I had worked in a tourism business for almost 5 years when the MD offered me a new role. It was a great opportunity to manage and oversee the Cornish part of the business - lots of challenge, a big team and yes, I got to move to Cornwall. My initial thought was ‘He can’t mean ME. There must be some mistake’.
As we talked further, I realised he did mean me. So my second thought was ‘Maybe they have no other option and I’m the best they’ve got.’ It didn’t occur to me that maybe I had worked hard for the job or that I had the skills and knowledge they were looking for.
So I went. But the self-doubt stayed for a long time. I would frequently question how everyone else knows what to do and I didn’t? Fears of being ‘found out’ plagued me and a big part of me felt like I was just playing dress-up in this big new job.
I didn’t know about imposter syndrome at the time. I simply thought I was rubbish and that somehow they’d been tricked into thinking I was good at what I did. Now, imposter syndrome is widely talked about and it is referenced that over 70% of people (men and women) experience imposter-like feelings.
Over 70% of people experience imposter-like feelings
I can’t say I never feel this way now - I still have self-doubt and question myself. But I have learnt that lots of other people feel this too. Especially hugely successful people who we assume have all the confidence in the world.
Michelle Obama famously said:
"It [imposter syndrome] doesn't go away, that feeling that you shouldn't take me that seriously. What do I know? I share that with you because we all have doubts in our abilities, about our power and what that power is."
I work on building my confidence and self-belief every day. I challenge my negative self talk and replace it with kind, loving words. If you would like to start to challenge your imposter within, come along to my online workshop on 5th August.
You may also be interested in reading an earlier post on 'imposter syndrome in your new job', here.
Gemma Brown is an associate certified coach with the International Coach Federation, working with people to navigate successfully through transitions - be it career, relationships or life in general. Her belief is that when we confidently bring our whole selves to all areas of life, anything is possible. Transitions exist in both our personal and business life, and so often, the two fiercely overlap. Coaching with Gemma focuses on you as a whole, enabling you to identify your strengths, build confidence and to live a life with increased purpose and direction. Gemma is based in Cambridgeshire and carries out face to face coaching in the area as well as 1-2-1 coaching via Skype and Zoom. For more about Gemma, visit her 'About' page or contact her directly.