Rebecca McFarland 1 fraudEver had the feeling that you don't deserve that pay rise, you’re not worthy of applying for a higher paying job or that even with your years of experience you will be exposed as a fraud?

These types of feelings can be very common in the workplace and can lead to poor self-esteem and lower productivity. Feelings of inadequacy, thinking that you don’t deserve to succeed or that you are simply not good enough can all be aspects of ‘imposter syndrome’.

Rebecca McFarland from Pop Your Career is  an experienced human resources practitioner and a career coach.  With over 10 years industry experience, Rebecca has held various

roles in human resources management, agency recruitment and in-house recruitment.

Rebecca discusses the interesting and challenging complexities of imposter syndrome that many of her clients have experienced.

“Imposter syndrome is huge, I see my clients having difficulty claiming their strengths and accomplishments despite the fact that there is external evidence. I describe imposter syndrome as that  little devil sitting on your shoulder whispering terrible things into your ear.”

Rebecca also points to how expansive imposter syndrome can be.

“Imposter syndrome really is an indiscriminate beast, it doesn’t care how much experience you have or how qualified and assertive you are.”

Imposter syndrome is not limited to any particular sector or job title. In fact, many A-list actors have moments of this.

While doing a press interview in 2016, Tom Hanks said "No matter what we've done, there comes a point where you think, 'How did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?” [1]

In an interview with Vogue UK, Harry Potter star Emma Watson discussed the discomfort she can feel when people compliment her on her acting: “Now, when I receive recognition for my acting, I feel incredibly uncomfortable. I tend to turn in on myself. I feel like an imposter.” [2]

And finally, even Academy Award winner and Harvard graduate Natalie Portman has discussed how she had moments of feeling like a fraud in her 2015 Harvard commencement speech. Portman said, “Today, I feel much like I did when I came to Harvard Yard as a freshman in 1999. I felt like there had been some mistake, that I wasn’t smart enough to be in this company, and that every time I opened my mouth I would have to prove that I wasn’t just a dumb actress.” [3]
Rebecca doesn’t believe that there is a specific antidote to imposter syndrome, but that it can be managed.

“Unfortunately I don’t believe that imposter syndrome can be cured, but what I work with my clients to do is to is to develop strategies and embrace the tools that they can use to start moving forward.” 

Rebecca also discussed some similarities and differences she has noticed between her male and female clients with regard to imposter syndrome. 

“It is often touted as being women’s issues and although women do experience these challenges what I’ve found through my coaching is that men definitely experience them to.”

“I think the difference is that perhaps men aren’t so forth coming in wanting to discuss it. I have had some really amazing experiences with my male clients that have been willing to be vulnerable, dig deep and look at some of these areas, and the transformations have been incredible.”

An important thing to remember is that most people experience moments of doubt and inadequacy. But the essential part is to not let those feelings dictate your behavior and actions. When struggling with the feelings associated with imposter syndrome you can always discuss the feelings with a trusted friend, mentor or career coach like Rebecca. Talking out these feelings should help you put everything into perspective and help you remember your potential, achievements and future ambitions. 

So, what are some take away thoughts?

1. Feelings of inadequacy and imposter syndrome are common.
2. Imposter syndrome isn't limited to a profession or role, even some of the world’s most esteemed actors have experienced aspects of imposter syndrome.
3. Although often stereotyped as a women's issue, Rebecca has seen both men and women struggle with feelings of inadequacy and low confidence.
4. Avoid letting feelings of doubt and inadequacy control your actions.
5. If you are struggling with feelings of imposter syndrome talk to a trusted friend, mentor or career coach, which should help you put things back into perspective. 

You can find out more about Rebecca and the work she does at Pop Your Career.





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