Have you ever felt like a fraud or imposter at work? Have you pushed yourself to the point of burnout at work to prove your abilities? In this week’s solo episode, Aoife delves into the debilitating and often concealed issue of Imposter Syndrome, unmasking the causes and symptoms, and reveals how much imposter syndrome costs you.
Long-time podcast listeners will know of Aoife’s love of data and research. Recently Aoife carried out a passion project surveying 266 individuals on Imposter Syndrome, a topic which lies close to her heart. Throughout the discussion, Aoife reveals the key findings from the report, along with some staggering statistics. Further points covered throughout include:
– What is imposter syndrome?
– Common symptoms and triggers of imposter syndrome
– Is there a link between menopause and imposter syndrome?
– Are you holding yourself back at work?
– Is your voice being heard at work?
– How to avoid workplace burnout
– Survey findings: the concerns and themes of thoughts
– The impact of Covid-19 on employee well-being
To access Aoife’s Imposter Syndrome report in full, visit https://impostersyndrome.ie/report to download your free copy.
THE LISTENERS SAY:
Do you have any feedback or thoughts on this discussion? If so, please connect with Aoife via the links below and let her know. Aoife would love to hear from you!
Aoife O’Brien’s Imposter Syndrome Survey Report:
Connect with Happier at Work host Aoife O’Brien:
Aoife O’Brien 00:00
Do you know how much imposter syndrome is costing your business? The thing with imposter syndrome is that we don’t know from the outside who is experiencing imposter syndrome at any given time. On a recent study that I carried out, employees describe their experience of imposter syndrome as feeling really anxious and feeling really stressed. Imposter syndrome is known to be linked with burnout because we tend to want to hide our imposter syndrome by overworking. And another symptom of imposter syndrome is that we’re not sharing our ideas, and so our voices don’t get heard at work. And the company that we work for becomes therefore less innovative. Imposter syndrome occurs at all levels within organisations. And it’s especially prevalent when we start a new role when we start a new company. And it can become really debilitating when we are promoted to a position. If you’d like to know more about the work that I do with organisations when it comes to imposter syndrome to identifying it to managing it to overcoming it, please check out my website Impostersyndrome.ie
You’re listening to the Happier at Work podcast. I’m your host Aoife O’Brien. This is the podcast for leaders who put people first, the podcast covers four broad themes, engagement and belonging, performance and productivity, leadership equity, and the future of work. Everything to do with the Happier at Work podcast relates to employee retention, you can find out more at happieratwork.ie.
Hello, and welcome to this week’s solo episode of the Happier at Work podcast. I’m delighted that you decided to tune in today. And for anyone who knows me a long time knows, I’m a total and absolute nerd when it comes to data and research. I worked in fact, in the market research industry for almost 20 years. I love anything to do with numbers. I love turning data into insights and solving problems. And it’s something I do quite often in my business at the moment. But something I put together recently, as a passion project you might describe it, is all about imposter syndrome, a topic very close to my heart, something I love talking about something. It’s something that I help clients with all the time. And I was really interested to do my own research around this area. So I carried it out earlier this year. And I’ve put together the report on imposter syndrome. And if you would like access to that you can get it on impostersyndrome.ie/report, it’s free to download, and you will get instant access to the report as well. So you can dive in a little bit more detail beyond what I cover on the podcast today. Now, before I go on to share some of the key findings from the report, I wanted to share what one reader shared back with me, which was very humbling, very positive. For me, I absolutely love receiving this type of feedback. But I just wanted to let you know what she thought of the report. And here is what she said, ”What a powerful, impactful presentation and report Aoife. What blows my mind about imposter syndrome is how common it is, how we normalise these feelings, and how it prevents us in so many ways from chasing our dreams. The presentation is excellent, very easy to follow and the main points highlighted brilliantly. I really enjoyed reading it”. I was absolutely thrilled to get that feedback because it did take a lot of blood, sweat and tears, a lot of time and effort on my part to put together something that is essentially it’s a free resource for people to use, if they want to reference back to it in relation to understanding imposter syndrome a little bit more. And the solutions to imposter syndrome as well. I have to admit, as well that when I was putting together the report, it was quite triggering for me, it was very upsetting to read all of these capable people and how they were holding themselves back by telling themselves these stories about how they’re not good enough, how they don’t belong, how they’ll never be good enough how it’s too late to do anything about it. All of these kinds of things. It was actually quite distressing for me. But it also reinforces the reason why I do the work that I do. And oftentimes when I speak publicly about imposter syndrome, the feedback I get is that we don’t talk about it often enough. So I’m trying to bring this back onto the agenda help people to understand what it is and what they can do about it. Now I’m going to dive into some of the key findings from the report. Now, if you want to download the report yourself, you’ll find it on impostersyndrome.ie /report
