Many years ago, I read a book by respected journalist (and later MP) Martin Bell. Amongst all his fascinating experiences and insightful analysis, there was one little bit which jumped out at me as a revelation.
He said he was always waiting for the moment when someone realised that he didn’t know what he was talking about.
What?! But surely it was only me who thought that? Only me who thought that any moment my cover was going to be blown and I was going to be exposed as a total fraud.
It was a marvellous moment to read this in Bell’s book. This multi-award winning journalist, respected by his peers and audiences, had the same concerns as me. I was “normal”!
Imposter Syndrome is a recognised condition that happens to most of us at some point and has been discussed by people with far more knowledge about the science of it than me. My knowledge comes simply from my own experience of those “who, me?” moments. But the important thing is that it is not my issue - as the marvellous, Award-winning musician Tim Minchin said in his excellent interview on the Inside the West End podcast, anyone who says they haven’t experienced imposter syndrome is lying.
It can pop up when you least expect it and the trick is to not let it get in your way.
Acknowledge what is happening and then keep going, using it as energy to power through.
Look back on your successes.
Acknowledge your individual, unique experiences and insights.
And a tip I have used when standing up to address a group: “I know 5% more than you do about this.”
And if the people in the room do actually know better than you, then it is a marvellous opportunity to embrace that and to learn!
If this has struck a chord with you and you want support in getting passed this or other issues, check out how we could work together and get in touch.