The sun is shining, the sky is bright, the future is……………. A great big blank!


Ever had that feeling? I use this picture a lot, despite this being taken on a glorious day when all was good in my world, as it also represents times in my life when there has been unspecified opportunity to my right and yet a shadow of uncertainty, trepidation and yes, I’ll admit a great big dollop of Impostor Syndrome to my right! Sound familiar?

Imposter syndrome is not a diagnosable mental condition. Instead, the term is usually narrowly applied to intelligence and achievement, although it also has links to perfectionism and the social context. Psychologists Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose Clance first used this term in the 1970s in their study of professional women in a clinical setting, tho roll forward a few decades and we now know that IS isn’t that fussy about who/where it turns up and can be experienced by any gender, in any sector at any time. Does this mean it’s inevitable? My thoughts are probably yes if you are an ambitious individual, who feels okay about getting out of your comfort zone and sliding or even sideways crab stepping into your stretch zone. BUT Impostor syndrome is a battle that you can, and with practice, will win.

Where to start?

  1. Stare down your IS monster by continually gathering evidence of achievement/success.
  2. “Every day’s a school day” keep a daily reflective journal-capturing things that worked (how/why/what) and things that didn’t (how/why/what and what you learned from that experience).
  3. Listen out for your internal IS dialogue-contradict, answer back with “prove it”, don’t accept “you screwed up last time” remember you will have learned from that (see point 2)-maybe best to do all of this in private!
  4. Build a success plan, define clearly what success will look like and start plotting your own map to get there.
  5. Find yourself a trusted mentor-a realist, someone happy to admit to their past failings but one more focussed on helping you navigate your route to success

And of course, there’s always the bright side: The hidden upside of imposter syndrome – BBC Worklife

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