Welcome fellow imposters!
If you’ve found your way here I’m going to assume you identify with Imposter Syndrome. You’re in good company, I’m a recovering imposter myself. I first realised this when a close friend of mine laughed, “you collect degrees like some people collect stamps!”. Why couldn’t she see I needed them? After all, how else would people know I knew my ‘stuff’? I knew about the phenomenon because whilst studying for my MSc In Business and Organisational Psychology I stumbled across an academic article on Imposter Syndrome by Dr. Pauline Rose Clance. Right there! ALERT! Imposter behaviour! I just “stumbled” suggests that it was pure luck. My imposter behaviour would have me believe its nothing to do with my personality trait of conscientiousness – nooo I was just lucky.
Modelling imposter behaviour…
Well, now that needs challenging. Actually, I’m fiercely proud of the fact I graduated with merit and it didn’t happen by accident. It happened because of the hours I spent diligently reading articles in the library in order to find the relevant research. It happened because I balanced the demands of a full-time contract, launching a new business and being there for my mother with advanced alzheimer’s when it mattered. Walking across the stage at the University of Liverpool to graduate is one of the proudest moments of my life to date and it’s certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I can still break into a cold sweat at the thought of post-graduate statistics and yet that’s just one of the modules I passed with distinction. So do I secretly put this down to luck?
Challenging our imposter behaviour
As a business psychologist, I’d say that imposters struggle to internalize success; to put it another way – we don’t own our success. As we’ve seen, we’re too quick to attribute it to other things. That distinction mark I got for my statistics module; I told myself that everyone else must have done REALLY badly. Somehow I believed this over the objective evidence of the mark scheme! It’s not just this that’s crippling though. It’s the thought that it’s only a matter of time before you’re found out. Someone will realise you don’t belong here, or they shouldn’t have given you that contract. And the longer this goes on for – the more the stress builds. With each well-deserved success, you cant enjoy it. Celebrations are hollow and you are already looking over your shoulder because you may have fooled them this time but next time could be a whole different story.
My name is Julie Goddard I’m a recovering imposter. I’d like you to come on a journey with me. Follow my new vlog and explore how the imposter phenomenon can (if we allow it) suffocate our ability to enjoy our own success. With my clients’ consent, I’ll be sharing some stories from highly successful women who battle with imposter syndrome. We’ll be exploring the psychology behind the phenomenon and identifying helpful strategies. Sound helpful? Launching February 2018.