to me, on the twin of my machine. He must have been at least a decade, and more realistically, two, older than me (not judging – as a medical professional, I can give a dissertation on deciphering age based on visual cues, but will spare you the details).

The man flawlessly performed. Immediately, I was struck by a gym-imposter syndrome of a sorts.

Re-Focusing.

But what I did next inspired me to create this post. I overcame this innocent temptation, to look at my neighbor’s seamless climb. I laughed to myself (as I typically do these days when confronted by evidence of my own aging) and glanced down at my own two feet. It was enlightening, as I focused suddenly on just how gorgeous my brand spankin’ new workout pants looked right below!

That’s where it hit me. Look at yourself, I said, in my head, of course.

As I marveled at the floral design of my workout pants, I began to feel pumped (it doesn’t take much these days, what can I say?). Low and behold, as my workout continued, and I continued focusing on my own two feet, I successfully complete a whopping (and don’t judge here)- 70 floors!

I was ‘floored’ (pun intended) by my achievement, to say the least.

And the best part of it all? Not having to compare that achievement with anyone else’s. It was my personal feat.

So naturally, right then and there, my blogger mind wandered into the everyday applicability of what transpired, and I created this here post. It was a perfect reflection of our (yes, you and I, now that many of us are sharing our struggles) journey through social media.

Professionals on Social Media: Avoiding Imposter Syndrome

Connection to the Real World Made.

It’s easy to get lost in a sea of voices out there.

But here’s the key to survival: you’ve got to find your own set of pants to focus on, and keep your gaze there.

It’s a fairly simple process. Do your thing. Write your stuff. Take your pictures. Post your gems.

If you love what you produce, keep on producing. When it comes to social media presence, if you’re happy, that’s what counts.

If you love what you produce, keep on producing. When it comes to #SoMe presence, if you're #happy, that's what counts. Click To Tweet

I’m not saying you shouldn’t tweak your steps along the way. You certainly can, and you should. The journey into social media is a complicated one, wrought with bumps and kinks, wrong turns and dead ends.

But if you believe in yourself – and please do – and keep your head held high (looking forward, not at the person next to you ), then you’ll more likely reach the goals you set out to accomplish (or at least redefine them along the way).

Allow Me to Put it More Bluntly.

It doesn’t have to be workout pants, by the way. I used the example metaphorically. Find something you do that you’re proud of – a product on your end that you consider beautiful – and focus on that.

The key here is that, if you believe in yourself, or with what you bring to the table, don’t compare yourself to others.

I promise you that this is the KEY to success in navigating through – and surviving – social media of the professional world.

So venture out there, and do the social media thing! Don’t succumb to Social Media Imposter Syndrome. Just (Don’t) Do It!

But do venture out there, and do your thing.


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