Archives for the month of: April, 2016

Welcome to the third part of our Imposter Syndrome series.

In part 1 we talked about what Imposter Syndrome is, the fact you’re in good company and its relationship with perfectionism.

In part 2 we talked about how to move past Imposter Syndrome.

In this final part of the series we talk about cultural shifts. How can we create workplace cultures in which it’s ok to be yourself?  How do we help our people avoid feeling like they don’t belong or that they don’t deserve to be there?  In short, how do we minimize feelings of fear or shame in the workplace, and instead cultivate creativity, innovation and empathy?

Embracing diversity

One of the reasons I think some successful individuals struggle with Imposter Syndrome is because they look around at other successful people, and unconsciously think ‘but they don’t look like me’. Industries often have a stereotype of what success looks like, and that becomes problematic when you don’t fit that mould.  There are so many reasons to embrace diversity in your organization, and this is another one to add to the list.  It makes business sense – if you want people to contribute their full range of talents, you need to break the stereotype of what success looks like in human form in your workplace.

Action: Do you know your diversity challenges, goals and strategy?

Embrace imperfection

Do you have a culture in which it is understood that mistakes happen?  Or that failure is an occasional consequence of pushing boundaries and innovative thinking?  Or do mistakes have high consequences and failures are dismissed or hidden under the carpet? We need to remember that to be human is to be not perfect.  We are all imperfect. Our mistakes and struggles make us what we are – the learning we gain from that experience is what enriches us.

Action: Consider how you collectively view failure, could you turn it into something to be celebrated and learnt from?

Embracing vulnerable leadership

Finally, I’m a huge advocate of vulnerable leadership.  I believe that it’s through our openness about what we don’t know and what we struggle with where, sometimes, we can make our biggest impact as a leader.  If you have any type of managerial or leadership responsibility then you have an important role to play in influencing how, and whether, others succumb to it.

A female CEO of a large advertising agency said publicly, when she was offered the role, that she felt nervous and she had loads to learn. It’s difficult to imagine many men doing that, don’t you think? But more importantly, in one sentence she made it possible for every single employee in that company to step out of their comfort zone, to move beyond their Imposter Syndrome, and go for it. For me, that is the epitome of leadership.

Action: Role model vulnerable leadership. Don’t be afraid to show that sometimes you are uncertain, have taken risks or expose yourself emotionally. People want real.



We hope you have enjoyed the series on Imposter Syndrome. We offer workshops in organisations to help your teams understand how they might be holding themselves back and to navigate this phenomenon.

Please get in touch with to find out more.

Love Rox

P.S. To learn more about emotional resilience, picking yourself up after set backs, and being with difficulty,  book onto our next two day Rising Strong workshop on 20th April and 11th May. Click here to book your place.
To learn more about vulnerable leadership and the gifts of imperfection, book now to attend one of our Daring Way™ intensives. Click here.

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This week we’d like to share a piece by one of our associate coaches – Hannah Massarella CPCC.

‘I’ve been talking to clients and partner organisations a lot lately about resilience. Resilience is about being able to ‘weather the storm’ in difficult times, resilience is about being able to continue with something that is highly challenging, without it impacting your wellbeing.

Resilience is also about walking away from something that doesn’t serve you, and dealing with the fall out from making that choice.

Life throws up a million different situations that require resilience. And sometimes as a response it seems easier to put on some metaphorical armour, to close up, shut down and power through. But in the long run this ‘battle’ perspective shuts you off from life. By armouring up to deal with the challenges you also become cut off from new connections, it becomes more difficult to feel peaceful and compassionate. Judgement and rejection end up ruling.

I advocate an alternative approach to resilience. The work I do with clients and organisations uses self-care as a route to resilience. Self-care to me, is about paying attention to how we feel and the kinds of conversations we have with ourselves. Self-care is about identifying gremlin thoughts, learning how to ‘be with’ every emotion, getting clear on personal purpose and values and acknowledging and owning all of our skills and attributes.

I used to work with a particularly challenging colleague, she brought up a number of emotions in me and my response was to avoid her at all costs. That approach contributed to my burn out. If I’d have known and been practising what I now know, I might have been able to weather that particular storm from a stronger place of self-belief, I would have found it easier to ‘be with’ the difficult emotions that came up every time she spoke to me.

Challenging situations at work and in life, will always come up (unless we decide to live in a hole). Challenging situations come up with an enhanced level of stress when you are pushing boundaries and working against the odds. Armouring up leads to suppression of emotion, which leads to sickness and burn out, so in reality a self-caring approach to resilience is the only answer.

So how do you stay resilient to life’s struggles?’

*Image by Levi Morsy