Reading takes you places

Climb the mountain, clear the highest pass,

Or maybe you want a trip to steppes full of grass?

You be an emperor or the pope

Or perhaps be someone who has lost all hope.

Visit all the great cities of the world

See things that you never thought possible

Is this about a magic carpet I am talking about?

Nah, all this from the pages of a book

A good book is your best you guide

Takes you places you’d never thought go worldwide!

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Monsoon Magic

The monsoon season in Mumbai used to be my favourite because of unscheduled holidays from school and college! But seriously, who can’t love the smell of the fresh earth after a downpour and the feeling of everything looking clean and green? Here’s my ode to the rains….

It’s Raining!

I wake up to the sounds of the rain,

Crashing  and howling against the window pane,

The rain is pouring down, looking like a curtain of water,

Looking more like a sheet, an impenetrable banner.

I look down at the road, see the snaking line of cars

All caught up  in a massive jam, looking like twinkling stars

People rushing  to get to work, to school,

With umbrellas and raincoats, looking all so cool

I do wish people stop a while and enjoy the rain,

Stop a while, smell the grass and not complain.

The rains are a time for newness and renewal

For a little pause in your life, before it turns a full cycle.

Poetry: Problems

You think you’ve sorted it out,

You think it’s in the bag,

But when you least expect it

Another one shows up with all its swag

You start trying to solve it as best as you can

And hope that your efforts pay off and pan

Oh problems, why do you do this to me?

Why can’t you let my life just be?

Then the sweet smell of success

When everything goes according to plan

That’s when problems seem not so insurmountable

When the world seems brighter, more calm

That’s when you know you are in charge

The world better watch out, you are recharged!

Imposter Syndrome

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Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been found to affect both men and women, in roughly equal numbers

impostor-syndrome-cartoon-823x1024We’ve all been there, done that – convinced we’ve gotten a job or a project because we’ve faked it or perhaps you are getting an award for something and all you can hear in your head is a voice telling you that you will soon be outed for being a fraud! This is nothing but classic imposter syndrome and today’s post is all about that. Why this particular syndrome you may ask? Well, it’s because I am convinced I am 100% guilty of perpetuating this on myself.

Initially, it was thought that more women than men suffered from imposter syndrome, but later it was found to affect both sexes equally. When you are afflicted, you very strongly internally believe that you are not intelligent and you got (insert activity here) by luck or fluke and so you are so incompetent and unworthy of the activity that you will soon be outed as a fraud. I strongly suspect that this is what happened to me in my last position and this is why we parted ways so soon.

screenshot2015-08-13at10_48_51The most common symptoms are negative self-talk; a need to constantly check and re-check work; shying away from attention in the workplace; and forms of overcompensation like staying late at work or not setting appropriate boundaries around workload. Internally, people struggling with the syndrome experience persistent feelings of self-doubt and fear being found out as phoney. They over-internalize and blame themselves for failures, even when other factors played a role.

I particularly feel more women than men, especially Asians, suffer from this syndrome as we are generally conditioned to not take credit for our work and also diminish it when we get complimented for anything we do. As I was researching this post, I realised a lot of famous people, both men and women also had moments when they felt they were a complete fraud and it was just time till people figured them out for what they thought they were!

So when you get these pangs, here are some of the things you can do to overcome it:

how-to-improve-confidenceAccept that you are in this position because you did something that caused people to put you there. Learn to internalise your success and own it. Be proud of your achievements.

Focus on what you bring to the table. When you are a perfectionist, the chances of you believing that you are a fraud is very high because you set such high standards for yourself. Loosen up a bit and learn to accept that sometimes you need not be the best in everything you do. Hyper-competitive people (me included) see every little thing in life as a competition and this is what causes you immense grief where when you can’t attain the lofty self-goal you have set for yourself, you fall down to the depths and think you are a complete failure. So learn to let go, it will make life easier for you in the long run.

Stop comparing yourself to others. This is probably the most important point in overcoming this syndrome. As author Iyanla Vanzant once said, “Comparison is an act of violence against the self”, when you compare and measure yourself against someone, usually more successful than yourself, you start to internalise all your failures (against the said person) and this, in turn, makes you less confident about your own abilities and does not let you celebrate successes.

Celebrate success. When you get complimented for anything, accept it gracefully and with a smile. Most of us, and especially those of us who have internalised this syndrome. The normal reaction to a compliment is to brush it aside as something inconsequential, but the truth is that when someone compliments you for something, it’s because they appreciate what you have done, so accept it and internalise it.

Journal regularly. As an addendum to the previous point, it may help to keep a success journal which highlights all your successes. You could also add in the compliments and kudos you receive, be it work or play and when you need affirmations, all you need to do is go to your journal and read it. Personally, I would prefer to have something online or in the cloud, like perhaps Google Docs so I can access it anywhere and anytime. But if you prefer a physical notebook to record successes, then go ahead and buy the prettiest book you can find!

I am going to practice what I have just preached and start doing all these points so that I sooner than later overcome my sense of being a fraud all the time. What about you? Do you have any more tips that I can use? Please comment below.

I am ending this post with some TED Talks on how we can overcome our sense of being imposters.

Poem: An Ode to my Phone

Something that’s always in our hands, from the time we wake up till we close out eyes, our phones are almost an extension of ourselves. Here’s something I wrote for the extension of my life….

An Ode to my Phone

You are the first I see when I open my eyes and the last before I sleep
My heart goes a pitter patter when I hear you beep!

You are my access to the world
Without you, I feel I am not in control

When I look back to the time you were not in my life
I wonder, how did I manage with all that strife?

I am just a few keys away from my loved ones
Who are across continents and oceans

The world is my oyster, everything a click or an app away
You make my life feel complete, whether at work or at play

You make me preserve my minutiae of my daily life and my memories
With you around, life is a breeze!

Oh, my iPhone, how much I love you,
I can’t now imagine a life without you,

Please do not die on me, not without a replacement
Because I sure won’t be me when you are absent!