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Coaching Conversations #3 - Imposter Syndrome

The Imposter Syndrome is a state in which high-achieving individuals find themselves unable to internalise their accomplishments. People who experience an Imposter Syndrome live in persistent fear of being exposed as a 'fraud'.

• Imposter Syndrome affects women more predominantly than men.

• It is common amongst high achievers in their peer groups or professions.

• And this failure of fear is rooted in perfectionism.

Here’s a scenario to consider:

You land a job or position; it is everything you hoped for. You’re overwhelmed with the excitement and expectation. And you want to fit in and create a good first impression. You start to internalise this transition, perhaps, you are returning from a career break, taking a career change, and its all a steep learning curve, and before you even begin to start, you start to doubt your capabilities, choices and self. You feel apprehensive about being caught out, that you might not be really qualified for the role and wonder if there was a mistake in the hiring process – was it a stroke of luck that you got this position? You lose a healthy perspective and develop a sense of inferiority or insecurity.

Here are some symptoms:

• Lack of confidence

• Fear of judgment

• Self doubt

• Anxiety

This is a reality for most people. However, knowing or understanding what it is, is half the battle. The word, imposter, is a clue in itself. Don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t, you know who is being deceived here and its not your new work mates. But more importantly, don't believe the lie, you are not a fraud! With that in mind, lets take a breath and acquire a new perspective on how to overcome Imposter Syndrome.

Change your perspective, when you see better you do better!

Women are often their worst critics. And what isn’t an issue can quickly become one, because women have a tendency to overthink everything. Women do not give themselves enough credit and this often translates into not appreciating their value or worth, this is not simply limited to the workplace. It can be life in general. However, in this context, we are referring to a new position and/or promotion.

Remember - You don’t know doesn’t mean you don’t have. Focus on what you CAN do!

Manage your expectations - Recognise that perfectionism is not what landed you the role. You demonstrated key competencies in your interview, and your experiences and skills were sought after. And more importantly, you have clearly proven a desire to learn and grow, to develop professionally. This is really important.

Know your worth – Ask yourself this, what do you bring to the role? Recall your interview, how successful that went. Reflect on your character qualities and the milestones you have achieved, and what are you willing to learn in order to reach your next goal. Your greatest competitive advantage is that there is only one YOU.

Bring joy to the role – Do not fake it until you make it. But be genuinely excited and enthusiastic about what this new role holds for you. Your new employer has taken a leap of faith hiring you; so express your gratitude from day one and just show up with a desire to put your best foot forward.

Be humble – Not knowing something doesn’t make you a fraud, it makes you a student. Yes, there is always room for improvement and there is nothing wrong with wanting to reach your full potential because it has always been your prerogative, and the only reason you have achieved so much already! So be humble but also kind to yourself.

On that note, hope you had something to take away from this post - if anything, be kind to yourself!

It would be interesting to hear whether you have felt this at some point in your life, please share or DM me instead.

Have a blessed day!