It is hard to accept when someone says something nice about you. Or to be explicit, its hard for me when someone says something nice about me to me. Mostly I have vanquished my internal imposter-demon. Sometimes that demon is right there with the internal honey badger, saying “they’re gonna find out”, but one advantage of aging is the ability for that demon to laugh more and say “ha ha fooled them” (albeit with underlying pathology still intact).
Here is something I got about a trainee who just finished and was in DC advocating on behalf of NIH (she had had an F-award):
I thought I would take the opportunity to tell you how much I enjoyed working with XXXX yesterday on Capitol Hill. She also took well to the process of talking with Legislative Assistants, jumping right in when she had something to contribute. I am glad to hear that you are able to find students who can reflect well on the standards you have set for your own career.
The person who wrote it was the NIH program officer from when I started (needless to say that he is now retired), and in the days before email, spent much time getting my funded career going. Terry: I will never be able to thank you enough for your mentoring.