Have you ever listened to someone speaking and thought – “That is complete nonsense!” Did you ever find yourself wanting to say something but felt awkward speaking up?
It happened to me. A few years ago, in a meeting, a colleague made a comment that I thought was complete rubbish. Most of the others in the room nodded in agreement. What did I do? I didn’t know the person well. It was the first time at the meeting, and I wasn’t expecting the comments. I’m afraid that I said nothing, and I let the moment pass.
Does that sound familiar to you? Have you ever been in that situation where you want to call someone out but don’t speak up? Was it a lack of confidence, fear of confrontation, or of being seen to make a fuss about nothing?
Sometimes we can find it difficult to speak out because we make ourselves be noticed when we do. Unless we feel confident in our knowledge, perhaps seen as an expert or comfortable with the people we are with, it can be uncomfortable to stand up and be counted. You might worry that if it goes badly, you may be marked out as not knowing what you are doing or what you are saying.
Cue your Imposter Syndrome.
Our fiendish friend stops us from being brave and bold and stepping out of our comfort zone and into the stretch zone, where exciting things happen in our business and our lives.
Our Imposter Syndrome can be the voice that persuades us that it is better to remain quiet, stay seated, be stationery and resist change. Sure, doing new things is scary and stressful. But stressful and scary are like honey to a bee. Your Imposter Syndrome will try any way it can find to tap into that fear and stress. And when it does, it amplifies your inner voice making it harder and harder to step up or speak up.
Your Imposter Syndrome needs a firm hand and a tight rein so that you are the decision maker. We all want to think for ourselves and be free to choose what we do and don’t do.
Here are my top tips for you to use if it happens again.
If you found this useful, listen in to my Imposter Syndrome Q & A’s on Wednesdays at 12.30 pm UK Time on both Linked In and Facebook or get in touch at email@example.com
Without a doubt, Imposter Syndrome is closely linked to confidence and self-belief. But there are fundamental differences between the two.
Imposter Syndrome is based on fiction. Imposter Syndrome means that you don’t feel as clever or as well qualified as anyone else – even though everyone else thinks you are. Imposter Syndrome also means that you believe that everyone else knows more about a subject – even though you know just as much as everyone else, and sometimes more. Imposter Syndrome means that despite your skills, experience, and qualifications, you just do not believe that you make the grade. When you feel like that your self-belief lets you down, you have little confidence in your abilities. But your lack of confidence is based on fiction, not fact.
When you are not affected by Imposter Syndrome and are just lacking confidence, there will be a genuine reason for it. That might be that you are doing a task for the first time, and you don’t have all the skills and knowledge that you need. You need some help to get yourself to a level where you feel proficient enough to feel confident. It might be that you are giving a presentation and you have not prepared adequately. You are worried that the tech may let you down or that you won’t be able to explain your slide deck fully because you have not practiced enough. Under those situations, a lack of confidence is normal and to be expected. That is a lack of confidence that is based on fact, not fiction.
When you know your subject, when people come to you for advice, and you wonder why on earth they have asked you – that is imposter syndrome. It is the lack of self-belief when, you are good enough, you are clever enough, and you know just as much as everyone else.
When we lack confidence for a genuine reason, we know that either we should have taken more action and didn’t. it, are doing something for the first time or are worried about something that we have little influence over, such as going live on social media and the tech lets us down.
When we lack confidence because of our Imposter Syndrome there is nothing more that we can do to improve our confidence level, even if we overwork or over perfect our work. We still don’t feel better about our work.
Experiencing Imposter Syndrome limits us. It stops us from being brave and bold. It prevents us from making the most of the opportunities. That’s why I specialise in Imposter Syndrome, so that you can learn to identify it and master it. To find out more,
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org,
Visit my website www.janephillipscoaching.co.uk for blogs and podcasts
Watch my Imposter Syndrome Linked In Live on Wednesdays 12.30 pm UK Time.
Or just DM me.
Warmest wishes, Jane
You need to be able to understand what Imposter Syndrome is before you can diagnose it. Having Imposter Syndrome means believing that you are not good enough, despite what other people say about you. Regardless of how often our boss, partner or friend says that what we have done is excellent, we never feel that we make the grade. An example could be recording a podcast for the first time. When you get congratulated on it, you think people are just being kind to you. Or perhaps your response is, “No, it should have been so much better”. Or maybe you think you were just lucky, and it won’t be as good next time.
So, it’s important to recognise the signs of Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome can show itself in five ways. The first and most apparent is our inner voice. When we are asked to do something, especially something new, we hear our inner voice saying something like:
“You can’t do that.”
“You’ll be useless; someone else could do it better.”
“What if I make a fool of myself?”
But the key is noticing what you do next.
Do you answer your inner voice back? Do you challenge it and say something like this?
“Yes, I can do that because I have done something similar before. I can do this because I can get advice, I have people around me who will help me if I need it. I can do this because if I get it wrong the first time, that is okay. I am only human. Failing is part of learning.”
If you don’t correct your inner voice, one of the four behaviour patterns is likely to occur.
We might choose to avoid the situation. Do you turn down the offer to do something that would help your business or your career telling yourself you are too busy?”
Perhaps we can’t avoid the situation, and so we procrastinate instead. We put it off by persuading ourselves that it would be better if we did that task later in the day, tomorrow, next week etc.
When we can’t procrastinate any longer, we start to overwork. We spend longer on the task than is necessary, perhaps working in the evenings or over the weekend.
And what tends to accompany overworking is perfectionism. We are so worried that our work will be criticised that we over perfect our work. We spend time tweaking this and that but adding no additional value to it.
So, if you
then you are likely to be experiencing Imposter Syndrome.
Here are a couple of tips to help you.
Tip 1: Turn the volume down on your critical Inner Voice by repeating positive core beliefs and affirmations to yourself.
Tip 2: Take time to enjoy your successes which will help to build your belief in your abilities.
However, it can be very hard to notice behaviour caused by our Imposter Syndrome at the right time, which is why I have created an Imposter Syndrome Quiz to help you see how much Imposter Syndrome is affecting your life.
If you would like a copy, please get in touch at email@example.com for your quiz.