Tonkon Torp attorney Parna Mehrbani was the featured guest on Episode 13 of Mentally Together, a podcast hosted by Portland media personality Cassidy Quinn. During the episode, Parna and Cassidy had a wide ranging conversation about Imposter Syndrome, a common psychological pattern that affects high-performers, causing them to doubt their accomplishments or feel like a “fraud.” At the outset, Cassidy and Parna acknowledged that just speaking about Imposter Syndrome can feel very vulnerable. However, considering that even Michelle Obama has experienced imposterism, they agreed that more conversations will help to destigmatize the experience and create more understanding of how common Imposter Syndrome is, how it manifests in life, and how to break the cycle.
Cassidy and Parna talked through the pitfalls of feeling the need to prove one’s value to a career or a company, which creates a cycle of overwork and stress that becomes a detriment to mental health. Speaking from her own experience as a child of immigrants to the U.S., Parna also shared an important point that people from historically underrepresented communities have higher instances of Imposter Syndrome since it frequently intersects with other issues such as feeling the pressure of being viewed as a model of accomplishment for a particular culture, or being the only person in the room with similar personal identifiers.
They explored strategies to help break the cycle of imposter thoughts such as keeping a folder of positive feedback, asking “what’s the worst that can happen in this situation,” and embracing hobbies outside of work, which can remove the feeling of heavy consequence around success or failure. As the conversation wrapped up, Parna shared how author Samuel Beckett’s mantra of “try again, fail again, fail better” serves as a daily reminder that she can learn more from failing than succeeding, and that fear can be recast as excitement and used as a motivator rather than a win or lose factor.
Parna is Co-Chair of Tonkon Torp’s Information Privacy & Security Practice Group, and a partner in its Intellectual Property Practice Group. Her practice is focused on intellectual property, trademark and copyright registration, licensing, and enforcement, and advising on intellectual property portfolios for local, national, and international companies. She also advises businesses on the management and security of personal data and the laws that regulate the collection, use, and protection of personal data.
You can watch the episode on YouTube here or find it on your favorite podcatcher.