We’re trying something fun and new today: a behind-the-scenes of what career coaching looks like! I’m talking with a rockstar professional who is dealing with what I see a ton of women work through – imposter syndrome. Every woman I have worked with has dealt with some level of imposter syndrome...whether just beginning their career, mid-level, or even CEO level. It doesn’t go away with a promotion.
I hope today’s episode leaves you encouraged that you are not alone in struggling with imposter syndrome and there’s a lot of alignment with our stories. I also hope it gives you a little glimpse into what my coaching looks like and what it could do for you.
My guest volunteered to have us record our call so that you can learn and have a glimpse into what career coaching is all about and what my style of coaching is like. If this episode makes you interested in applying to work with me, put your application in here.
What We’re Talking About
- Where Imposter Syndrome sneaks in
- How to change your mindset in key areas
- Action steps to transform your career as you overcome Imposter Syndrome
- Sneak peek into how I do coaching
What is Imposter Syndrome – and do you have it?
Imposter Syndrome is a sneaky little thing that runs rampant among most of the career women I know, on every level of their careers. Today, we’re going to look at it in one specific woman’s career story. I hope you can take heart as you hear this story – you are not alone in this my friend.
In today’s on-air coaching episode, we’re going to see that no, you are not a fraud. No one’s going to take back your success or accomplishments. And that no, you didn’t get to where you are in your career just by luck. You deserve what you’ve accomplished.
Before we start to overcome, first we need to determine – do you have imposter syndrome?
Does this sound like you?
- You feel like you haven’t truly earned your title
- You feel like you must do everything perfectly because if not, you don’t deserve to be where you are
- You don’t have any hobbies outside of work
- You are uncomfortable with having a mentor because you think you should be able to do everything on you own
- You avoid any sort of challenge because you can’t bear the thought of failing
- You feel uncomfortable when someone compliments you or calls you an expert
If more than one of these resonates with you, you may be struggling with a bout of imposter syndrome.
Something Isn’t Working
On this episode, we talk together about how my client has enough knowledge to know something is not working, but she isn’t sure what it is. She’s struggled with not feeling good enough, self-sabotaging, moving around a lot and worrying if that’s a problem, and definitely wrestling with imposter syndrome. We talk through where she’s experienced this in her career journey, what it has looked like, and what she’s carried from one job through to the next...and the next and the next.
What we land on is some mixture of the above list, but mainly it’s this: You feel like you must do everything perfectly because if not, you don’t deserve to be where you are. Though she’s been successful and is about to start a great new job, my client struggles with perfection in her performance and wrestles to believe she deserves to be there. She has a hard time with insecurity, moving forward after negative feedback, and/or a lack of affirmation from leadership over her. I’m sure that may sound familiar.
How to Change Your Mindset and Transform Your Career
Now, I’m no stranger to imposter syndrome myself. And what I’ve learned in my own career, and now through coaching so many amazing women, is that we have to make a decision at some point to choose what we listen to, how we process it, and how we move forward. Because work is not solely transactional friends...it is emotional as well.
When we’ve had a hard job experience, we have to make a choice to not be defined by that one experience but to recognize the before and after and speak truth over it. This one thing does not define if you’re good at your job, if your skillset is worthy, or if you are good at hat you do. It’s one experience – not your whole career or life! Make a decision to listen to the criticism, understand it, and move along to something that is a better fit. Listen to it, process it, declare truth, and do not let it define you.
If you continue to believe untruths, it will follow you through your career. If you don’t process them, they will self-sabotage you in the long-run. BUT! If you change this record, it will transform your career so you can grow, produce quality work, and succeed!
One way to begin to change your mindset when you’re struggling with imposter syndrome and negativity: name one or two things you’re really good at in your work, two strengths you have.
Often the very first thing we name is something that’s been part of our life from a young age. It’s your purest form. What did you love doing before anyone told you to do it? Where did you receive praise as a child? Then you can look at your work now and ask: Is the work I am doing something I am designed for or am not? Have I been told I am not good at this or am not enough?
What one person has said does not define your life or career, so don’t let one person’s voice be the only one here. If you do, they are living rent-free in your brain. Kick them out! Lean into your gifts. Lean into your skills, the things you love, own them, and don’t apologize for them.
