#4: When warriors turn into imposters

In my last blog post I was writing about how warriors turn into worriers.

That side of high achievers, especially women, that are their biggest critics to themselves. In my work and also in my own career and being, I’ve been noticing another pattern that sits next to Mrs. Worrier. It is called the Imposter Syndrome.

As an Imposter you tend to feel like a Fraud.

I recall one of my last conversations with a multi-talented and powerful women who was managing a complex organizational transition in a – what we call – hardship country.

She: When I started my role, I’ve never been managing a team before. I’m an expert in my field, grew a ten year career and managed projects at large scale. Never a team. Jumping into the role and on top of it doing it all in a new country was rough.

Instead of seeing what experience brought me here, I only focused for a year on everything that was new for me. I felt like I didn’t have a career of ten years before and started all over again. That feeling of being foreign, alone in the country and new to the role, overwhelmed me for over a year.

No wonder I rushed my team and did not take time to connect with them.

Executive Woman – Multinational in CEE

When we digged deeper into the results she created after one year actually, we saw that – despite feeling like an imposter for over a year – she created quite some remarkable results. The results were there. What was missing was her joy during the ride and also a team, that was united working for the same vision.

It is normal to feel like an imposter when you start in a new role. Especially, when this new role is also in a new country and you literally need to dive into your new organization but also into all the different cultural nuances. I’d say: Everyone feels like an imposter, if you take on a role that is a new challenge for you.

Respect keeps you growing. You are outside of your comfort zone and create a new comfort zone. What might differentiate women is that there is research that women tend to feel like imposters for quite some time. So, instead of processing your new role and working with your fears at the beginning of a new assignment only, you find yourself still struggling after a year.

Tell me – when did you feel the last time like an imposter? What cured you? Is there a cure ?