“Well done Becca – and thank you for all your hard work and effort this year! You should feel really proud of your achievements”.
Wow what a glowing report I was hearing from my boss at the time as we completed my appraisal. (of course I wasn’t sure HOW she’d come to that conclusion). The only explanation I could think was that because we got on as friends as well as colleagues she really liked me. So of course she was going to see my efforts through rose tinted glasses!
Why could I not just accept the praise for what it was? That I’d actually done a good job! This isn’t the only time Imposter Syndrome has reared its ugly head in my life.
Even as I completed my course with Barefoot as a Life & Business Coach, never had it been more revealing to me than when we had to do a kind of speed dating thing on the last day. This wasn’t actual speed dating but involved us each going up and down the line with each other to share what we qualities we saw in each other etc, and what one thing we’d change about the other person in order to benefit them.
The resounding two words that were written down on the feedback form and said aloud to me by nearly all of the coaches was “Self-Belief”. You need to have more self-belief!
I hadn’t realised how my internal self evaluation had seeped out into the outside world by the language I’d been using!
When I now get feedback from my clients thanking me for how I’ve helped them move their business forward when they’ve been stuck, or glad they’d decided to take that new role in work, I now just “accept it” instead of questioning it. Who new it could be that easy!
The term “imposter phenomenon” was first introduced in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes. They researched 150 women who, despite having gained outstanding academic and professional accomplishments, considered themselves imposters!
Even recently – Michelle Obama said she still has a little impostor syndrome, and Jodie Foster once said ‘When I won the Oscar, I thought it was a fluke. I thought everybody would find out, and they’d take it back.”
Women (and men) who experience imposter syndrome feel like they’re going to get “found out” like they’re a fraud, and that they’re not really that good at all.
What about You?
So tell me – do you ever feel like that? Is it your secret that you darent’ tell anyone? Because if it is – it’s time to take the risk and do something about it.
Here’s 2 ways you can start to reframe your thinking and stop the imposter feeling in its tracks….
Career timeline – this is an exercise I use with my clients who are having self-doubt. The results are amazing – it’s a really powerful exercise and you can try this yourself at home.
Draw and imaginary line on the floor in front of you
Where you’re stood is the start date of your career and the end of the line is the present time
Now slowly walk up the line, choosing 4 or 5 significant career points and stopping at each one to celebrate your key achievements you’re proud of. Imagine or say them as though you’re in that present moment. How do you feel? What qualities did you need to have to make this happen?
As you stand at the end of the line look back at your career and just delight in some of those key moments and the qualities and strengths you had to have in order to get there.
Now own those feelings, skills and attributes and make them real.
This really does help to build up your self-belief and see yourself for the amazing woman that you are!
Share your Secret with others. Yes that’s right – say it out loud!
Sometimes those feelings we’ve kept hidden for so long really do feel better once they’re out there, and actually don’t always seem that bad after all.
Showing vulnerability doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, by sharing your story the most amazing thing can happen. You might actually find that people will open up with you and share their own feelings of imposter syndrome.
I’d really like to hear your experiences with imposter syndrome. Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any self-doubt.
Or if you would like to work with me on a 1-1 basis about any of these issues then please do book a Free Call with me.
If you found this useful, then you can also get my Free Guide – “5 Life Changing Habits for Success” which you can pick up at my website where you can find more helpful blogs like this.