Imposter syndrome has followed my throughout my career in tech, originally rearing its head when I was 24 years old. I was in my second job, a cutting edge digital tech business in London, and whilst I was the 2IC for a new start-up business division, I was the only women anywhere near the boardroom at this time. A few years later, having been promoted to the role of Commercial Director and overseeing a multi-million pound PNL, I was the only woman in the boardroom. This planted the seed of doubt in my head that I didn’t belong and wasn’t worthy to be there. I had no concept of imposter syndrome at that time, so I felt like a complete fraud and thought it was only a matter of time before I was "found out"!
When you are in a field, such as tech, which has huge under-representation for women (as well as other groups), imposter syndrome can really lower your confidence. But it needn’t. Knowing about, and understanding imposter syndrome is a big part of overcoming it. It was only a couple of years ago when I built my own business, that I felt worthy of my role and proud of my achievements. I wish I had learnt of Imposter Syndrome early on in my career as I would have been able to take steps to lessen its effect on my career.
Things you can do to overcome imposter syndrome:
1. Understand imposter syndrome and what it is.
2. Understand why you might have imposter syndrome i.e if you work in the field of technology and your demo is under-represented at a top level. It’s entirely normal to feel like an imposter – but you deserve to be there!
3. Work on your resilience and response to failure: i.e learn from your inevitable mistakes and move on quickly.
4. Change the narrative in your head: go from “wait until everyone finds out I’m a fraud!” to “I may not know all the answers, but I’m smart enough to find them out”
5. Visualize success: instead of picturing impending disaster, picture nailing that speech or presentation, to help with performance related stress.
In addition, let everyone you know further down their careers about imposter syndrome! Knowledge is power!