As a young actor in the 1960s, Michael Caine was sitting across from Frank Sinatra in a private plane on a flight to Las Vegas when, overwhelmed by the moment, he suddenly became tongue-tied and speechless.
Sinatra said, “Mikey, what’s up? You scared of flying?”
Caine, who was dating Sinatra’s daughter, admitted he was feeling overwhelmed by the conviction that he didn’t belong in the famous singer’s presence. Sinatra told him he knew the feeling and had experienced it himself many years earlier in the company of the Academy-Award winning actor Ronald Colman.
“You see, that’s how it is,” Caine remarked decades later in a documentary about his life, “we all come from nothing and nobody.”
The young Caine was experiencing a feeling called imposter syndrome (also referred to as imposter phenomenon or fraud syndrome). It describes the experience of high-achieving individuals who find it difficult to internalize their accomplishments and connect with their worthiness. Studies have found, as well, that 70 percent of all people, not just high-achievers, feel like imposters at one time or another. [Read more…]