Hood Article

Imposter Syndrome

You might remember, or even attended, our first HOOD event in September on Imposter Syndrome. We wanted to get together some of our amazing readers and start the conversation. 30 of us gathered in the lovely Otro and shared our stories, warts and all.

Christina McKelvie MSP was open about how she copes with being a politician, and the support she found from fellow female politicians and the particularly public scrutiny with brutal social media trolls. The amazing Rachel Jackson talked candidly that she felt like being a competition winner and not cast in her own right, or because of her own talent. They both spoke about how the social media world can take the inner imposter chat to a whole new level. Lyndsey Phillips-Greer also shared her rise to President of the Association of Scottish Businesswomen and shying away from recognition from various roles.

Listening to these women could well be enough to spark even the most dormant of imposter feelings to surface but their honestly helped us, and I was so thankful to them for that. Sharing stories normalises these feelings and help us feel less alone.

At the event we spoke more around where imposter syndrome comes from. Is it your upbringing (we were raised by humans, they/we do make mistakes!), your student days, a culture of self-doubt at work? It could be the social crowd you have found yourself in or being a stranger in a strange land. Finding out where it came from, can help you understand it.

Interestingly, my favourite person of the moment, Phoebe Waller Bridge said in a recent podcast that she does not experience imposter syndrome. She said ‘I feel I have a right to be here, and that I am going to do it anyway’. Go PWB, you can’t help but love her! On the other hand, our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also had referenced Imposter Syndrome saying that she does experience it, but that she also believes it helps keep her humble. Yes, there are positive experiences are having it! Both are so useful, and exciting to hear.

So not only should we keep talking about how we experience it and understand where it comes from but, with my coaching hat on, I want to make sure we take action, and start to do something about it. All talk and no action is going to keep us going in circles.

Top tips to take action:

  • Understand it, where did it come from?
  • Be mindful of the tone of your inner voice
  • Keep moving on– men will experience the same imposter feelings, but the main difference is they take action regardless.
  • Celebrate your successes – if you can’t, find people who will.
  • Surround yourself with positive, honest people.

Imposter syndrome is not going away, but we can use it as emotional information and keep going regardless.