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In this episode, Michel invites you to join the conversation she is having with fellow UpSkillers on imposter syndrome.
It’s a frank conversation with leaders sharing personal stories on how imposter syndrome impacts them, how it’s showing up in their lives and their feelings about it.
In addition, they share openly about how our their work environments are fostering the feeling of imposter syndrome as well as supporting them to reduce it.
Michel invites you to reflect on how imposter syndrome is showing up in your life and the role of your environments in fostering or helping to reduce imposter syndrome in your life.
Please go to UpSkillCommunity.com to review show notes and join a community of leaders investing in better understanding themselves so they can address the imposter syndrome in their work and lives.
In this episode, I’m inviting you to join the conversation I’m having with fellow upskilled. Diana MacIntyre. Khadim Layla. Tiffany Casta and Peter Wallfall. We are talking about imposter syndrome and how it impacts us, how it’s showing up in our lives. And our feelings about it. And what we’re going to do about it. Most importantly, we are talking about how our environments are fostering. The feeling of imposter syndrome in our lives. As well as environments that are supporting us to reduce this feeling. We’re inviting you to reflect on how is showing up in your life and the role of your environments in fostering imposter syndrome in your life or in helping you to reduce this feeling
welcome to UpSkill Talks brought to you by McGraw Hill. I’m your host, Michel Shah lead UpSkiller at UpSkill Community. UpSkill Talks is a podcast for leaders, leaders who are actively seeking innovative and creative ways to interact lead themselves and others. In every episode, through real life stories and enlightening conversations, we will explore the challenge. And opportunities real leaders face in today’s everchanging workplace. We will present you with real strategies for you to leverage your soft skills and produce transformative results. Thank you for joining me on this journey. Let us begin.
So imposter syndrome, big topic. We’ve been talking about it on the podcast for a while. This is the topic that people have requested the most. And a topic that many of us are learning about and able to relate to. So let me start with you, Peter, when did you first become aware of the imposter syndrome in your life? I’m Peter Wal, management professional in the insurance sector and lifelong learner the awareness of it as a phenomenon in my life came simply because you raised this question, right? And then you have to go back and examine one, define what this thing is and then recognize, okay. Yes, this has been a feature of my life all through, in different ways. And of course it shows up in professional circles, it shows up in familial circumstances as well,, in a way where you don’t want to destroy the facade that you. Apparently have created in these circles. So,, it presents mostly for me through silence it follows the adage it is better to keep your mouth shut than to open up and be found to be a fool. so, or a fraud power of fraud. So yeah, in those ways it has, but I mean, you live your life without necessarily having the language to describe it. So that’s, this has been interesting. Very interesting. Very interesting, because I must share when you raise this first step, I resisted the idea that this exists in my life at all, but here we are, here. We’re don’t we wanna hide away from it. Right. What about you, Diana? When was the first time that you became aware of imposter syndrome in your life? my name’s Diana McIntyre and I am a strengths consultant. I do executive coaching and I’m a faculty member at, George Brown college I think it was the first time I stood up and did a lecture and I thought to myself, what do I have to say that people would actually be interested in hearing? And why do I think I have the expertise to deliver on this subject and are people going to be judging it? And I think it shows that more now. I’m with students I’m very comfortable, but with colleagues. So if I’m presenting in front of my colleagues, I start to again, go through that, are they judging? Is there criticism about the information that I’m presenting and how I’m pre presenting it? Because I’m not using UDL and if I hit all those boxes. So I think it’s a little bit of, of judgment as well as to why are you up there presenting and are you the best person to be doing that? Very interesting. And I, I think we all have some of that mm-hmm because we have our own expectations and we expect that we are being judged by other people. Very interesting. What about you, Tiffany? I’m Tiffany castell detective Sergeant with the Toronto police service. Similar to Peter, the, imposter syndrome. I didn’t become aware of having imposter syndrome or imposter syndrome manifesting in my life until I heard the terminology and came to understand what it meant. And then when I learned about the terminology, I realized, oh, okay, this is, this has been here for my entire life, basically. And I think it’s, in some ways I’ve confused it with, trying to be very humble. And trying to think, okay, maybe I’m not the best person for the job, or there are so many other people who are better out there and yes, people are going to be judging me when I’m speaking about whatever it is, because I’m not the foremost authority. And I recognize that. So I need to work so much harder to at least be 50%, as good as some of the people who are out there who should really be at the forefront presenting or doing whatever the job is. So it’s really only maybe two or three years ago. When I read about the concept academically, that I came to be aware that this is something that I was dealing with, and dealing with really every day, if I’m being honest about it. Wow. Wow. Thank you. Thank you. What about you Cadeem I’m an associate editor with moneywise I think for me, the same thing, I