5 Warning Signs of Imposter Syndrome (and how to beat it)
Imposter Syndrome is that niggling feeling that you are not qualified to be in the position you're in and that sooner or later someone will discover you're a fraud. (Or as my mate Stormzy would say, feeling like you're getting way to big for your boots).
It's ridiculously common in both women and in men. However the difference is that women allow Imposter Syndrome to really hold themselves back in their lives, careers and businesses, whereas men tend to feel it and then continue putting themselves out there regardless. In some cases, it can be debilitating.
The first step to overcoming Imposter Syndrome is recognising what it is when it rears its ugly head. Being able to put a label on it when our internal monologue starts telling us we don't deserve our seat at the table, will help us to identify that nasty little voice that is stopping us from moving forward.
So here are just 5 of the warning signs of Imposter Syndrome, to help you recognise when you're allowing it to hold you back.
1. You don't speak up in meetings
This is Imposter Syndrome 101. You know that time you were in that super important meeting and Gary was talking out of his arse and you couldn't find the courage to speak up and challenge him because you didn't think anyone would listen to you because Gary's been here longer than you?
That's Imposter Syndrome. Your voice has worth and deserves to be listened to.
2. You didn't go for that cool job or promotion
You know the one that would have been a real step closer to your dream job and a chance to really show what you can do. More responsibility and more money. The one you didn't even apply for because you "didn't have a chance of getting it".
That's Imposter Syndrome. We count ourselves out of opportunities to develop and progress before someone else can turn us down. We have to learn to move out of our own way and be our own cheerleaders.
3) "I'm not qualified" is something you say to yourself
One of the trickier ways to identify Imposter Syndrome is in the way that we speak to ourselves. It's hard to identify because in my own experience and in talking to clients, it's quite rare that we don't give ourselves a hard time. So how do we see the Imposter Syndrome when we're always talking ourselves down?
Negative self talk is something that we can come on to another day but think about the things you say to yourself that stops you from doing something. Negative self talk which results in inaction - not speaking up, not applying for the job, not backing your idea.
That's Imposter Syndrome - When you're about to not do the thing, ask yourself one of my favourite questions "What would I do if I wasn't scared?"
(If this is you, I have a treat for you at the end of this blog!)
4) You backed down, even though your idea was better
So you did muster up the courage to put an idea on the table but Gary had a different idea and was being quite forceful about wanting to do it his way even though you knew it wouldn't work. You let him have his way.
We allow ourselves and ideas to be over ridden by those that are louder, possibly more senior, or simply more confident.
That's Imposter Syndrome. It means our great ideas go unheard and that my friend, is a travesty. You and your ideas are why you're in your role - own your space.
5) You hate public speaking
Public speaking is one way that many people demonstrate their authority and credibility on a topic. It follows then, that it would be terrifying to a person who believes they secretly have neither of those things. If I stand up on stage people are more likely to realise I'm a fraud and I'll be humiliated. So you don't put your hand up for it and your message goes unheard.
That's Imposter Syndrome - I understand this fear, truly I do but if opportunities to speak are presenting themselves then people clearly want to hear what you have to say and public speaking is also a great way to build credibility and a super useful skill to have in your arsenal.
So there are 5 warning signs of Imposter Syndrome and if you recognise any of these in yourself, maybe its time to start doing something about it and you're first step is to acknowledge it and label it for what it truly is - a defence mechanism. It's our brain trying to keep us safe from discomfort, from humiliation.
However 99.99% of the time, these fears are unfounded (and the other 0.01% of the time it's someone else's issue.)
By allowing these thoughts and feelings to rule our actions we're preventing ourselves from developing, from learning, from progressing and ultimately from reaching our full potential.
And we don't want that, do we? (That's rhetorical because of course the answer is no!).
I want to see every woman thrive and live her best life and it starts with recognising where we're knocking ourselves down instead of building ourselves up.
If you're someone who struggles with the negative self talk, I have a gift for you! (If you don't struggle with negative self talk, it's still a pretty awesome gift).
This is 5 minutes of positive self talk that I recommend you listen to each morning to set you up for the day. It will boost your confidence, help you own your own value and put a spring in your step.
Let's kick that negative self talk in the butt, together.