The Facts about Imposter Syndrome

The Facts about Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome, something we are all too familiar with.

Have you ever felt inadequate? Suffered from self-doubt? Feared a question in meeting? Felt like you shouldn’t be in the room? Questioned why you even stepped on the career path you are on?

Then you’re not alone.

Many women (and men) experience the constant, nagging feeling they’re going to be unmasked as a fraud at any minute. Despite overwhelming evidence saying otherwise. It’s a phenomenon that blights most people – and it’s called Imposter Syndrome.

Welcome to Imposter Syndrome – the data

The term Imposter Syndrome came into my vocabulary over the last few years. Perhaps unsurprisingly since I started to progress up the career ladder. I started seeing articles in magazines and recommended reads on Linkedin. Then this year at the Best You Expo, people offering coaching for Imposter Syndrome and most recently a podcast/instagram page called The Imposters Club (find them on insta @theimpostersclub).

Psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes coined the “imposter syndrome” in 1978 when they were studying successful women who believed they were not worthy of their achievements. Their definition:

A feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” These people also “live in fear of being ‘found out’ or exposed as frauds.”

  • The Independent study  stated it found a third of millennials experience self-doubt at work, with 40% of women saying they felt intimidated by senior people, compared to 22% of men asked.
  • According to HR news ‘Imposter Syndrome has impacted a whopping 62% of people at work, according to a report by Access Commercial Finance. The survey of over 3000 adults in the UK shows over two-thirds of women (66%) have suffered from imposter syndrome compared to over half of men (56%) within the last 12 months’.
  • The Telegraph reported that research showed that 28% of working women feel like imposter syndrome has stopped them speaking in a meeting. It also found 21% have been prevented from suggesting a new or alternative idea at work, and 26% have failed to change career or role.
  • In a WITI article, it stated that research eventually showed a majority of people (70%) will experience imposter syndrome at some point in life, often during transitional times.
  • In 2011, a study published in Human Relations questioned 60,000 full-time workers on their attitudes toward male versus female bosses. 72% of those who expressed a bias towards gender, wanted a male manager. (That was back in 2011!).
Even TRESemmé has a stat! (Via Boots Magazine)

In one of my most recent articles Please mind the (gender pay) gap I explored the well documented topic, of men being paid more than women. I refer to this, because I see a similar pattern. There does not seem to be an equal balance to the feelings towards Imposter Syndrome. With Women showing 10-20% higher results in feeling like a fraud then compared to men. Perhaps Human Relations has a point! Companies are very bias towards one gender, which could be impacting the behaviours and progression of women.

‘It is crucial to remember that women are not born feeling less-than. But if you are continually treated as though you are, you eventually internalise it. And this is not merely a synonym for low confidence – imposter syndrome is the logical outcome of a world that was never designed for women to be successful. It is time we stopped seeing the problem as being women’s refusal to believe in themselves and rather a world that actively refuses to believe in women’. *The Guardian Yomi Adegoke.

With the facts and figures of Imposter Syndrome explored, as a career coach I wanted to provide you with a some useful suggestions to help combat that feeling. That feeling of being a fraud.

6 Imposter Syndrome Hacks

  • Capture all your achievements and remember the positive results. A degree, a career change and/or running a 5K. Whether a photo around your house or on your desktop – make sure they are visible so you can see them.
  • Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to either. I like to ask for 360 feedback. It is a process where your manager, your peers and direct reports and sometimes even customers can evaluate you. Ask 3 simple questions – What should I start doing? (This will capture what you need to do) What should I stop doing? (This will give you something to work on) and What should I continue to do? (This is your positive feedback that you can save in your brag list).
  • Remember it is more than OK to ask questions, put your hand up and say ‘I don’t know’ – you are not expected to know everything.
  • Find ways to manage the Imposter Monster when it takes centre stage in your head. When you start hearing ‘You can’t’ find a way to turn that into a ‘CAN’.
  • Find allies both in work and in your friendship circles. When you start using self-doubting language ask your allies to use a code word like ‘pineapple’ 🍍 to bring you back in the room and capture the moment you started to doubt yourself? Perhaps at this point you may want to keep a diary so you can start to build any patterns and recognise any triggers.
  • Listen to podcasts, speak to friends, colleagues and family members about Imposter Syndrome. You will be surprised in how many people are willing to share their stories and you will truly realise you are not alone.

Do you have story of Imposter Syndrome? Have you been in combat with the fear of being found out? Or maybe you have suggestion on improving self doubt. Comment below your thoughts.


Would you like to explore more ways of beating the Imposter Syndrome dragon?

