By Griselda Togobo
I have been having some interesting conversations with two of the young women I mentor. We’ve been talking through their future plans and how to leverage current opportunities to progress within their careers.
These young girls are succeeding in their chosen fields and blazing new paths yet they are living in constant fear.
Everyone tells them how great they are and come to them for advice yet deep down they don’t believe any of what they are being told.
They have a secret they cannot tell anyone. They are waiting to be found out because they don’t believe they are deserving of the success they have achieved. In fact, they don’t believe in their ability to do their jobs well even though we can all see them doing it well and excelling at it! They feel like an imposter and are just waiting to be found out!
Can you relate?
Well, let me (re) introduce you to imposter syndrome. Everyone suffers from it! Throughout our professional lives, we’ll need to learn how to cope with what I call regular imposter moments if we are to achieve our personal best.
I personally also have my imposter moments and have had to develop ways to cope over the years to enable me to keep doing what I do and to keep pushing against barriers. This imposter feeling gets heavier with every accomplishment. It's important that we learn to keep it in check.
Here are some ideas to help you manage those moments when you feel like a fraud. You need to learn to coach yourself out of the negative inner chatter because they will only hold you back.
• It's not just you – everybody suffers from it. Everyone from the very experienced to the least experienced. Take solace in that fact.
• Take the focus off yourself – and focus on your work and the value you bring to the workplace. It's not about you. Sadly.
• Make time to reflect and keep a journal – this is a good way of reminding yourself of everything you've achieved to get to where you are today. We tend to forget and attribute everything to luck. Although luck has a role to play in it, you wouldn't be where you are without having demonstrated that you deserve to be there. Having the headspace to reflect and be mindful helps you to cope better with everyday challenges and develops your mental resilience.
• Keep the inner chatter positive and be kind to yourself. What you tell yourself matters. Much more than what I tell you. That voice in your head telling you-you are no good is a lie. Don’t believe it. Your continued success depends on what you believe to be true about yourself.
How have you coped with those moments when you’ve felt like a fraud? We would love to hear from you.