Feel like a fraud? Not sure if you deserve the success you’ve had? Do you compare yourself to others and feel like you don’t deserve your success? Then you’re not alone, imposter syndrome is something that many people have to deal with on a daily basis.
I’ve spoken about this topic a few times as it’s something I suffer from occasionally and I’ve tried various techniques to help manage it as well as I can. On Monday I’ll be speaking to some PR trainees from the Taylor Bennett Foundation about this subject. As I was putting some slides together, I thought it might be useful to share my advice to help you if you’re struggling.
Remember the four Rs – Recognise, Review, Redirect, Re-energise
Recognise your talent
This is a hard one as some people can be a bit modest about their accomplishments. This is something you need to embrace and be proud of, especially as you move further up the career ladder. There is no way you’ve achieved what you have without working hard. Keep reminding yourself of these achievements and go through your Continuing Professional Development (one of the reasons why I insist on logging mine so I can remind myself of what I’ve accomplished). If you don’t log CPD then take 10 minutes to write down some of the great things you’ve accomplished and put it in an achievements jar or write it in a journal, whatever you’re comfortable with. You can then refer back to this when you need a bit of a boost!
Review your language, body and verbal
How many of you have started sentences with ‘I think…’ or ‘I hope you don’t mind but I just’, I know I have, A LOT. This is something that is still a work in progress for me, but I’m trying to move away from using words like ‘just’, ‘think’, ‘maybe’, ‘probably. I’m trying to bring in more positive language that works for me without compromising my values or authenticity.
Also think about your body language when you’re talking to other people. When your imposter syndrome is rife, you’ll find yourself slumping your shoulders, apologising unnecessarily and avoiding eye contact. Make sure you look people directly in the eye, keep your arms next to your body and hold your shoulders back. If you need to go somewhere quiet to give yourself a pep talk then do that, but when you walk into a meeting or an event, keep your chin up, look directly ahead and don’t fiddle or mess about with your phone.
Redirect your thoughts
I have spent MANY hours comparing myself or doubting my abilities and sometimes the only way I can get myself out of the slump is by re-directing my thoughts. This is by doing something that brings me joy and I know that I enjoy. So that’s either reading a really good book, going for a brisk walk, listening to my favourite 90s tunes or having a great pamper session. Find something that works for you. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in your own self-pity, take some time out, reflect and move forward.
Re-energise and get some help
I’m a huge advocate of coaching and mentoring. I’ve always invested in mentors and coaches during my career as it’s extremely important to me. Having someone whose focus is to help you re-energise and support you to achieve your goals is worth every single bit of investment. Without some of my mentors there is no way I’d be the person I am today nor would I have achieved what I have so far.
If mentoring is not your thing then make sure you speak to peers, friends or family, share your thoughts on how you’re feeling, get them to write a five things that they value in you. This can really help you understand how much value you actually do bring to people and the work that you do.
I offer free 15 minute calls for anyone who wants to have a bit of a chat. If you need a safe space to share then I’m more than happy to lend you a listening ear. You can book time in here.
I’m not an imposter syndrome expert but these things have really worked for me in the past. If this helped you in any way then please do share with friends, family or peers that you think may benefit. Also let me know what works for you and why? You can find me over on twitter @advita_p.