Impostor syndrome shows up differently for each season of the Career Growth Cycle.
You are currently in
of the career growth cycle.
This means you are ready to move on to a new role, though you haven’t yet decided what to do next.
Your playbook is designed to help you feel confident making a big career decision.
The Career Growth cycle has four seasons:
- Spring: Starting a new job or position
- Summer: Deepening your expertise & leadership
- Autumn: Deciding on your next best step
- Winter: Actively seeking new opportunities
The Ditch Impostor Syndrome Playbook:
Take on a new challenge or a new position and do so with confidence.
When you’re in the autumn season of your career, it’s easy to "let fear hold you back" (as one client put it). You want to bust through your comfort zone, but you're not letting yourself take massive action.
You want to do amazing things in your career. You want to take on the next challenge.
You want to make meaningful impact.
And because you care so much, the fear of failure or making a mistake can create a “freeze” reaction. The difficulty is that it can create a lot of problems.
Do any of these "client confessions" sound familiar?
- “I was asked to apply for a director position for which I'm not qualified - I know I'm not but they still want me. I don't know how to embrace this challenge with so much doubt inside and outside of me!"
- “I need to not have the voice in my head successfully second guessing me and my supporters."
- “I’m currently expanding out of my comfort zone as I gradually career transition at 48. So as I’m busting through at our if my comfort zone, my imposter has revisited me."
Here's the thing...
You know in your heart of hearts that you’re ready
to take on a new challenge.
You’re likely a subject matter expert in your field - maybe you've even been in the same role for 5+ years. You get positive feedback and have been told you have support to move onto the next level or challenge.
There’s just this little bug in your brain that sometimes pokes you and says something like “what if you try something new and you fall on your face??.”
At the end of the day, you’re here because you know that "impostor syndrome" is often your mind playing tricks on you.
And even when it's not simply in your mind... I'm here to tell you that there is a whole lot of unconscious bias that feeds into any self-doubt you're experiencing.
Here's what no one tells you about "impostor syndrome".
Impostor syndrome isn't just in your head.
It's also rooted in pervasive unconscious biases, systems of oppression and negative external messages.
"impostor syndrome" is not your fault.
In fact... Impostor syndrome is completely understandable once we realize that sensitive professionals are caught between thoughts of self-doubt (which are incredibly common), pervasive bias and organizational fear of failure.
So let’s talk about three strategies to help you ditch impostor syndrome as you plan to take on a new challenge.
Strategy 1: Express your thoughts + emotions
If there’s one documented truth about how to combat impostor thoughts, it’s the importance of talking about them openly with a trusted mentor, friend or colleague.
Expressing your impostor thoughts is one of the BEST ways to overcome them.
Talk it out and share your experience. You'll feel less alone, plus it normalizes this very universal experience of the little fear bug entering our brain.
Impostor thoughts grow more powerful the longer they stay in your mind. When you express the fear, the doubt, and the totally absurd thoughts, you deprive them of that power.
But I know how hard it is to start those conversations. What do you say? Will the person think you’re irrational… or worse yet, maybe they’d even confirm the worst fears that roam your brain.
Here’s what I want you to know.
When you open up about a vulnerable topic like impostor thoughts, you not only help overcome those thoughts, but you’ll also create a deeper relationship.
And you know what’s a really, really, simple way to start the conversation?
Tell them “Hey, so I was reading a recent article about impostor syndrome, and it said that one of the best ways to get rid of impostor thoughts was to talk about them out loud. What do you think about that?”
It's a very simple question ("what do you think about that") that will quickly tell you whether this can become a rich conversation OR that they’re not interested in talking about it.
And all without making it a big deal :)
If they’re on board with it, you can then tell them that the author also gave some conversation prompts to talk about it.
Then, use these questions to kick start a meaningful conversation that will also help normalize and reduce the impostor thoughts:
STRATEGY 2: Connect with your values.
When you’re having impostor thoughts, you’re usually caught up in your head.
Overthinking, worrying, wondering what might go wrong and what people will think.
Instead, I want you to go back to your core values. Remind yourself of what motivates you to do what you’re doing. Use this to fuel yourself to push past the discomfort.
And also remember who you’re helping.
You are here for a reason. What you’re doing matters. Instead of letting your mind dwell on the fear of what might go wrong for you, focus on the impact you’re having on others.
Need help to identify your values?
Get my worksheet to identify your 5 core values.
The reason this works is because it focuses your brain on the positive, instead of your fears.
Thinking about your values gets you to think about how you want to show up in the world in a more powerful way.
Looking for more insight into positive psychology? Check out this TedTalk about the secret to happiness at work.
Strategy 3: Let It Go.
I call this the Frozen approach to showing up powerfully.
The next time you start ruminating or feeling anxious about whether you’re going to make a mistake, channel your inner Elsa and start humming, “Let it go…. Let it go…”
Let go of the unreasonably high expectations you’re setting for yourself.
Let go of overthinking and beating yourself up for making a mistake.
Let go of worrying about what people might say if you trip up.
Instead -- embrace yourself for WHO YOU ARE.
>You are meant to be in the room.
>>You are meant to be at the table.
>>>You are meant to have your voice heard.
So get out there and step into a leadership position.
You’re meant to lead.
Hi, I'm Liz!
I'm a leadership & career development coach for purpose-driven professionals who dream of rising to executive level. I specialize in helping introverted, quiet and highly sensitive professionals feel confident speaking up for themselves…. even if they work in tough, fast-paced or stressful working environments.
My vision is that everyone should feel excited, motivated and proud of the work they do. Everyone deserves to have a meaningful career making an impact on the world around them. I also believe we need greater diversity in the rooms where decisions are being made.
We need your voice and your ideas. We need your presence. We need you.
I’m all about helping you feel energized, motivated and confident showing up with a powerful presence, no matter what chaos swirls around you.
I want you to advance your career with more joy, less stress and a whole lot of impact.
Everything I do is about helping you get there.
Wondering what's next?
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I run a group coaching program, the Powerful Presence Society. It's all about developing your leadership presence in a way that builds authentic relationships, enhances professional confidence and grows your strategic thinking skills. Learn about the program and book an enrollment call here!
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Want to binge listen to podcast episodes for the Autumn Season?
Check out these recent episodes from UnRuley Leadership that are perfect for the Autumn Season of the career growth cycle.