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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

Noreen Flana­gan Ed­i­tor-in-Chief Fol­low me on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram @noreen_flana­gan We love hear­ing from you! Please write to us at edi­tors@ el­le­canada. com.

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