Imposter Syndrome be damned – I know with certainty I am Awesome

As an OD practitioner I spend my time trying to work out why people behave the way that they do. To do my job, you have to spend A LOT of time on reflection and developing self-awareness, and that means working out why I behave the way I do to.

For a long time I struggled with imposter syndrome. Why? Well turns out that our upbringing has a big impact on how we see ourselves. Long story, short – my Mum once told me that she only had me to try and save her marriage with my Dad, “and you didn’t even manage to get that right.” Enough said.

My twenty-year old self suffered chronically from the imposter syndrome. I spent so many hours trying to pretend I was good enough, but my internal reality was that I was not good enough. I exhausted myself trying to prove I was good enough by working all hours to demonstrate that I was worthy of having a job. This culminated in me being forced to take time off work with work related stress.

I learnt a valuable lesson to not let perfect get in the way of good.

My thirty-year-old self was still highly strung, but having two kids means reality sets in and standards of what ‘should be’ have to be balanced with what can be managed, whether physically, emotionally or mentally. Having to go back to work meant that if I was going to be away from my kids, I wanted to do something that I loved. I went through a career change having discovered my ‘talent’ for people development, and although the self-doubt lingered my confidence in my professional self grew as I played my talent and developed my capabilities. The more I was able to work in my area of talent, the smaller the inner imposter voice became.

I learnt the joy of being free to be me at work.

I was like a bird un-caged until a narcissistic psychopathic line manager bullied me. it’s a far longer story than I have time for in this blog post, but suffice to say I was once asked by a counsellor who my boss reminded me of, and my immediate response, without hesitation was “My Mother.” I could not do right for doing wrong.

I learnt what really mattered and to let go of what was expected of me.

Eventually it came to head, and after a long period of recovery from mental illness I began to emerge. I left corporate life and set up my own business. The business began well, until I hit a 9-month long work drought, which nearly resulted in us losing everything. Part of my identity was as a successful businesswoman, so imagine the warring imposter syndrome when my own business failed and I had to borrow money off my family to close it down and avoid bankruptcy. Over time I began to realise that what had failed was the part of me that was pretending to be something I was not.

I discovered I no longer had to pretend to be someone I was not.

The day after I sent the papers to company house to shut the business down, I started to get work, and I have not stopped since. From that moment, my life and work got better and better.

Now I am in my forties, I have a fabulous life, part of which is work that brings me immense joy and satisfaction. Today I am in a position where I feel that I am valued for who I am, not just the work I do.

I also know with certainty I am AWESOME.

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