Of the respondents, so there were 266 people who took part in this survey and 90% of respondents suffer from imposter syndrome. And that was a shocking number to me. Typically, the numbers that we hear about are around 70%. But to see the number 90%, and that’s people who have suffered in the past, or who are currently suffering from imposter syndrome. I always do wonder about the percentage who have never experienced imposter syndrome, in this case, the 10%. So I do always wonder about those people. A question I often get is the difference between men and women. And it’s typically associated with women that we think that it’s only women who experience imposter syndrome. And this may be because the original research that was done was on women academics, and we always tend to associate it with women. But in fact, men and women experience imposter syndrome. And that also came through from the results. Now, when you dive in a little bit deeper, when you dig a little bit deeper into the results, looking at things like level, the results change, the results vary between men and women. If you want to know more about that, you’re very welcome to download the report impostersyndrome.ie/report. And another question I got from a reader, which I had a look into over the weekend was this idea of a relationship between menopause and imposter syndrome. And the beauty about conducting this research myself was I was able to dig back into my spreadsheet, I was able to have a look at the numbers and see if there was a relationship between I had a look at things like age, and being a woman, and imposter syndrome incidents. And actually, I couldn’t find a direct relationship between those factors. I looked also at the triggers of imposter syndrome and see where it actually comes from. Now, typically, imposter syndrome tends to strike at anytime there is a change. So when we’re getting out of our comfort zone, and the research I carried out confirms this, things like starting in a new company, starting a new job or being promoted, they tend to be the biggest triggers of imposter syndrome, among this sample of respondents. I also looked at the impact of imposter syndrome. And something that came up again and again was this idea of procrastination. So when you’re procrastinating on either on tasks or on decision making, and that can have a huge impact on businesses, when people are afraid to make those crucial decisions at work. Another thing that came up is not speaking up or not sharing your opinion during team meetings. And another thing that came up again and again, was burnout. So people are overworking to compensate for the fact that they feel like imposters and they don’t want to get caught out. So they continue to work and they work longer hours in order to cover themselves in order to make it look like they know what they’re doing when oftentimes that actually has the opposite effect. Some of the other things that I looked at them when it came to imposter syndrome, what the kind of thoughts that people have, when they feel like they have imposter syndrome, or when they’re feeling like imposters, when they’re feeling really Fraudy, I looked at the various different thoughts and I grouped them into different themes as well. So you can find out more about those in the report. I also looked at the behaviors. And again, going back to this idea of procrastination, that was an overarching theme. As a as a reaction as a behavior associated with imposter syndrome. I also look at other types of behaviors like playing small, and things like that. I also looked at the top concerns that are associated with imposter syndrome. And scarily, one of the big things that I came across from that was people are worried that it will come back again. So if they’ve experienced imposter syndrome in the past, they know how they felt at the time, they know how debilitating it was, and how soul destroying it was for them. And they’re worried that it’s going to come back. And I couldn’t have done this report without including some reference to COVID-19. And the impact that COVID had on feelings of imposter syndrome, especially when people are working remotely. They’re spending much more of their time perhaps alone or isolated from their team. They’re not getting that feedback that is so inherent in teams when are working together in offices. And this may have had a detrimental impact on imposter syndrome. So I also looked at that. I wanted to remind you again of where you can access the full details of the report, you’ll you’ll be able to access that on imposter syndrome.ie/report, and you’ll be able to download and access the report straight away from that web address. Now in continuing the conversation, I would love for you to get involved. I will be posting all about this on social media, the best places to reach me are on LinkedIn you can follow me Aoife O’Brien on LinkedIn connected me to the website happieratwork.ie or on Instagram happieratwork.ie and I look forward to continuing the conversation with you there.
That was another episode of the Happier at Work podcast. I am so glad you tuned in today. If you enjoy today’s podcast, I would love to get your thoughts head on over to social media to get involved in the conversation. If you enjoy the podcast, I would love if you could rate, review it or share it with a friend. If you want to know more about what I do or how I could help your business head on over to happieratwork.ie