This week we’ve been hearing the term ‘Imposter syndrome’ from a few of our clients.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is a feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt that can affect people even when they are mature, successful and accomplished. Perhaps you find yourself wondering ‘What am I doing sitting round a Board table with all these ‘heavy hitters’ and I’m only me.’
If this rings a bell, there are some strategies that may help.
What can you do to alleviate Imposter Syndrome?
1. Recognise your achievements: Write down your accomplishments and acknowledge the hard work and effort you put into achieving them. Celebrate your successes.
2. Normalise imperfection: Accept that nobody is perfect and that making mistakes is a natural part of learning and growth. Focus on progress, not perfection. Even if you’re chairing the Board, you won’t be expected to be the expert in all areas. Sometimes you need to ‘conduct the orchestra’ and bring out the strengths of others. Be a servant leader, rather than trying to be ‘the boss’.
3. Change your self-talk: Challenge negative self-talk and replace it with positive and encouraging messages. Be kind and compassionate to yourself.
Seek support: Share your feelings with someone you trust – a coach, a mentor, a friend. Talking about imposter syndrome can help you realise that many people experience similar feelings.
4. Keep learning: Continue to educate yourself and develop your skills. Learning new things can help boost your confidence and combat imposter syndrome.
5. Remember your strengths: Make a list of your strengths and review it regularly. Recognise that you bring unique strengths and perspectives to your work. While your Board colleagues may seem highly intelligent, there will be areas where you are more capable than them. Humility is healthy, but don’t beat yourself up!
6. Embrace discomfort: Accept that discomfort and uncertainty are part of growth and learning. Don’t let fear hold you back from taking on new challenges.
Remember that managing imposter syndrome is an ongoing process, and it takes time and practice. With these strategies, you can begin to build more confidence and belief in yourself. You can and will be a capable and valuable Board member.