Who is that in the Mirror?
Have you ever done that? Looked in the mirror and thought, ‘Who is that woman looking back at me?’ Oh, I have many a time and I am not simply talking about the ageing process here where I can’t believe that this lined faced woman is me!!
Oh no, I am also talking about the ‘I feel like an Imposter Club’. This is the Club that many intelligent, competent, talented women belong to or may have at least in the past. This is where we don’t feel successful and more likely hear, ‘You’ll be found out and they’ll discover the truth that you are someone pretending to be as capable as you are’.
This is the Club for those of you who have profound doubts about your abilities. It doesn’t matter how much applause you’ve received or degrees you’ve got, or how high up the ladder you’ve got. You feel you are winging it!! Don’t worry, I have counted myself in this Club so I understand what is going on for you.
A funny thing (well not actually funny – more peculiar) is that when you are really successful at something, it tells the world that you do know what you are doing except you can only allow in any celebration for a moment as a voice can come in that says, ‘Oh my goodness – now they’ll expect me to do that every time, and I don’t know how I did it in the first place!!’ You just can’t win.
Fortunately most of us with the Imposter Syndrome don’t give up. No, we press on in spite of that nagging self-doubt that just seems to be there regardless, and yet the anxiety remains (that feeling of worry, nervousness or unease about something with an uncertain outcome).
I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with YOU even with these feelings as they didn’t come all by themselves. As you will all know, you are affected by your family, school and significant others around you as you grew up. All these expectations and subtle or not so subtle messages were taken in by you on some level. They made an impact on you and life. One thing can be forgotten in all of this is that those around you were also under pressure to be seen as good parents, schooling, or whatever so there was a lot invested in you as well as wanting you to do well. And sometimes, we do the opposite of what is expected in order to thwart ‘them’.
Fear of Being Found Out
That fear of being found out is stressful and exhausting and you have to find ways to cope with them. Some of the ways I’ve managed them, and seen clients do, is by –
Over-preparing and hard work
Take yourself out of the running
Keep a low profile
Somehow never finish
Yes, not exactly the best thing to do for anyone.
Taking care of Yourself
And yet, these all keep you safe – that‘s their job to avoid the shame and humiliation of being unmasked, and they relieve that stress to a certain extent that comes from feeling like a fraud. Of course, at some point you actually know that these are self-defeating behaviours you engage in, and I’m emphasising at any one point you hide behind them because you’re doing the best you can to protect yourselves. And if you use more than one of the above, it just means you’re really taking care of yourself and that is what’s important.
I’d love you to come on my Autumn Self-Discovery Day in London when you will gain tools, insights and information to be able to step back from your Imposter Syndrome so why don’t you sign up or contact me for more information.
I’d love to see you at The Love Summit on Sunday, 24th September where I am giving a Talk at the Event at Chelmsford City Racecourse, Essex. It’ll be a great day out for all and good to meet you in person – see www.lovesummit.co.uk for more information.