What is imposter syndrome?
Imposters syndrome is essentially the feeling of being a fraud.
Feeling like you don't fit in a certain situation or the success or knowledge of the people around you, compared to your own, makes you feel like you don't deserve to be in the room – whether that's true or not.
And it often isn't true.
Questions like: 'I still can't believe they let ME do this,' or, 'Why did they let me in?' or, 'It's only a matter of time before they work out that I'm the wrong person for the job' begin to swirl around your head, like water circling the plug hole in the bath.
But, Farillio is all about empowerment... making you realise that you are good enough, you can do it. You've got this.
We're here to help put that plug in to stop the whirlpool of doubts and give you some great tips to help settle your mind, and your nerves.
So read on to learn what Jen shared with us during her interview, and hopefully her experience and tips can help you overcome any underconfidence you may have in your own business journey.
How would you define imposter syndrome?
Feeling like a fraud in a situation, like I don’t belong and not qualified or entitled to be there through my own judgement and self-doubt.
How has it affected you in the past and how does it still affect you?
It’s a regular feeling.
I first felt it in the management roles I held in my previous hospitality career, “What the hell am I doing running a Michelin star restaurant!?”
I definitely experience it more regularly now I’m a freelancer. Social media has a wonderful way of making us feel like everyone else has it all together and knows what they’re doing with their life. I had it really bad at the Freelance Heroes event in May, surrounded by so many incredible, established professionals, I felt like I had no place being there. Oddly, I experience it the most on LinkedIn.
How to overcome imposter syndrome
What are some of the ways that you try to overcome it?
Being mindful of my own journey, trying not to compare to others, and reminding myself no-one has it 100% together – we’ve all got our strengths and struggles.
What would be your top tips for others that currently have that feeling of being an imposter?
I try to say some positive affirmations to reconfirm to myself I am just as deserving to take up space in a place as anyone else. Almost like the kind of pep talk you’d give a best friend if they were full of self-doubt.
Do you think that, now it’s becoming a more widely discussed topic, the issue is slowly being resolved?
It’s definitely being more widely discussed, but I think it’s still pretty vague and undercover. It normally comes up retrospectively in conversation rather than something openly admitted and addressed at the moment when it’s being experienced. There’s not a lot talked about how to own it or handle it in a situation.
How to overcome underconfidence
Imposter syndrome and confidence go hand in hand – could you tell us about your experience in that and how you overcome a feeling of underconfidence at work?
I’m an introvert and confidence doesn’t come naturally to me. Although I would say I’m probably more confident in my career persona than personally.
When I was employed, having a uniform was almost like having confidence armour. Now I’m freelance, I adopt a mental uniform or mindset, which really helps. If I want to be a confident business owner, I put that head on to think like a confident business owner and try to channel those thoughts and feelings.
What would be your tips for becoming more confident?
I’ve got 3 tips that I always adopt when I need to be confident...
Thinking about what the alternative would be, which in a business situation would mean not standing out or being taken seriously.
Trying to channel someone who I think is really confident and embodying them carries me through (my person revealed in the last question).
And the last is power pants. Investing in some great underwear that holds really well is an instant boost and is like the superman cape ready to go under my pedestrian clothes.
You recently gave a talk about confidence, what kind of things did you speak about?
My journey from being a really shy timid teenager to now running my own freelance business and pitching for investment on a new project, through (a lot of) adversity.
To me, confidence is energy – what you give and what you receive. I’ve been in a lot of situations where other people’s energy has smothered my confidence and really dimmed my light. Now, my confidence has grown and on the whole, my light is shining bright.
I’ve found it a sliding scale that changes depending on what’s going on in my life. Now, I probably see it as a bit of a superpower I can switch on and off when I need it.
What was the kind of feedback that you got from this talk? Did people relate?
It was phenomenal. The people I spoke to were all inspired by how much I’ve overcome. I even inspired one of the other speakers to openly discuss a traumatic event she’d been through and how it has affected her confidence journey.
Lastly, what is one takeaway line/quote/motto that always helps you when you are feeling like an imposter or not confident?
“What would Ru Paul do?” is something I have written in my diary and regularly refer back to or chant under my breath.
Thank you so much to Jen for being so honest with all her answers – and here at Farillio, we'll be investing in some magic positivity pants! It was wonderful getting such a clear insight into how imposter syndrome has affected her and the tips she uses to help battle it! We really hope you loved this as much as we do and found her tips useful!