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T2P19 - Imposter Syndrome

Monday Motivation! This last week was pretty eventful in Britain, which started with the opening of the ‘Battersea Power’ Tube Station, how I can’t wait to say that about the Elizabeth Line too. Contrastingly, at the end of the week we saw the closure of a lot of petrol stations, following them being ran empty. Due to some rather ‘sensible’ panic hoarding of petrol, sparked by the HGV driver shortage.

The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work – Harry Golden

The highlight of my week was attending the guided tour of the “War Inna Babylon” exhibition which was emotive, engaging and educational. Whilst this week’s blog isn’t about resilience, as we enter Black History Month, I was so left so inspired by the resilience historically displayed by Black Brits in the UK. A modern day inspiring Black Brit is Anthony Joshua (AJ), and this past weekend he suffered an upset to Oleksandr Usyk. I highlight AJ because I can’t help but wonder with his super humble attitude in the build up to fight, whether he realised his stature as the unified heavyweight champion, to me that was arguably a form of Imposter Syndrome.

For this week’s blog I’ll be focusing on Imposter Syndrome, when I discussed it with my friends this week some of them weren’t clear on what it meant. Imposter Syndrome can be defined as the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills. I’ve found that it’s so common for us to produce great pieces of work, or attain milestone achievements, to downplay it as simple luck. I don’t dismiss the notion of luck, but I do think a lot of ‘luck’ is self-made rather than purely coincidental. There are opportunities that have arisen for some of us by being in the ‘right place at the right time.’ However, does that factor in that we can position ourselves to be in the right place at that right time. This can have come from volunteering to support on extra curricular pieces of work, or attending the occasional work social where you meet staff outside of your immediate team. It’s normal to doubt ourselves, believe me you’re not the first nor last person who will, let’s also remember to pat ourselves on our back too. Feeling like an imposter is not always the worst thing either, I’m an advocate of ‘fake it until you make it,’ lean into those feelings of doubt to work harder to address your feelings of shortcoming. It could offer you what you need to avoid feeling comfortable and complacent, therefore encouraging you to take the steps to continually develop.

Imposter syndrome is prevalent in the workplace, staff can have a real sense of doubt about their work or capabilities. This can come in several forms, a common one is perfectionism, for example not wanting to send over a piece of work in doubt that it is not up to standard. Imposter syndrome is damaging as it contributes to the underrepresentation we see in workplaces. Staff that are women or from ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to experience those feelings of doubt when doing job applications. Not being certain of their ability to do the role or do a good application or interview. We come back to some putting off applications as they wait for the right time, situation, place or position.’ If you’re experiencing those doubts, just apply, don’t be afraid to ask friends, families or recruiters to support with applications or interview prep. They’ve helped me a great deal and I’ll certainly be happy to return the favour or ask again in the future. So apply for that role or developmental opportunity, you could be pleasantly surprised, you could get lucky!

I have feelings of imposter syndrome more frequently than I’d like, both professionally and personally. As mentioned above my friends offered me support in preparations for jobs, they’ve don this by providing mock interviews and helped me recognise that doubts I’ve had were misplaced. They however would not have been able to help me with that if I did not seek their help, they are many things, but not mind readers as far as I’m aware at least. It’s essential when having those continuous feelings of doubts to explore them rather than let them keep bubbling up. Doing that exercise can show how irrational those feelings are. Personally, I’ve seen a lot of growth, this is in part because I was pretty clueless for a while so I’ve had a lot to work on! This is always made apparent to me by people who’ve known me for a while and have let me know their astonishment. So sometimes it can be tricky for me to not feel like I’m that same ‘naive clueless’ person. That’s where books like the Power of Now have been a nice aid in reminding me I’m not the person I was yesterday let alone 15 – 20 years ago. Even with it being blog 19 (Whoop!) and the positive feedback I’ve received along the way, that writer imposter syndrome still rears itself, regardless I’m doing my best to fake it until I make it.

I hope this served as some Monday motivation and food for thought this week, I’ve included a link to a helpful breakdown of imposter syndrome.

Don't think about it too much, too much, too much, too much

There's no need for us to rush it through – Sampha / Drake – Too Much)

I covered imposter syndrome in regards to work and how it’s also impacted me. It is however prevalent in so many different aspects of life, socially too, it can have us doubting how we’re doing as partners, friends or parents. Take time to evaluate and accept yourself, and set goals, these offer a great way as offering checkpoints that can help you recognise just how much progress you’re making, even when not all goals are fully met, yet.


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