LOS ANGELES – Roger Ericson – aka, Willy Pearson, Malcolm Goldstein, and Teddy McDonald – is a young professional who’s achieved a great deal in his short career. Despite his success, Roger, like many young go getters, suffers from Imposter Syndrome, a condition in which the victim feels they are incompetent frauds who will eventually be found out. Since Roger is a con man who makes a living pretending to be someone he is not, his experience of Imposter Syndrome is particularly acute.
“I mean in a way, I know I’m good at my job. I must be, right? After all I’ve been the chief surgeon at this hospital for six months now, and I’ve never been to medical school. The Ponzi scheme that pays for my place in Malibu has been zipping along for a couple years now, and my charitable organizations keep winning awards.”
That being said, Roger has his doubts. He tried to give a little insight into his thought process.
”I still feel like it could just be luck, like I really don’t know what I’m doing. I really do feel like a fraud. Not just because I run scams for a living. I totally feel like a fraud deep down in my psyche and stuff. It really tears me up inside.”
Even though lying, cheating, and stealing came easily to him from a young age, Roger often felt that other people in his industry who toiled methodically for years at their craft, were the real deal. “Sure I was surrounded by losers like my dad who would get busted by the cops or always talk about some big score they were setting up and never follow through. All that effort was honest though. I’d convinced half the kids in school to give me their lunch money, but I swear they were just being nice to me. That nonsense coming out of my mouth couldn’t have tricked anyone.”
Therapists have developed many practical coping exercises for sufferers of imposter syndrome. Chief among them are a couple of hard truths that apply to the vast majority of the population.
“Look,” said clinical psychiatrist Natalie Anderson, “the reason you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing is probably because you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s okay! No one does, really. Once you realize everyone is clueless, you’ll stop having ridiculous standards. Secondly, fake it until you make is just common sense and perfectly natural. I’m living proof that if you do it consistently enough, you’ll eventually believe whatever bs you’re putting out there. Believe me, the world around you will appreciate it. After all, you can’t con a con.”