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Recognising & Fighting Imposter Syndrome Event Report

Recently we had the privilege of co-hosting the latest Women with Ambition breakfast event on ‘Recognising & Fighting Imposter Syndrome’ in collaboration with the Irish Chamber of Commerce.

With a fantastic panel of speakers including Moria Lynam, Head of Human Resources at Noble group, Sharon Au, Publisher at Elle Magazine, Victoria Mintey, Facilitator & Coach at Victoria Mintey Pty Ltd and Hayden Majajas, Asia Pacific Head of D&I at Bloomberg, lots of insight and advice was shared on such a crucial career advancement topic.

Imposter Syndrome is a topic that is not often spoken about and this is mainly due to it being under the mental health umbrella. Imposter Syndrome is a phenomenon that affects many female executives around the globe even when they have everything going for them. The likes of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook have spoken about her struggles with Imposter Syndrome as well as actress Emma Watson; and comedian Tina Fey.

In the panel discussion, the following areas were highlighted:

How does Imposter Syndrome begin?

  • It can often start when you are successful at what you do but feel overwhelmed at work as you’re constantly in overdrive and have high expectations of yourself.

  • Being told to tone yourself down and not being able to truly be yourself

Signs of Imposter Syndrome

  • Fear of failure

  • Afraid to speak out your ideas

  • Finding it difficult to accept praise or positive feedback

  • Have a tendency to discount your success

  • Unable to display confidence

  • You’re convinced that you’re not good enough

  • Overworking yourself

Ways to overcome the syndrome

  • Find the right language: If you’re not comfortable verbalising your ideas in a meeting, try finding the right language and a comfortable setting and communicate in the most appropriate way to help unlock yourself. This is not easy but you will need to try and challenge yourself to be courageous and harness the feeling of fear.

  • Be authentic: Don’t compare yourself with how other people speak or present, you are you and by being your true self, only you will be able to express the way you feel is right.

  • Accept yourself: To be comfortable and confident in your own skin, you need to be able to fully accept yourself for who you are.  Surround yourself in an environment where you have supporters who will help you all the way.

  • Practice makes perfect: Like in anything you do, the more you practice the more you are able to perfect that pitch you’ve been pushing back on doing. Rehearse in front of the mirror, family, colleagues and get feedback on areas that need improving. Ask whether you are using the right language or if you sound overconfident.

  • Replace the word ‘but’ with ‘and’: Often the word ‘but’ comes with negativity. Try replacing it with ‘and’ and show how you can add value to the current topic.

  • Only you: Unfortunately no one else can help you but yourself. You need to want to improve for any changes to happen. Try writing down your achievements and go into the conversation with the positives and this will help you to set yourself up in a comfortable position.

The event feedback shared by our audience was overwhelming and now Ambition are launching a survey to further highlight this Syndrome.  
We hope to share the results with business leaders, training teams and HR practitioners within the organisations we recruit for to allow them to allow for coaching and mentoring on this potentially career limiting barrier.

The survey will be launched shortly.

Many thanks to all those who attended our event and a particular thanks to our wonderful speakers.

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