The Fear of being Exposed is Crippling

According to research 70% of us will feel like an “imposter” at some point in our career (and it’s not just specific to women).

The classic signs include the following psychological elements.

At some level you might…

  • fear being exposed as a fraud
  • believe you were hired by mistake and soon they’ll realise it and fire you
  • discount your qualifications as if they are not worth anything
  • believe that someone else could do a much better job

While the term ‘syndrome’ is used in this context, it doesn’t refer to an actual medical or psychological diagnosis. However, if you’ve ever experienced one or more of the above thoughts, you’ll know exactly how damaging it is to your self-esteem, and how it can reduce your self-confidence.

Like many of the women I work with, I too have experienced feeling like a fraud at different times in my life. You’re more likely to feel like an Imposter when you start anew job, join a new team or take on more responsibility.

 

Exposing the Imposter

When you’re caught on the Imposter Cycle you feel ashamed, begin to doubt your ability, and you focus on how everyone else seems to have their life sorted which makes you feel even more shame. It’s exhausting!

The last thing you want to do is own up to feeling like this. You’re certainly not going to start discussing it with your boss. After all they might actually agree with you! (Actually they wouldn’t, but this is your biggest fear).

So in order to break the Imposter Cycle, you have to acknowledge its presence in your life, understand it’s full impact on you, your career, and other people in your life, and then you can gently move it out of your way.

 

Moving the Imposter out of your Way

In my key note talks and interactive workshops I expose the “Imposter” for what it really is. You’ll learn about the psychological aspects that keep it alive and well.

We’ll explore the factors that make it so difficult to break this debilitating negative cycle, including learning how to tame your Inner Critic.

Then we’ll work through practical things you can do every day that will:

* Increase your self-worth

* Allow you to feel entitled to your success

* Give yourself permission to enjoy your career

* Become a better role-model for women coming up the ladder behind you

The Imposter Syndrome is becoming ever more popular as a key note topic and for breakout sessions at conferences. There were 500 women in the audience in the image above (Women Into Leadership, Westminster London, and Manchester, 2018).

Many of the women who’ve approached me either to book me to talk on the subject, or after one of my sessions, explain their own heart-breaking story of how the Imposter Syndrome has prevented them from enjoying their successes.

To my dismay, many of these women have reached Director or CEO level and despite being obviously capable, they still don’t feel it. The most common feedback I receive from audience members and event organisers is that my content was insightful, practical and valuable.

If you’d like to discuss how the Imposter Syndrome affects you, or if you’d like to book me as a coach, or a speaker for your Women’s Network, or International Women’s Day event, or perhaps to run a workshop for your team, you can email me directly jess@jessbaker.co.uk. I’d love to help if I can.

What’s your experience?

Have you ever felt like an imposter or a fraud? Have you worried that any minute someone will tap you on the shoulder, say “Excuse me, you are not supposed to be here”?  Please remember that you do not have to suffer in silence and shame any more. You can do something about it, and you owe it to yourself to try. Said with love.