What a year to take on a significant leadership role! There have been moments when I have wondered whether to laugh or cry about it- usually, I end up doing both. The past few months have been filled with intense decision making, learning curves and challenges. I have recognised a familiar undercurrent in the midst of this. “Who am I to be in this role, making these decisions and plans? They’re going to figure out that I’m not who they think I am.” Imposter syndrome alive and well in my mind.
I know that a sense of inadequacy is a common experience in leadership. The more I listen to other leaders’ stories, the more I am convinced that it never fully goes away. That might sound discouraging but it actually gives me hope. If incredible leaders that I look up to still feel this way at times and can still have the impact that they do then it doesn’t disqualify me either. That truth robs the imposter syndrome of its power to hold me back as long as I remember it.
The other truth that I hold on to is that I am a work in progress. The reality is that I am not yet the leader I want to be and need to be to fulfil the dreams and vision I have. I am growing and learning. I am working on consistency in the small day to day choices that add up. Imposter syndrome would have me believe that this means I cannot lead now, that I have to ‘have it all together’ first. I will not listen to that thought. I hope you don’t either.
The impact of believing the lies of imposter syndrome
What dreams have been left unrealised because of those lies? You are not the only person affected by that loss. You may be the one with the disappointment of a buried idea. However, the people around you and maybe even around the world are the ones that have been robbed of the impact of it.
Putting together these words is a way for me to bring these hidden thoughts into the light where they lose their power. I choose to focus on truth and what the next right step is in front of me. Acknowledge the thoughts and feelings but make choices on the truth. This is my aim. I invite you to do the same. Find someone that you can share with. Bring that imposter syndrome out of its hiding place. Recognise the impact that it has had and start to take steps forward as if those thoughts are lies.
I share more on this in a chapter of my book ‘Stepping Up In Leadership‘.