This post was originally published on 21st September 2018 and updated on 19th July 2020.
Last night, I managed to stop the little blighters from attack!
Who are the little blighters? I hear you ask.
That would be the ‘imposters’. Before you think I’ve gone completely nuts, the ‘imposters’ are the little nagging voices in my head who frequently try to tell me I’m a fraud.
If you’ve read my blog post ‘Onions‘ you’ll know that in 2018 I discovered I was ‘suffering’ from Imposter Syndrome.
For those of you who’ve never heard of Imposter Syndrome, it’s a feeling of doubting your accomplishments and feeling like a fraud.
Last night, for the first time, I was able to fight back against the imposters. There was no way I was going to let them win this time.
For the last 6 months I had been attending Board meetings for the small company I work for, either to report back to board on a particular subject or in my brief stint as joint acting CEO. This was a challenge of epic proportion for me. We had a brand new board with some big characters, and I wasn’t particularly keen on public speaking. It had gone as well as it could and the Board seemed to appreciate my being there.
However, last night’s meeting was the first one with our new CEO in attendance. In addition, we were joined by another member of the team, who was there to provide a report linked to my section of the meeting.
Naturally, I felt a little bit of pressure with the new CEO being there, but for some reason, the person who nearly released the imposters ready for an almighty invasion, was my other colleague, who just simply oozed confidence and charm. He completely smashed his report, the Board loved him, and I walked away thinking he had done a much better job than me. On my short walk back to the underground, I started to convince myself that after my colleagues ‘performance’ that maybe the Board would think our senior management team would benefit from him being part of the management team rather than me.
I was proud of my colleague, but I was also envious. He had presented with so much ease. He was clear, concise and had wrapped the room around his little finger.
On the journey home, I tried to remember some of the skills my life coach had taught me in one of our earlier sessions. One of the tactics we had spoken about was to think of positive things that had happened to me during the day in order to quash the imposters before they took over. It was far from easy. I genuinely thought I hadn’t done anything well that day.
Then, I got a grip of myself. Within minutes I was compiling a mental list of all the things that had actually gone really quite well. In fact, it turned into a decent sized list.
Later on that evening, I received a text from my CEO congratulating me on my update and saying it had been a “really authoritative update…“. Automatically my mind told for some reason, that this comment was negative! What did he mean by authoritative?? Did this mean I came across as bossy? Rude even?
I have to admit, for someone who has a good understanding of the English language, and who aspires to be a writer, I had to google the word ‘authoritative‘ to fully understand what it meant in this context. I cursed myself afterwards for thinking so negatively. Of course it wasn’t negative. It was a compliment. And a bloody good one at that!
I guess part of the battle is being aware of the imposters. I was annoyed at myself for having almost let those negative thoughts take over. However, I’m also incredibly proud of myself for having recognised that they were creeping in. Before they could take over, I was able to find a quick solution, and managed to kick their squidgy little butts out of my head.
They are now firmly locked back up in their cage, allowing me to crack on without a dark cloud, or an imposter in sight.