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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Oprah Doesn’t Understand Imposter Syndrome: ‘I Had to Look It Up’

The billionaire mogul confessed that she’s never felt the self doubt that goes along with ‘imposter feelings.’

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Whether it’s due to our own fears and insecurities, or the world’s desire to constantly tear us down and limit our potential, a lot of Black women find themselves dealing with imposter syndrome. Excuse me, a lot of Black women who aren’t named Oprah Winfrey. Once again, the media mogul has proven herself to be a unicorn, as she admitted she’s never felt the self doubt of imposter syndrome. While promoting her new book, Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier, the actress/producer discussed her feelings on the topic.

“I don’t have any of that imposter feelings that so many people have,” Winfrey told People. “I didn’t even understand it, I had to look it up.”

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In case you’re like Oprah and aren’t familiar with imposter syndrome, it’s when you feel self doubt about deserving an accolade. For Black people, especially Black women, jobs, promotions and acceptance to prestigious organizations can come with questions about whether we belong. Apparently, Oprah has never had these feelings, because when she was a child she never stopped to really process her accomplishments. The former talk show host explained how when she won speaking competitions—even making it to the national championships—her father always responded with, “Get your coat.”

Since the billionaire is one of the most successful people in the world, I can’t question these methods. However, it seems like everyone should be allowed a few minutes to celebrate major accomplishments, as it reminds us why we worked so hard in the first place. And perhaps highlighting these moments would lead to less self doubt in the future.

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“I learned, in all these years, every exciting thing that would happen to me it was always, ‘That’s good. Get your coat.’I don’t know if that was ingrained in my personality or I just learned that nobody’s going to be excited about it, so you might as well just get your coat and go,” Winfrey said. “I don’t have high highs and I don’t have low lows. Which is a good thing, because no matter what I’m going through, I know I’m going to come out of it, and be okay.”

It’s great that Oprah’s been able to live her life without self doubt, but for the rest of us non-rich and famous regular people, doubt is part of life. Striving to overcome those emotions makes us stronger and more prepared for the next major challenge. I appreciate that Oprah doesn’t have to deal with doubt, but for me, sometimes it forces me to ask hard questions that lead to creative answers.