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Home > Note from Tonya: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

Note from Tonya: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

by | Apr 28, 2023

Who am I? Have you ever found yourself stopping to ask yourself this question? What am I here for; what am I supposed to be doing on this earth-and CAN I even do it?

Imposter Syndrome is not a new discussion. In fact, it dates to the late 1970’s, and yet of course, is still very relevant today.  We most often hear it discussed in professional networks and focused on careers. The questions and feelings involved are related to individual skills and qualifications. Am I really qualified to do this? Soon, someone will discover that I am not good enough to be in this role…the anxiety and self-doubt can make you second guess every decision you make.

I challenge us all to consider the possibility that we can also experience Imposter Syndrome in our personal lives-anxiety, self-doubt, and the thoughts and feelings telling us that “we can’t do this” for one reason or another. The narratives we tell ourselves can be big fat lies!

April was Volunteer Appreciation Month. If you are on social media, we hope that you saw the many incredible volunteers that the ALS Association featured! They are doing incredible work with determination and passion-fueled by Purpose. Reading their stories reminded me of ways that both me and my family could continue to volunteer-how we could use our gifts to give back. We all have unique gifts and regardless of our situations, we can find ways in which to use them. We CHOOSE to find ways in which to use them. We make time, and a way for what is truly important to us.

If you have ever joined us in one of our Stress Less on Purpose! events, you have heard me share inspiration and quotes from Dr. Viktor Frankl. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr. Frankl shares the notion that everyday choice is at the center of the human experience:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

When Imposter Syndrome strikes, and the negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves and/or our life situation are pushing us around and trying to call the shots, what can we do differently and what reinforcements can we bring in to help fight the battle?

First, our bodies and minds are incredible things. When either one is not happy, it tells us. When what we are thinking, feeling, and doing are not in alignment-our bodies tell us. Noticing and listening to these signals are key to minimizing stress and ridding ourselves of the feelings associated with Imposter Syndrome. Self-awareness.

Build your support network. Who are your accountability partners-your personal sounding board? These are the people that you can talk to and share your true feelings with, and they will not only support your dreams, but they will challenge you when self-doubt creeps in. They can help hold you accountable to goals you have shared and encourage and motivate you along the way.

Check in with yourself regularly. What CAN I do today? What GIFTS am I not using? How WILL I make a difference today? In what way(s) CAN I volunteer my time, my talent, my perspective-to help at least one other person?

What are your unique gifts and how are you using them now, or how do you plan to start using them?

Email your stories to -I would love to hear them!

-Tonya Hitschmann- Managing Director, Care Services

How ALS Patients Can Help

Once you’ve been diagnosed with ALS, it’s easy to feel like you just don’t have many options, but there are ways you can make a difference.

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