Imposter Syndrome is a phrase that we hear a lot about at the moment. It seems to be something that effects women more than men and it really can stop you (if you let it!) doing the things you really want to do. So I thought I would tell you about my recent lightbulb moment and how an opportunity to speak in public about a subject I am still learning about, has really made me feel empowered! Back in July I saw that my local co-working space The Workary in Hanwell were looking for business speakers via their Business Bytes networking sessions. I mulled over it for a few days and eventually put my name forward. At the end of the day I thought what have I got to lose? Of course the room might be empty or even the attendees may not think I have told them anything of value! In the end it was a now or never opportunity, I was going speak in public about how blogging can benefit business and as the day got nearer I was seriously thinking about backing out!
The term Imposter Syndrome was coined in 1978 by Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in their landmark 1978 study of 150 highly successful professional women in various fields. Since then it regularly pops up in the media and I know many highly successful women do suffer from it. It still really intrigues me as to why, as women we always seem to be questioning ourselves? After all we are the ones multi-tasking, running our homes and working all at the same time, so surely we are more than capable?
I think my Imposter Syndrome dates back to the days after I completed my Nurse Training, I still remember my first every day as a Staff Nurse on the wards. I was wearing the uniform and had completed the three years of training, but still I was expecting one of the doctors or patients to say “you are not meant to be here, you are a fraud”! Every since then I have found it hard to believe in myself and truly believe that I have the knowledge and expertise to do what ever job I’m involved in. I have almost felt on constant alert, as if someone is going to catch me out!
I began my blogging journey almost three years ago and soon after re-trained as a Social Media Manager. Since then when someone asks me what I do for a living I always slightly pause, as I’m not sure if I should mention that I write a blog and work freelance as a social media manager. Sometimes I find it easier not to mention what else I do and say I am a Nurse. Again I think I do this because I feel nervous that someone might ask me a technical question that could “catch me out”.
So, back to the point of this post and it was that speaking publicaly has given me a new found belief. Last week when I spoke at The Workary it reinforced in my own mind that I do have knowledge and skills that I can share with others. I received positive feedback from the attendees, they said my talk was interesting and that they learnt things too! Two ladies even came all the way from Kent to hear me speak and the proof was really in the pudding when the Workary community manager asked me to speak again at their Chiswick branch!
I know the feeling of being fraudulent probably isn’t going to go away, but I am going to strive on and keep reminding myself how far I have come. I actually think that is the key, if you take the time to write down some of the things you have achieved and keep them handy, then in your moments of self doubt you can look at these achievements and remember all the things you have done.
My last message is something I saw today printed on a mug and that is Aspire to Inspire and I think that is a message we should all keep in mind! Don’t let Imposter Syndrome stop you from creating the life and opportunities you really want.
If you would like to come and hear me speak about Blogging for Business, I will be doing another talk on the 6th December at The Workary Chiswick, so keep an eye on my social media for more details!