also was aware of the concept, but in terms of looking at this quest and actually forced me to look at my own life and really analyze where it was at play. I think after analysis, I can look back to kind of developing more with, entering the workforce. Basically when I was say 22, I find academics was a bit more smooth sailing relative to work. I think once you entered the work field, making more mistakes, much more learning, much more to learn about life in general workflows in the different work environments. I think that was a place where I felt a bit more outta place than I did. In say school setting and making mistakes. There was one thing that definitely sometimes made me feel like, am I qualified to be doing this? Do I deserve to be here and so forth? But I think, part of honestly, being able to slowly get over that still improving on it kind of day by day. But I think also being able to find a workplace where you are appreciated and valued has been a big piece of what’s helped me to combat that with the role I have now. I think even sometimes if editing something, writer points out that perhaps they don’t agree with an edits. I think sometimes it can be hard not to get personal, but I think that’s something I’m improving on. As I dealt felt in this role and getting positive feedback unprompted from a supervisor kind of regular basis, and so forth, which really speaks to the level of support you have in the environment. I think that’s been, a key piece of what’s helped me to also acknowledge it and then also combat. That is fantastic. There are some pieces that you’ve touched on there that we’re gonna come back to. As we dive into this topic, the role of the environment in fostering or supporting us when it comes to imposter syndrome, I just wanted to share when I became aware of it, I was invited to a female leadership session on imposter syndrome and we were taking a look at an academic paper. I had seen the topic. I’d never thought that would apply to me. So certainly it’s something that was going to apply to other people because confidence is what I I’m about. So that topic, I kind of understood contextually what it was understood, the definition of it at a very high level and really thought to myself, okay. That this thing is out there. After examining it, doing the research on it, diving deeper into it. I’m thinking O mg. This thing has been around my entire life. I realized that I grew up in a very rural community. And when I got, out of that community to go to high school, I went to a urban center. I was an absolute imposter. When I went there, I did not know how to fit in. I didn’t have the style clothes I didn’t know how to do makeup. I didn’t understand how to fit into that urban setting. I didn’t know how to say their language. I didn’t have any friends. I was totally out of water and I was a complete imposter. And again, I think I felt that very deeply when I came to Canada. Particularly, just not knowing anything about the culture, the whole system everywhere I went, I felt like, oh wow, they’re gonna realize that I have an accent. I don’t fit in here. I’m a misfit. When I went to the university of Toronto. I remember being also a mature student on top of being an immigrant and being new with an accent and all of that, I thought, oh, this was like almost overwhelming how uncomfortable I felt. But as you suggested earlier, Cade professors and other students, the way they started to engage with me, the way they acknowledged and recognized what I brought to the environment really began to make me feel like, oh, I belong here. And that was one of the things that really helped with that. And so that’s one of the things we wanna dive into. What is the role of the environment? That’s something we have to explore. What is the role of the environment in terms of creating the conditions that are ripe for making people feel the imposter syndrome versus supporting anyone no matter where they come from to feel that sense of belonging, that support that makes them easily, or at least get on a pathway to reduce the feeling of imposter in their lives. So Diana, I want to start with you. What do you think. Is the role of environment in supporting people so that they don’t feel like an imposter or how do environments create the space where people actually feel like an imposter even more in it than outside of it? I think that it’s, it’s a combination of a lot of things. one of this always starts from the top down. What is the environment like? Are we creating, and nurturing an environment that lets us not be successful, lets us fail, celebrates that and moves us forward to help develop the skills that we need. I think that in the workplace, a lot of people feel that or in any environment that imposter syndrome, because we are so afraid to make a mistake, we’re so afraid to fail. And I think that sometimes through mistakes and failures, you come out with something much stronger in the end. And so I think it’s changing that environment. And I know that in a lot of high tech environments that it’s, it’s encouraged, failure’s not a bad thing. It’s what you learn from it. It’s what skills do you develop that help you to move forward? So I think that that’s one thing. I also believe that, we often don’t really do a lot of work around recognizing employee strengths and I am a, huge advocate of strengths. And I think that strengths is what helps us to build our confidence, to understand. We are really good at what energizes us, what we’re passionate about, what we can do to make positive contribution. And it also helps us to understand other people’s strengths and how we work together to create collaborative environments where we need each other, we compliment each other. And I think that that builds confidence in all people and also improves how we work together as a collective. Fantastic. Fantastic. You’ve touched on some really amazing things here, Diana, that environment that makes us know that no matter who we are, no matter what our background, no matter what we add value, we