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No More Watercooler
Mini Cooler: On Imposter Syndrome

A mini episode discussing some of the themes uncovered in Season One. I'm joined by Pip Richardson, founder of The Circle Line, so I can talk to a professional about: imposter syndrome.

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Episode Transcript:

Matthew: This isn't No More Watercoooler - we're on a season break at the moment, but I didn't want to leave a gap in your podcasting schedule. So I'm joined by Pip Richardson from The Circle Line, a lovely new online therapy platform. How are you Pip?

Pip: I'm really, well, thanks. Bit chilly.

Matthew: It's freezing!

Pip: When will winter end?

Matthew: Ugh, endless winter.
What, what do you do with your day job?

Pip: Oh God, what don't I do? All sorts. Um, being a founder of a startup, mixed a real mixed bag. Um, but mostly we were having conversations about self-development, trying to increase accessibility to and understanding of self development through therapy.

Matthew: And you're creating a business that is genuinely helping people.

Pip: I hope so. Yeah. Yeah. Our aim is really to. To make self-development. The norm, you know, to talk about mental and emotional experiences is something that's really completely natural and to make it more accessible, keep it really affordable, keep it understandable. Um. Yeah. And put it in everyone's reach.

Matthew: Such good work. It makes me feel useless and rubbish, which is perfect because this week we're talking about imposter syndrome. Um, I'd love to ask you about self doubt, you know, lack of self confidence, imposter syndrome, imposter phenomenon, you know, lots of different names for it. But that, but that idea of not being good enough, despite. Evidence perhaps. Um, to the contrary, it's incredibly common. Over 70% apparently of people struggle with this. Um, if it is a problem for you, is, do you think changing your mindset is possible that learning to accept praise and big yourself up a little bit? Is, is even within reach?

Pip: Yeah, absolutely. Of course.
And I think you just use a really pertinent word. Evidence for sure. There are daily practices, regular things we can do that help us manage and reaffirm our ourselves and our abilities every day, such as positive affirmations, uh, saving client testimonials. There's probably a myriad of positive comments you received by way of email, which you should save up, which is a great idea obviously for your portfolio or your website in any event, and remembering to read that praise regularly. You know, maybe keep a diary of your achievements. Actually, the hard one sometimes is asking for feedback. You know, making sure you get it, and that'll always be, you know, some good, even if there was some points to improve, then always be the good stuff in there.

Matthew: Certainly something that you need to actively do when you're a freelancer. Getting feedback isn't usually. Um, volunteered, uh, quite often the only feedback you get is whether you get asked to return and do some more work with that organization

Pip: for sure. And then that in itself is an affirmation of your ability, but you're right.
Yeah. You don't have the regular performance appraisals and, and that kind of structure that you sometimes get in a corporate.

Matthew: And what about when we're not feeling so confident about ourselves?

Pip: Yeah. That's when I suppose the knocks, the rejections that happened, all of us can affect us a little bit more.
And I think it's really valuable to remind ourselves of the positives in those times. I think it's a real skill and a choice ultimately that we can learn to look on the positive or look in the negative. That really does come down to choice in that way by the regular practice of looking on the positive, looking for the learning, uh, we build our resilience, um, and we can be realistic about our abilities.
Positive and negative.

Matthew: Just probably really benefit in sharing those little wins as well though, right? Because even if you can't accept them yourselves, if other people are playing them back to you and patting you on the bat, that that must help in some way.

Pip: Take it and write it down. Totally. I think the thing is though, is when you don't believe it, you know, we can also, we can, we can hear the positives, but. sometimes it can be hard to relax into your capabilities and your limitations. It's better to discover and release whatever's blocking your real confidence in the first place. So I think that's an area where therapy pays dividends. Talking to a professional really helps us understand where the lack of esteem is coming from in the first place.
You know, why is it that we doubt ourselves sometimes? That self doubt goes back a long way to our deepest beliefs about ourselves. And those are the ones that are seeded in childhood. So that's where, um, therapy can help us with the now with the positive affirmation, with looking at our abilities as an adult, but also in helping to draw out some of those more ingrained beliefs.

Matthew: It feels like such a cliche that how much of our beliefs are rooted in jolted and kind of taking you back. Um, but I, I guess whether you're exploring. Going back or just focusing right now, that that talking and sharing those experiences is essential. Whether that's with a therapist or whether it's just somebody will listen.

Pip: Yeah, totally. I mean, just being heard and understood by anybody is incredibly valuable. Whoever that person is. Sometimes we can open up and, and it's a bit easier first with people we know and people we trust and that support networks crucial. I think we just have to remember that everybody, friends, family, colleagues - they all come from their own frame of reference. So they're going to have an opinion and they're always going to share. So I think it's just good to remind ourselves that the ideas they express are just that they're their ideas. Um, and then we're free to take them or leave them and make up our own minds.

Matthew: A really good point. We had "time to talk" day a couple of weeks ago. And I was thinking, why isn't there a "time to listen" day where actually you just shut up and pay attention to what somebody's saying, rather than giving them advice

Pip: Yeah, it is a really valuable skill to learn. I think it's one we're not taught to do.
Um, and often we don't take the time to learn. So finding that person to hear you can be tricky. Know when it's not a, not such a common skill, sadly. And that's where therapists can come in.

Matthew: Well, I've enjoyed listening to you today, Pip. Thank you so much.
If you'd like to discuss this topic further or indeed any of the themes covered in the first season of No More Watercooler, come along and join us at lepaers.co - we're a free community supporting the mental health of the self-employed.

I'm Matthew Knight and until next week, work well.

Resources from this episode

Leapers Little Guide to Imposter Syndrome

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