Kim Walter - WhiteHat Alumni
So, I have some news to break… Imposter syndrome doesn’t go away with age or experience.
12 years into my career and still a chronic sufferer of imposter syndrome, I feel like I have a responsibility to be the bearer of bad news.
I heard recently that women have to “fight to maintain confidence”. Never a truer word spoken I thought to myself. We struggle to see the full value of our contributions, we struggle to take credit for our achievements and furthermore we struggle to have confidence in both because we’re afraid we’ll come across as arrogant.
With this in mind, it makes sense that when we land that promotion or secure that new amazing role, we dull the sheen by tormenting ourselves with the questions - How did I manage to blag this, and when are they going to realise that I don’t belong here?
Jamilah Simpson - WhiteHat Community President
Confidence has also been a life-long battle for me. I’ve always had an introverted personality, which has sometimes prevented me from achieving some of my goals. Shyness was mostly frowned upon in my school settings, and I was often encouraged to speak up even when I didn’t want to.
Going straight into work after leaving college was a huge jump. I no longer had that security net of being in an environment where I was surrounded by people of similar ages and interests. My confidence was at an all time low during the first couple months of my apprenticeship - I felt so out of place, and didn’t have the courage to do small things like speak up in team meetings.
However, my confidence has grown rapidly over the past year, as I’ve forced myself out of my comfort zone and took on every public speaking opportunity that was thrown my way.
So what’s the cure?
Whether you’re starting out, or established in your career, imposter syndrome may never go away, and your confidence will have its ups and downs, but here are our remedies for managing the symptoms…
Remind yourself there’s no such thing as an accidental promotion or hire. If you’ve bagged a new job, it’s because your new employer can see your potential. If you’ve been promoted it’s because your company sees that you’re ready for a challenge, they trust you and you are valued.
Write yourself an attribute list. It’s a professional spin on a gratitude list and will remind you of all the qualities, skills and achievements that got you to where you are today.
Let go of needing to be the expert. It’s well documented that women over value expertise and believe they need to be an expert in their field to be successful in their jobs. However, If we didn’t feel challenged at times, surely we would have outgrown our role?
Even if you think you can’t do something, don’t say “no” until you’ve tried it. Have faith in yourself and your abilities, and we promise you’ll end up surprising yourself. Remember practice makes perfect.
“Fake it til you make it”. Own the stage and act like you’re confident. No one will ever know if you’re nervous on the inside.
Don’t think you’re the only one who ever feels nervous. I can guarantee that CEOs and Directors of companies still get nervous before delivering a speech, so you’re not in this alone.
Try reframing imposter syndrome and confidence as signs of growth, learning and professional development.
Join us on 22nd July for our next Inspiring Women Series event, where we will be talking to our special guest, Anita Boateng about imposter syndrome and the shared struggle with confidence.
Register for the event here.