Few of us are comfortable accepting compliments and swiftly brush them off. Many in PR, media and communication roles are happier being out of the spotlight in the background beavering away. It is where I have been for most of my working life. After more than two decades in that position I am in an unsettling position.
I may have mentioned it more than once that I have written a book and I am very proud of that achievement. But I am also faced with putting myself into the spotlight to talk about the book and make people aware of it and what it covers. I know I have to take the opportunities that arise and yet it prompts me to introspection.
Before long I, like many people, start feeling the ‘imposter syndrome’. There is a lot that has been written and spoken about this phenomenon and I am sure most people feel it at some point. We are just not comfortable in blowing our own trumpet. I have wondered whether it is something that is suffered by women more than men? But I have concluded that I think women are more happy to openly speak about it. I am sure many men have had that moment where they feel inadequate.
I still find it surprising that people are interested in what I have to say. When I started this blog almost a decade ago (something I think I need to celebrate on its birthday) it was done for me alone. Slowly people started to follow, read and give me feedback. I still write it more for me than anyone else. I think what is it that I would find helpful, interesting or entertaining to talk about and then I sit and write.
When I wrote the book I just wanted to share the knowledge and experience that I had because I know I would have found it really useful. I love to read other people’s books, articles and blogs as there is always something you can learn and take away. In the past 10 weeks I have started to realise that imposter syndrome is fine provided you can manage and deal with it.
There is a huge amount that is written about imposter syndrome and I recently found that there are online courses looking at the phenomenon and how to deal with it. I don’t have any magic formula as look many I still come face to face with it. I think the first thing to do is to recognise that you are feeling it and that it is in no way a weakness to have those feelings.
If you are doing things your way then you will feel out of place but that doesn’t mean that you are not worthy or you are doing something wrong. You are simply doing things your own way and that is important.
Remember that you are not infalliable no-one is. You will get things wrong. Every day we do things that we would do differently if we faced them again. It is part of being human and part of learning and developing. Focus on the positive things and what you have done well, what you have achieved and the great things about you. That can be tough to do but your friends and family will help.
Finally, remember you are not an imposter you are just you living your life the best way you can. You do amazing things every day. You carve out your own path. You pick yourself up and learn along the way. Everyone has their own story and learning that they can and should share. Today may just be your day to be the one sharing it.
I may never be really comfortable to be in the spotlight but one thing I am becoming more comfortable with is being me when I have to do it. The real me – straight-talking, Northern and passionate about PR and communication.
Let me know how you have overcome any feelings of Imposter Syndrome.