I went to an event recently focussing on diversity at work, particularly within the banking and technology sectors. Having left the banking industry two years ago, I left the event feeling a little deflated. It feels like the conversations haven’t moved on. The commitment continues to be admirable but it sounds like there is a long way to go. One of the topics that came up, as it so often seems to, was imposter syndrome.
When this was mentioned by one of the panellists, there was almost unanimous nodding. I was pleased to see a male member of the audience challenge the statement that this wasn’t something that affected men. In my experience with clients, I’ve seen this impact both men and women alike.
On a personal level, I had a huge attack of imposter syndrome just a few weeks ago. Whilst I consciously work on my personal development, it doesn’t mean I become immune. Whilst I couldn’t stop the downward spiral of panic, negative assumptions and ridiculous extrapolations (that essentially ended up with me being a failure at everything), I was pleased to see how quickly I was able to bounce out the other side. This didn’t stop me being in floods of tears halfway up the M1, but it did mean I was able to go back in and finish the job feeling like we’d achieved something brilliant.
I believe imposter syndrome is something that can strike all of us at any time. It is important we know how to recognise it, call ourselves out on it and move forward. If not, it can hold you back from taking that big step forward with your career or be ruining your enjoyment when you’ve landed that great opportunity. You spend too much time at work not to enjoy what you do. I hope next time that little voice of doubt starts chatting in my ear, I’ll be able to calm it down sooner and not give it any more fuel. Does your imposter syndrome need a good talking to?