International Women’s Day: Imposter Syndrome is that you?
“What if they think I’m better than I am?”
“I’m not sure why they’ve hired me?”
“I feel like they think I can do things I can’t. What if they find out?”
How about Imposter Syndrome, does that sound familiar?
Most of us will experience a level of self-doubt at some point in our lives. But what about when this self-doubt becomes so crippling it stops you from trying? And how about when this self-doubt is so strong that even when you do surpass your own expectations and achieve something great, you don’t believe you deserve it?
Like that new job you’ve just been hired for perhaps?
To an increasing number of women, this is a very real scenario. Imposter Syndrome is understood as the false belief that your successes are either down to sheer luck or pulling the wool over someone’s eyes. It’s now well documented and has been linked with hugely successful women such as Sheryl Sandberg, Helen Mirren and Maya Angelou. But what if you’re not a COO, an award-winning actress or a world-famous activist? Can your insecurity with your successes be down to Imposter Syndrome?
Reading up on the subject the phrase ‘high achiever’ is front and centre. Imposter Syndrome affects high achieving women, at the very top of their game. But what about women who are only just getting started in their career? Does that mean we truly didn’t deserve the role we’re feeling insecure about, or worse still, are we just looking for a confidence boost to make us feel better? Absolutely not. It’s just Imposter Syndrome at work again…we’ve got Imposter Syndrome about having Imposter Syndrome.
To be a ‘high achiever’ you don’t have to be running a multi-million pound company. It’s time we start to realise that to each and every one of us, achievements are all relative. Getting that promotion you’ve been working for is a great achievement, getting hired at the company you’ve had your eye on is a great achievement, and getting that qualification you wanted is a great achievement.
So yes, Imposter Syndrome can affect you, but no you’re not a fraud and you didn’t get to where you are purely by luck.
The negative repercussions of social media comparisons on ourselves are well known, and we’re starting to learn how to protect ourselves against them; so don’t let comparison creep in to your career too much either. You don’t have to be exactly like the people you look up to to do well; you can do it your way, and still be a ‘high achiever’. Look back on where you’ve come from, you didn’t fluke your way here, you earnt it.
Saying all this, it might sound like I’m coming from a place of true confidence, but believe me, the whole time I’ve been writing this I’ve had the same thought running through my head again and again, ‘Why on earth am I writing this? I’m definitely not the right person to be doing it.’
Ahhhh Imposter Syndrome, is that you again?