A few suggestions to help break out of Imposter Syndrome Mindset
- Keep a work journal
Weekly record your 3 work wins and 1 failure. And write what you learn from the failure. Then move on and keep being productive rather than worrying.
You need to acknowledge that your successes are your successes! You should be proud of them. So many of us are just assuming we got to where we got to by pure luck or chance or because someone in our network happened to introduce us to the right person.
2. Lavish upon yourself all the nice things you can say about yourself, work-related or not.
I want you to speak to yourself the way you would speak to your daughter or son (current or future). Think about your inner voice to yourself – would you say those things to your child? If not, it’s time to change the way you speak to yourself.
Go at least 10 deep on this. We need to write down and speak over ourselves a LOT more positive...because unfortunately, most of us go automatically to the negative. We have to start conquering the negativity with more and more positive truth and kindness to ourselves.
3. Turn worrying into a helpful action plan
We talk through ways that her internal monologue plays out...and how to reframe it. We can turn worrying into a helpful action plan about how to make things a hair better next time. Not to get perfect, but to get a little better.
“Worrying is like unfocused prayers.”
How You Speak With Colleagues
We can definitely get stuck in a place of continual commiseration or negativity with colleagues. It’s sometimes the normalcy in your workplace. And this can be so challenging! It feels easy to process negative feedback you’ve received with others who get it because they’re on your team or know your supervisor and how they operate. But here’s the truth: gossip is the most toxic thing in work cultures. I am guilty of it for sure, but I have learned to not lean into that because it’s so awful.
What I suggest you do is find one colleague who can be your person...your “work wife” or whatever you want to call them. Find one person and build a relationship with them over time, and let that be your person to speak honestly with. Then don’t go around talking to all the other people about it. Also, don’t let all your friends be at work. Find friends in other places.
I think it is critical to have mentors in your career. There are many different ways to go about finding a mentor. I’ve been set up with one, I’ve asked for them, and I’ve had informal mentors as well. I’d recommend you have both an internal and an external mentor.
And remember, mentorship is not only about the mentor giving. You learn something about yourself as you mentor someone else. If you think you want to be a mentor, ask someone if they would like a mentor. It’s hard to ask for a mentor, so make it easier! Think about someone on your team and reach out to them. See if it’s a good fit. And do this if you’re looking for a mentor as well.
How to Receive Feedback
Feedback can send us on a rollercoaster ride can’t it? Good feedback and we’re on top of the world, negative feedback and we’re spiraling out of control. Just me? Didn’t think so.
What if you gave yourself 24 hours?
I give myself 24 hours to be miserable and angry, to feel my frustration, to feel down. This is natural, because we aren’t robots. Allow yourself the opportunity to be frustrated or it will come out sideways.
Then, ask yourself what you’ve learned from it. And how can you make an action plan moving forward? Their editing, advice, or criticism does not define you. But if you let it, it will bulldoze you. So after 24 hours, evaluate it, then let it go and move forward.
Here’s what I want to remind you of: you are you. You have unique skillsets and gifts and you do wonderful work! Don’t let feedback negate these things that are true. Hold onto the good and true. Let the rest go.
Be super aware when your demons are rearing their ugly heads. Keep a journal. Notice when they’re rising up. And start to speak truth to those places.
Tips to Remember
Take stock of the positives. Do this first before taking stock of the negatives.
Reframe the failures as a learning opportunity. Nothing that comes easy is really worth it.
Are you manifesting success or failure? How can you speak and manifest truth, success, and positivity over yourself and your work? It will transform your career if you can master this.
Repeat the thing – the positive belief, scripture, truth – over and over until you believe it.
You need to let go of comparison, celebrate your role in your successes, and collect for a rainy day the truest words that describe who you are.
There is value in different capacities and varied careers. You are uniquely designed. You are not your parents or your best friend. And therefore you don’t have to live their career or desires for you. You need to lean into your skillsets and desires so you can live an authentic life and bring your whole self to the world.
You’re the only one who goes to work for you and with you.
Your whole first half of your career is learning what you’re good at. The second half is refining it.
Every new job is rocky for the first three months. You’re learning. You won’t have it perfect.
Do the work to get unstuck and to move forward to be the best person you can be.
I’d love to hear your feedback friend! Shoot me a message with your biggest takeaway on LinkedIn.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome at Work (On-Air Coaching)
May 6, 2020