Have you ever felt like an imposter?” I asked my husband. My question was met with silence. “A what?” he responded somewhat hesitantly. “It’s when you’re in a position where you feel completely under-qualified and you’re waiting for someone to call your bluff.” Silence. “Sorry, but I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking,” he replied. “Actually, that is the answer I was after,” I said. “Really? Glad to help,” he muttered before returning to the morning paper. Ask a woman that question and she’ll likely laugh—provided she’s not in the middle of her own imposter crisis—and then recount the number of times in her life she had “duped” someone into believing she could do something. Or, in my case, be something. My most memorable full-blown imposter moment happened the first day of journalism school at Langara College in Vancouver. Our professor asked us to introduce ourselves and share any experiences that would be helpful to us as future reporters. With a growing sense of panic, I listened to my fellow classmates talk about their degrees in political science, business and English. They all seemed destined to be foreign correspondents, yet I felt I was destined to return to my previous gig, which was nursing. At least I knew what I was doing when I showed up for a shift at Vancouver General Hospital. When it was my turn to speak, I mumbled that I had a science degree and I had worked as a nurse. Did I think to mention that, as a nurse, I had spent countless hours interviewing people, getting their stories, quickly tracking down information about their conditions and then presenting objective observations and ideas to my co-workers? No. Were these relevant experiences that would have set me apart from my peers? Definitely. But that’s what happens when you feel like you’re a poser. Your sense of inadequacy trumps all evidence to the contrary. Although that happened many years ago, I have felt like a fraud countless times since then. In fact, I wanted to title my very first editor’s note “The Accidental Editor” because it seemed incongruous to me that I was in this role. (It still does, on some days.) I know I’m not alone. According to journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, women are—more than ever—experiencing an acute crisis in confidence. In their new book, The Confidence Code, they explore the reasons behind this entrenched gender confidence gap. Turn to page 164 for Olivia Stren’s thoughtful exploration of what social, political and biological triggers are behind “imposterism” and what women can do to overcome it. Based on their research, Kay and Shipman offer this one salient tip: “When in doubt, act!” That’s a mantra we can all live by.
Our fashion closet had a major makeover. Check it out on page 70. Meanwhile, here’s a little eye candy: Michael Kors, Céline and
Danier with Mulberry and Saint Laurent on the side. #BAGENVY