Have you ever had that feeling when you’ve performed well at work that it was down to luck, or perhaps it was a fluke? Or even worried about feeling you will get found out for not being as good as others thought you were?
Yep, me too. That’s imposter syndrome. It is a psychological pattern making you doubt your skills and accomplishments and having a fear of being exposed as a fraud.
A study by KPMG in 2020 found that 75% of women commonly experience imposter syndrome so you are not alone.
Before I became a career coach, imposter syndrome was a regular occurrence in my work outlook. I worked in head office retail as a merchandiser. I worked my way up the ranks quickly managing teams of people with massive buying budgets and working with important suppliers. Someone clearly had confidence in my abilities but I can’t say I always did. I then had a baby and with my confidence at an all time low about returning to work, mixed with big company shake ups, I felt I was a shadow of my former self.
My biggest fear: Will my colleagues realise I don’t know what I’m talking about?
Fast forward to now... I have since changed careers and now work for myself, and my imposter syndrome is practically non-existent.
So what’s changed? Here are my tips:
1) Support from others
I’m not saying I didn’t have support when I was in my previous career, but accessing the support I needed was sometimes mistimed. Now I actively seek support from my peers, friends and family to lift me up when I’m feeling low. I ask for opinions and (positive!) feedback. I speak to people close to me when I have doubt. I don’t let it manifest inside of me. The community of support from others lifts my confidence.
2) Having some me time
This may seem impossible being a mother (when your little one won’t leave you alone even when you go to the loo!). I take a bit of time every week to do something for me that I love. It may be a short walk with a podcast or talking to a close friend on the phone. Taking that little bit of time out from work and being a mum, not only helps with my productivity but also helps my self belief.
3) Knowing myself better
This is probably the biggest influence of reducing my imposter syndrome. Before I became a career coach, I used a career coach. Through the sessions, we explored me at my best - conditions that make me thrive, my skills and strengths, what motivates me and what is important to me (I adopt a very similar approach to how I coach now). Not only did I feel like I knew myself so much better but through this I found my dream career. I always loved developing and coaching my team and wanted flexibility, so becoming a career coach and a business owner allowed me to do more of what I love and am good at. Confidence is certainty.
If you are keen to work on your imposter syndrome and gain clarity on your career and skills you can contact me here or connect with me on:
This article was written by career coach, Alice Draper.