Working with me, as your career coach, we can build successful resilience methods to slay that dragon! I get it, I have encountered so many challenges within my career from lack of support or access to coaching, to bad company cultures with glass ceilings and, of course, the gender pay gap.  All leading, to me, once experiencing and suffering imposter syndrome with self-doubt… Yet have found and grasped opportunities to slay, shine and progress.

Book your free 30 minute Discovery Call with me to find out more:

Contingency planning: A pandemic across the world where companies are now invoking a Work From Home policy

Contingency planning: A pandemic across the world where companies are now invoking a Work From Home policy

As the number of cases rise for the Covid-19/Coronavirus pandemic, companies are being forced to invoke a Work From Home (WFH) policy. Which for some, has not been part of the job agreement. There are questions around capacity of infrastructure systems, costs of supplying laptops and ensuring staff have the right software installed. There are also concerns around employees home set up, their wellbeing and of course trust that your teammate is online, doing the work and of course contactable.

The question really is, what can you do to set yourself and your company up for success whilst doors are closed on the office block during this time of the unknown?

As part of my passion for Culture Creating: I have produced a list of helpful ways you can support your organisation as well as yourself at any level – whether you are an admin, a manager or a CEO you play an integral part to the success of the new ways of working (from home).

WORKING FROM HOME TIPS

(Please take some, if not all of the suggestion points to your leaders or even to friends or community to be part of the success revolution of WFH.)

  • Set up regular morning and if applicable afternoon check-in calls where teams can discuss workload, any concerns and us this as an opportunity to have contact with the outside world.
  • Set up WhatsApp groups, MS Teams team and ensure your line manager has your personal number.
  • Stress test infrastructure capacity and look to temporarily invest in expanding the band width.
  • Look at options of renting laptops, your IT department will have partner contacts like Computacenter or Softcat who could potentially offer packages. (Just ensure you clean them first).
  • For those who have access to machines at home, look to expand your Citrix platform and offer RSA (Remote Acess) Tokens.
Image result for contingency planning pink
Image is from: HERE
  • Create a Team A and Team B and rotate between weeks. This prevents cross contamination as well as reducing the risk of your staff coming into contact with the virus. Make sure you share this plan with all team members, especially senior management!
  • If there is a team member you are concerned about whether it is their mental health or their home situation (suspecting domestic violence), if you are comfortable enough to do so, reach out the them to check in alternatively speak to their line manager and/or HR who can ensure the right action is put in place.
  • Share your WFH and company changes with your suppliers. Let them know how best to contact you. Can they be added to a WhatsApp group? Or in new Teams group?
  • Do you have a Yammer Page? Can you do something on their to promote and share a sense of a positive community?
Lucy, Laptop, Phone, Coffee.
  • Always get up early, don’t be tempted to snooze until 8:55 then log in 9am on the dot. The truth is, in a few months time you need to get back into your routine again so don’t make it harder.
  • Always get dressed!
  • Set up a clear space for yourself to work, have regular screen breaks like you would in the office (like getting a coffee or having lunch) and make sure you have some natural light.
  • Use this as a opportunity to get fit, time will no longer be an excuse – go for that morning run and start to think about how you can add this to your WFH and normal working routine.
  • Drink plenty of water!

It would be great to hear from you. What are you doing as part of a WFH routine? How are you setting up for success? Do you have any suggestions or stories to share? Comment below!

Remember: keep proactive, power your potential and wash your hands for 20 seconds.

It’s a BRAND new world, of personal branding…

It’s a BRAND new world, of personal branding…

But who are you? It is time that you take a lesson from the brands in the public domain, to learn and understand – what it takes to stand out and prosper!

What’s does personal branding mean?

In short, it’s your reputation. Each interaction you have with others has the opportunity to create a memorable experience, teaching them what they can expect from you. When you’re consistent in delivering those experiences, you build a strong
reputation. Delivering your brand clearly and consistently across a wide audience helps open doors to opportunities. Your brand becomes your personal calling card—a unique promise of value; a distinct and authentic representation of you. In building
your personal brand, you will define your individuality, maximise your strengths and manage your choices now to create future opportunities.

Remember: Regardless of age, position, business and title we are all CEO’s of our own companies: Me Inc.

Questions to get you started

  • What are my values?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my interests?
  • Why should someone hire me?
  • What are the areas I need to approve on?
  • What object could I use to give a visual to my meaning?
  • What other brands do I like? Why?
  • What brands do I hate? Why?
  • If someone looked at your LinkedIn page, what would they know about you?
  • Does how you dress mirror who you are?

Tools and resources you can use

(Some bullet points are links, so hover over so don’t miss out)

Elevator pitch

The elevator pitch is a brief but persuasive sales speech that you use to spark interest in who you are and what you stand for. In practice, a good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator floor hop which is around 20 to 30 seconds… hence the name.

Using the work you have done with answering the questions set out above, form a few sentences that you can use for an elevator pitch.

