Bertrand Russell once opined: "The trouble with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts."

I was at a reunion recently – 20 years a vet and I don’t look a day over 90.  Amusingly many had a recurring dream – they were back at vet school, back sitting the exams, back in the world of doubt that they weren’t good enough.  A doubt that has persisted through their nascent and now 20 year careers.  I’m still convinced that admissions made a mistake and lived through university convinced my classmates/professors etc would going to “find out” and that now my colleagues and the RCVS will finally cotton on and eject me with a sigh and pat on the head.  I’m an imposter in a world of serious academics, high-achievers and career driven professionals (or egomaniacs I prefer.)


This isn’t something new and “Imposter Syndrome” is defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true.

Perhaps you recognise this and have attempted, like me, to remove this feeling by undergoing various post-grad certification only to find that as you move hopefully through the upper echelons of the profession you invariably then, compare yourself even more negatively to those more talented people in whose circles you now frequent.  It never stops.

But what stops it for me?  Talking.  The reunion, catching up with old friends, in the bar at BEVA, behind the scenes at a conference.  Finding out that you’re not alone, that mistakes and failures happen, that criticism should be taken seriously but not personally, that those who say they’ve never felt as if they are faking it really are the imposters, and are probably faking that.