Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Sian Owen, MPWR Business Club member shares her thoughts in this guest blog:
Imposter syndrome is one of those topics that’s rarely ever discussed even though it’s so common place. The internal fear of not being good enough or being exposed as a fraud can creep up on us all from time to time.
Below are some of my tried and tested tips and tricks for keeping those imposter gremlins at bay.
Realise you're not alone
This is something I learnt at my first MPWR event. A room full of confident and highly skilled women in business can be a bit intimidating when you’re a newbie – no matter how lovely and welcoming they are. During the event we participated in a workshop by career coach Lou Hynes. Lou asked how many people in the room had suffered from imposter syndrome, the entire room raised their hands. Every single one of them.
This really resonated with me. Some of these women had been running businesses for 20+ years, were at the top at their careers, but still they had the occasional bout of imposter syndrome themselves. Realising everyone else gets imposter syndrome too and that you’re not alone makes you realise that, just like them, you can do anything you put your mind to.
There's only one you
Same job title or not – everyone brings their own unique set of skills or experience to the table.
For example, there’s a lot of awesome graphic designers in MWPR, but I don’t view them as competitors. They’re all amazing at what they do, but we all have our own unique offerings, our own ways of approaching a project, our own styles and our own experiences.
There’s space for us all to swim in our own lanes, and even potential for us to collaborate bringing our different skills to a project. People choose to work with us based on what suits their needs at the time. They might even work with a few of us across multiple projects
You're the expert in the room
You’re likely invited to the table for your expert skills, where people value your point of view on the chosen subject. They’ve chosen you because you’re the best fit for the situation.
Or, if you’re presenting, then most of the time people have chosen to come and listen to you because they value what you say and want to learn more.
Coming to this realisation will help settle those imposter gremlins. “Why me?” …Why the hell not!
Sitting and dwelling on it won’t help you tackle it. You’ve got a few choices, you can upskill and make sure you know your stuff, you can work with others to fill your gaps, or you can throw yourself in the deep end and give it a go yourself. You can always check in with your support networks for advice, guidance or for a test run if you need it.
Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong
Sometimes we avoid the things that we’re afraid of, but they can be the opportunities that make us grow the most. Our mistakes and challenges are the things we learn that stick in our mind, help us grow or give us the biggest sense of achievement when we tackle them well. We’ve all got to start somewhere; experts are made not born
Accept that you can’t do everything
Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. Pick your focus and then work with the strengths of those around you to help on the rest.
…at how far you’ve already come.
This was a huge one for me when I started out solo – I’ve dabbled in freelancing before, but always during a job hunt or with the safety net of a job. Whilst the business side of things is something I’m constantly learning, design is something I’ve been doing for 13 years.
Looking back at how far I’d come since starting out made me stop doubting my skills. I spoke to people I worked with in the past who had some great things to say about our time working together. I looked at past projects that I never though I’d pull off, but I did. And I looked at how much I’d grown over time. It really helped settle my mind on my skillset and being in the right place in my career.
Share your successes, celebrate the little wins as well as the big wins. Be your own cheerleader.
This one can be a little bit cringy when you first start doing it, fearing judgement from others about you being vain. Once you get over the voices in your head and start doing it, it becomes much easier. I’ve found the opposite to what I expected happened; people have been hugely supportive of my successes, even the small ones.
Listening to some talks by Stephanie Sword-Williams really helped me on this one. She’s a huge advocate for being your own cheerleader…after all, no one else knows you better than you do.
Find your tribes
Those people you click with. The ones who champion your successes, who give you that kick when you need it or that supporting hand for the bad days.
This can be anyone, but make sure they match your vibe. Building the right tribe and support networks around you can really keep that imposter syndrome at bay.
For me I have a few. From friends who are there when you need a moan about a bad day. Friends who can help you work out the direction you’re heading and call you for a ‘check-in’. Friends who take the place of colleagues and talk about the ‘geeky’ career stuff. And friends & networks who help you grow, exactly the way you want – shameless plug to my MPWR tribe who have being supporting me since day one with this bit!
Still need some extra tips?
These great resources either helped me or are on my to-do list;
F*ck being humble – Stephanie Sword-Williams
Or you can check out one of her talks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTrLLOzciE0
Find your tribe and become an MPWR member: https://mpwrbusinessclub.com/membership Or join the facebook community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/986460508767042
Brush up your presenting skills with the Keynote Club: https://thekeynoteclub.com
Diary of a CEO – Steven Bartlett: https://stevenbartlett.com/the-diary-of-a-ceo-podcast/