Remember:

Image result for elevator pitch female examples
Image is from The Balance Careers

Some examples are:

Melitta Campbell, Business Coach for Female Entrepreneurs, Melitta Campbell.com

I am a business coach for new female entrepreneurs. I offer structured and affordable programs to help them put doubt and anxiety aside, build their entrepreneurial skills and confidence, and create a business they love that delivers the results they desire.

Teri O’Neal, Director of Public Relations, A. Bright Idea

Very few careers offer the opportunity to support chemical weapons demilitarization one minute and vineyard marketing the next. At A. Bright Idea, we do that and more. We offer strategic communications services for industries of all types. What started as one person’s vision, transformed into a full-service, coast-to-coast creative playground. With experts in PR, advertising, graphic design and interactive, A. Bright Idea helps organizations achieve goals.

Bridgett McGowen, Awarded International Professional Speaker, BMcTALKS Academy

My name is Bridgett McGowen, and I am a professional speaker at BMcTALKS. I help professional women who want to speak with power and executive presence but who do not want to waste time reading books and watching videos that cannot give them real and honest feedback on their presentation skills.

You can read more on Fit Small Business.

Comment below your thoughts, ideas and how you transformed your personal branding!

There is more to come on personal branding. To find out more, get in touch with me today!

International Women’s Day 2020, a call and campaign for equality

International Women’s Day 2020, a call and campaign for equality

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.

The IWD 2020 campaign theme is drawn from a notion of ‘Collective Individualism.’ We are all parts of a whole. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Collectively, we can make change happen. Collectively, we can each help to create a gender equal world. ”

The subject of equality isn’t something that was invented last week, there is a long line of history of women like the founder of the National Women’s Party, Alice Paul who first introduced the Equal Rights Amendment to Congress in 1923 and let’s look back to 1800’s where The London Society of Women’s Suffrage formed a campaign in 1867 – all fighting for a fair gender balance and women’s rights!

So you see, equality has been on the radar for quite a while now, so don’t you find it kind of disappointing that we still need to have a theme of equality now in 2020?


I read on an Accenture report: “We are at an inflection point. When it comes to workplace culture, there is a large gap between what leaders think is going on and what employees say is happening on the ground. Two thirds of leaders (68 percent) feel they create empowering environments—in which employees can be themselves, raise concerns and innovate without fear of failure—but just one third (36 percent) of employees agree.

In addition, employees care increasingly about workplace culture and believe it’s important to help them thrive in the workplace (reported by 77 percent of women and 67 percent of men). Their voices are rising, loud and clear, while a growing number of companies recognize the importance of equality.

Yet despite growing awareness, progress just isn’t fast enough. Why aren’t companies more diverse and inclusive, when the business case in favor of a culture of equality strengthens each year? And why is the share of women in leadership positions still so low?”

We can take the Gender Pay Gap as concrete evidence of the Accenture report. Women are paid 20% less than men in the IT field, 11% less in civil engineering roles and a shocking 25% less in executive roles.

The fact is, we already know why and how this happened – the question is now: what are going to do about it?

I think it is fair to say that equality is not an issue that just women encounter and have to manage. I think you would agree, that equality should be viewed as a business problem where strategies are need to drive sustainable solutions with the goal to abolish inequality.

As a business , the top three actions a corporation can take are:

  1. Attend and have a present at networking events like Women in Business Expo
  2. Be involved in think tanks and hackathons like Technology for Good
  3. Invest by bringing in expert companies and people like me to help coach their staff and shape corporate strategies.

As an individual, the top three actions you can challenge yourself with are:

  1. Challenge the status quo – whether that is forming a women in tech forum or asking for a mentor, courses and opportunities in your current role.
  2. Attend networking events, what are other companies doing to support their diversity plans? What are individuals doing to be apart of that?
  3. Support other women in their careers – from providing feedback to offering support.

IWD #eachforequal

Sometimes silence is golden. Things to not say at work

Sometimes silence is golden. Things to not say at work

Getting along with your colleagues and boss can be great, especially when it make the day go a little quicker and it can even increase performance.

You may feel so close to your boss that you hang out after work or invite them to your wedding. But at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that your friend is still your superior, and there’s a line you shouldn’t cross. 

Aside from the obvious — like profanity and insults — Here are 10 words, behaviours and phrases you should never utter to your boss and colleagues even if you’re friends!