have something unique to contribute. Whether it’s a new perspective, a new way of thinking a new way of revisiting the same things that we do add value. What. Environments as Diana touched on earlier that are mistake proof, you can’t make a mistake. How do we deal with those kinds of environments over to you? Peter, as Kade spoken and Diana, responded, the thought that comes to my mind is in those environments, a lot is dependent on your role in the environment. So I can see, in a situation where, you are new to the environment as a more junior employee, if the leadership, recognizes that they need to create this kind of supportive environment to bring the best out of their employees, then, that goes a long way to helping an individual, to really shine and step out of the shadow of an imposter syndrome. But what of the leader. In that environment because,, as a new leader coming loaded with expectations as to what you would bring to this environment as a leader, then who do you turn to? How do you, differentiate between, being able to ask what might be considered to be stupid questions? Mm-hmm, asking the dumb question. Mm-hmm because, in that environment, if, especially if you’re new, then, then you you’ve taken the position. Not only as leader mm-hmm but of student, because you are, you are learning mm-hmm as well. And it’s sometimes difficult for us, in a leadership role, introduced into a new environment, or what is even worse in my, imagination is you’re a leader in a, in a more tenured, in an environment that you, you lose the. Idea that yeah, I continue to learn in that environment and therefore, I should give myself permission to appear foolish, at least foolish in my own eyes. If no one else is, and that I think is part of the hurdle that individuals operating in an environment need to overcome. If we can find ways to be able to give our sales permission to recognize that we, we continue to learn even as the environment evolve even as leaders, then that would, that would certainly help. It’s about allowing ourselves that permission independent on our role in that environment. You’re really pointing to the leader. Yeah. I wanna go over and hear what Tiffany has to say about that. As I’m listening to everyone, what my mind goes to are the organizational structures and systems that we’re operating within and how those systems and structures act as a,, imposter syndrome, multiplier or perpetuator. And I think about school where my opposite to what Kade mentioned, my imposter syndrome showed up less in the work environment and more in the school environment and the way that we, especially in elementary school and high school, even up into undergraduate years in university or in college, the way that you’re taught is the teacher is the holder of the knowledge. Mm-hmm the teacher passes the knowledge onto you. You sit quietly, you listen to what the teacher has to say, and it’s not until. At least for me until I reached the doctoral level or very late into my masters, where I started to challenge some of the ideas and started to recognize that I had some expertise to bring to the conversation and that what I was reading in the academic journal articles, despite not yet having the title of academic doctor, that I still could question the knowledge that I was being given. So I think sometimes the way that we’re socialized and the structures that we’re working within, influence how we feel. It influences whether or not we feel worthy of bringing forth our ideas or we feel worthy of taking charge of something. And I also think about when I talk about organizational structures, I come from a very hierarchical environment, very rigid hierarchy, several ranks of supervision between the lowest ranking police, Constable, and the chief of police. And. In many circumstances, you’re not in an environment as a police Constable, for example, amongst your senior executive police officers in the organization where you feel like you are worthy of speaking up, or you should have a voice to speak up in a certain circumstance. So I think definitely environment plays a huge role and what a lot of us have talked about, but not labeled is being in an environment that is psychologically safe. Psychologically safe interest in concept. Thank you very much for introducing the concept of psychological safety, Tiffany, that’s an important concept. Very relevant for a conversation on imposture syndrome. And that’s where we will pick it up in the next episode. Take a moment to think about the first time you became aware of imposter syndrome in your own life. How was it showing up for you? How is it affecting How are you feeling about it? And most importantly, Take time to notice how your environment is impacting your imposture syndrome. Is it creating the conditions that are fertile to cultivating more and more? Deeper and deeper feelings of imposter syndrome. Is your environment providing you the tools? The support that’s necessary for you to feel a greater sense of belonging, a sense that you’re contributing a sense that you are valued. Uh sense of community. That helps to reduce the feeling of imposter syndrome in your life. How is your environment working Let’s continue our conversation. In the next episode.
Thank you for listening to this episode of UpSkill Talks brought to you by McGraw Hill. We bring you new episodes every Monday. Please take a moment to subscribe, leave a five star rating and a written review at apple podcast. Or follow us on. By Google podcast or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts, don’t forget to share UpSkill talks with other leaders like yourself. So they too may gain the skills and insights to produce amazing results. Please go to UpSkillCommunity.com to review show notes and learn how you can join a community of leaders from across the globe. Collaborating to lead in a more meaningful and impactful way. I’m your host, Michel Shah. And again, thank you for joining me on this episode of UpSkill Talks.
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