As you sit at that Boardroom table ready to make your pitch or walk into that conference wondering if you wore the right outfit or approach that lectern to deliver the company’s annual results just remember this – You, my friend, have been faking it, big time. You really have no idea what you are doing and it is only a matter of time before someone comes up and taps you on the shoulder and quietly asks you to leave the room without making a scene.
Why, oh why, do incredibly talented women even indulge in Imposter Syndrome? My theory – we caught it after we became mums.
Personally, I have literally been winging motherhood with daily self doubt from the day I found out I was pregnant 21 years ago. Am I a good mum? Will my kids have friends? Am I present enough? Are they happy? Am I setting the right boundaries? Do other people think I’m a good mum? Am I a good mum? There is certainly plenty of evidence I can call on to bolster my self doubt. Let’s take what I fondly refer to as the emergency hospital years: across my (active) kids there were seven broken bones in all (one of my sons had three broken arms before the age of three). My kids are also literally stitched and glued together. On one memorable day I had two separate trips to the hospital first for my oldest, and then for my youngest, to have them both stitched up after different accidents. The triage nurses knew my name.
Add to that the fact that, unlike in your professional career where, while every Tom, Dick and Harry might have an opinion of your capability but are unlikely to voice it to you, it seems that with motherhood the gloves come off and everyone you have ever met (or not met…just think of that woman in the supermarket queue telling you how to control your overtired toddler who is prostrate on the floor), everyone has an opinion that they are more than happy to share.
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