Do you have imposter syndrome?

Dec 3, 2019

If I was granted 3 wishes, I might use one of them to eradicate ‘Imposter Syndrome’ 

You know that feeling we are all so familiar with. The internal dialogue that tells you your successes have all been a fluke, you are a con and one day you will be FOUND OUT and exposed. 

The internal voice that convinces you to say no to an opportunity or not to go for an opportunity in the first place. The voice that drives you to say, thanks for the offer but I’m sure you can find someone better qualified to do that. 

I like to imagine that if Imposter Syndrome suddenly disappeared that we would start seeing more female experts on the news, there would be more women on boards and our parliament to start moving towards being more representative.

Of course, I am simplifying things and Imposter Syndrome is only one cause for these inequalities but I would argue its quite a big one. 

What I find motivating about this situation is that we can do something about it. 

As human beings, we have the power to choose how we respond to our feelings. And Imposter Syndrome is just that, its a feeling. It’s not a true reflection of our abilities or worth.

In fact it’s the opposite, there is a wonderful study that showed that actually the more of an expert you were the more likely you were to suffer from Imposter Syndrome. And people who didn’t suffer at all were likely to have the least expertise.

I don’t have all the answers but I have been working hard over the last 15 years to overcome my own, very strong, Imposter Syndrome.

I was inspired today to share with you three of the techniques that have helped me say yes to opportunities when then come along and to put myself forward for things that scare me.

  1. Recognize, Accept and then Ignore

This is a technique using mindfulness. You recognize and accept the feeling. Then you go ahead and do whatever you were going to do despite the feeling. Sounds simple but can take some practice.

  1. Find a Champion

Now I’m not talking about someone who will tell you you are brilliant, wonderful, an expert etc. That’s not very British. But someone who does believe in you and will tell you to go for opportunities. 

I don’t get a pep talk from my husband. His technique is so simple and so effective. When I say I’m not sure I should go for any opportunity because I’m not qualified/clever/interesting enough, he just laughs at me. He knows that this makes me laugh and then I go and most of the time go after the opportunity.

There are lots of supportive networks out there especially on social media. I’ve connected with so many brilliant women on Instagram who are also great at reminding me that I should give it a go. Find them and let them help you be confident.

  1. Let them decide

When deciding whether to go for a scary opportunity like pitching an idea to a major newspaper or apply for the BBC Academy, I find it useful to think ‘Let them decide whether I’m qualified enough or the right fit’ Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes not. That old adage is definitely true that you miss all the shots you don’t take. 

Do you suffer from Imposter Syndrome? How do you overcome it? I’d love to know 

Love Ruth