Updated: May 16, 2021
It is incredibly easy to find yourself feeling out of your depth or as though you are simply ‘winging it’. Your mind can trap you into thinking and feeling like an imposter. At times we can doubt our own abilities and end up asking ourselves ‘Is this real?’ or ‘Am I really good enough to be here?’.
Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon in which people believe they are not worthy of success. They convince themselves that they have done well due to luck and are terrified their shortcomings will eventually be exposed, making it impossible to enjoy their accomplishments.
As I sit here now writing this blog, I'm wondering 'Am I really writing a blog for a website and business I Co-Founded? Is this real?' Imposter syndrome hits us all.
I found myself in this very situation this year when I started a new job. In fact, I started a new job remotely, in a new industry, in a newly created team, all whilst in a lockdown during a global pandemic. To say this was overwhelming is an understatement.
After a 10 year career in media, I fell into a consumer-based role in the leisure industry, which due to various reasons, was not a great experience for me. This was a whole different version of the imposter syndrome. I constantly felt like an imposter, not because I doubted my ability; I can confidently say, I could perform my role without stretching myself, challenging myself or even thinking too much… This was the imposter part for me. I knew I wasn’t being true to myself, I wasn’t pushing myself and ultimately, I wasn’t happy.
My happy place is within a technology-based start-up, I love innovation, creativity and autonomy. An opportunity was introduced to me to join a cutting edge, ahead of the game tech company and I was thrilled! Not only would I be back in tech, but I would be part of a team specifically created to bring a global initiative to market.
I know my strengths, I can build robust, positive and profitable business relationships. I can sell, hustle and adapt. But, I can also doubt myself and overthink. I knew I could do this, I knew it had my name all over it, however, during the interviews, I kept asking myself ‘how are you here’, ‘why are they even speaking to you, you’ve been out of the tech game too long’. Doubting yourself is a lonely, negative place. Alongside that, you also make the grave error of believing that only you feel this way and no one else has experienced this doubt before.
Imposter Syndrome is more common than we realise, the Former First Lady of the USA has fallen victim to these feelings;
"I still have a little imposter syndrome, it never goes away, that you're actually listening to me... I share that with you because we all have doubts in our abilities, about our power and what that power is." Michelle Obama
I am currently reading 'The Imposter Cure' by Dr Jessamy Hibberd, which I imagine, will become a Women in Business Book Club reviewed book. It is reminding me that;
Failure is an essential part of success
Discomfort is a trigger for self-growth
Compassion is infinitely more powerful than self-criticism
Lean into these feelings, they will often guide you to your destination.
I think it is particularly important during times of self-doubt, to reflect. Take a look back at where you came from, how you started, where you have been, challenges you have overcome and successes you have so proudly achieved. Why do we not focus on these? How would you advise or speak to a friend? It was actually my Women in Business Book Club Co-Founder, Mary who told me once ‘would you speak to me the way you speak to yourself? No, you wouldn’t. So start speaking to yourself as you do to me. Encourage yourself and be kind’.
So, after reading this, I ask you to reflect on your successes and to start speaking to yourself as if you are your own best friend. You deserve the seat at the table, you are there for a reason and you are not in the wrong place.
Embrace your inner imposter.