10 things to not say at work:

  1. ‘I heard Dave got a promotion’ – Not that necessarily things like salaries, pay grades and promotions are confidential. But bitching to your boss about this is just plain unprofessional and borderline gossiping. So what if Dave got a pay-rise, it is none of your business. Bitch about that with a friend that isn’t in the same company as you!
  2. Roll your eyes. Ok, so I am guilty of this, especially my facial expressions. It is something I have learnt to hold back and in, it’s not cool! It makes you look like you have bad attitude – so STOP!
  3. ‘I’m so bored/I have no work to do/I am twiddling my thumbs’ – Are you a fool? Don’t ever tell your boss you are bored and have no work to do! Firstly either find something to do like email admin or start on that improvement piece you have been harping on about… Worst case, go and wash up the cups! However, if you really can’t find something to do – ask your boss: “I have some capacity to take on more, is there anything I can support you with”
  4. ‘I have an interview…’ – Good for you, you are unhappy and you are planning your escape. But keep it under-wraps, you don’t want to be starting a rumour mill you are leaving. Only tell your boss if you are offered the job, in the meantime, just turn up, do your work and arrange your interview around your current commitments.
  5. ‘Oh My Gawd… did you hear about….’ – No one likes an office gossip. As soon as you a labelled as the big mouth, secret spiller you will not be trusted with anything confidential or even let into the trusted groups of managers. This can halt your progression.
  6. ‘I’ll get that done immediately’ – Never over promise to then under deliver. Setting to high of expectations can lead to disappointment on both parties.
  7. Referring to someone’s image. You may have a great relationship with the person you are ripping into and that’s great. Just take into account your surroundings. If someone heard, would they be hurt by the language you are using?
  8. Being too needy. There is nothing worse than a needy employee, stakeholder and/or vendor. Constantly ringing, dropping emails in people diaries and needing your hand held every 5 minutes is not cool. Take a break, read the signs. Hint: note down all the times you need to speak to your boss, can it wait? Try and save some for your 121’s.
  9. Don’t let your inner teenager come out. Similar to 2. Rolling your eyes. Keeping your cool is key. It can sometimes be hard to not yell out a swear words when your colleagues or boss are driving you into despair.
  10. Lie. If you haven’t done something be upfront. I have seen some real shockers in my time, even someone changing time stamps on emails! People that lie will get found out. Don’t risk it!

What would you add to this list?

Work related stress and how to manage it

Work related stress and how to manage it

It was reported that 73% of British workers took time out of work because of stress in the work place… and 19% quit on the spot!

From Lack of support and excessive workload. To poor company culture and incompetent colleagues. There are many factors that lead to stress. I explore how work related stress impacts your and how we can implement some remedies to alleviate the excessive pressures.

HSE’s formal definition of work-related stress is: “The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work.”

Although stress is a state more than an illness, however, it is worth noting that if stress becomes too excessive and prolonged – mental and physical illness may develop.

Work related stress develops because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them. Stress can be a significant cause of illness and is known to be linked with high levels of sickness absence, staff turnover and other issues such as mistakes and errors.

Stress can hit anyone at any level of the business. From looking into this topic further as well as discussing this at my networking group, it was found that work related stress is widespread and is not confined to particular sectors, jobs or industries.

Pressures at work compared to stress caused because of work has a clear difference: Pressure can be positive, motivating factor in someone’s career, and is often essential. It can help us achieve our goals as well as perform better.

Stress occurs when this pressure becomes excessive.

Stress affects people in different ways and what one person finds stressful can be normal to another. With each new situation a person will decide what the challenge is and whether they have the resources to cope. If they decide they don’t have the resources, they will begin to feel stressed. How they appraise the situation will depend on various factors, including:

  • Background and culture
  • Skills and experience
  • Personality
  • Personal circumstances
  • Health status
  • Ethnicity, gender, age or disability

Just like how people are affected by stress, the ways of managing can be different for each individual. It is all well and good to talk about a work life balance, however what people really need are tools and techniques to help them.

How to alleviate work related stress can be managed by:

At Work:

  • Talking to your manager, colleague or HR. There is no shame in saying that the current pressures that are on you are causes you to feel stressed. It is always best to take some examples with you that include situation when you have felt stressed or document you current work load to show your manager. By talking, you are highlighting the problem. You never know, you might be able to recruit a junior to support you.
  • Get a priority list together. Have you ever used a Kanban board? Such a great way to visually see what you need to do and what you have achieved. (also GREAT for reporting) You can use Trello which is a free online tool.
  • Be part of a culture change. Do you have an idea to help improve team performance? an Idea on how to feel calmer at work? Maybe introduce a well-being Wednesday? Be the change you want to see.

For Yourself:

  • Change your job or career direction. This one will take more time and planning. However, if you really are struggling this might be the option.
  • Have a break. Stop, put down your work phone and be present with your family and friends.
  • Exercise! Make time to go for a walk/run. Go to that gym class. Getting out helps clear the mind, looking after yourself will help with all aspects of your life and your mental health.

Do you have a story of stressed caused by work? Or do you have any suggestions of remedies? Comment below to share.