How I beat the impostor syndrome

How I beat the impostor syndrome

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By Anne-Lise Johnsen

I'lll say it first. I used to have it all the time. I never felt good enough and would always compare myself to others. However in 2015 I decided that enough was enough. Feeling like an impostor was going to be a thing of the past. 

The day I walked into my first Marketing Academy boot camp I felt it. I was so nervous, I babbled, I tripped up my intro and I was focused on my “flaws”; I didn't have a team, I was “only” a marketing executive, I was young, I had only worked for 4,5 years and so forth.  I felt like an impostor. Surely I shouldn’t be there with all these amazing marketers?

Although I started working on eliminating the impostor syndrome in my first month of being a Marketing Academy Scholar - it took me a good six months to feel like I had deserved my place. Yes I am a confident person; but I would always focus on everyone else and their achievements, rather than mine own. Mine didn't matter. 

Almost 2 years later, 1st March 2017, I was in a similar situation. It was the first morning of the MLP programme run by Brand Learning and The Marketing Society; and this time I was not only nervous but also a bit scared. I won the course by winning The Marketing Society’s Young Marketing Leader and I wanted to honor the opportunity The Marketing Society gave me.

So, in preparation I looked back at which steps I put in place to beat the Impostor Syndrome:

1. My coaching saviour  

I was lucky. I got a free coach from the Marketing Academy - and wow was that eye opening! I’m a very skeptical person, and it did take me a while to warm up to the idea of talking about myself for hours to a stranger. However, Mark made me feel like a true superstar. Read about my coaching journey here. 

2. Find a mentor  

I met Jonathan when he was one of our Marketing Academy boot camp speakers. He gave a presentation on working abroad and came across as a very honest and direct person. These are qualities I appreciate so when I found out that he is a big Arsenal fan I reached out to him. We now meet up every six weeks and he is my go to person. Without his follow-up, encouragement, belief in me and drive to push me forward I am pretty sure I wouldn't have gotten to where I am today. After every session I feel more inspired and confident; I always have a little skip in my step. 

3. Challenge challenge challenge! 

In Norway we have the law of Jante. It's a set of unwritten rules that you get ingrained as a child; and although they may not be as strong in the society today they still highly affect me. The law of Jante says you shouldn't believe you are good at anything or better than anyone. I hate arrogance, but I do believe in success. Going for the Marketing Society's young marketing leader of the year was my way of saying; "Screw you Jante - you can believe you are amazing but also be humble “.

4. Share your story 

I have always felt that writing is one of my weaknesses; therefore I struggled for a long time to blog myself. However, after a lot of encouragement and people asking about my story I now blog on monthly basis and it’s definitely working! The smallest acknowledgement by someone who read’s my blog fuels me with inspiration to write another piece. I am very honoured that people want to hear about me. 

5. Find your niche 

Everyone has one. I am very proud of my career and the choices I have made. But I have often been told that I have chosen a too narrow of a field; sports marketing and the world of youth. I disagree. Sports in growing; and there will always be a need for youth marketers. In addition, my skills are transferable despite of sector niche..

So, going back to the morning of the first day on the MLP.

We all stood in a circle - introducing ourselves to the group. I was one of the last ones; and quickly realised that yet again I was one of the younger ones, less experienced and I certainly didn't have a team of 10. And although the impostor syndrome was trying peak through - I managed to push it back focusing on the above points. I introduced myself without a stupid joke, proudly said who I am, my Marketing Society award and that I am there to learn from everyone.

During the next three days I never felt out of place or that I didn't fit in. I learnt about purpose, values and managing my energy. Working in pairs with technically more senior people was so rewarding; and I also realised that despite being on different parts of the career ladder I am not that far off. 

I was one of them. Not an impostor. 

This article originally appeared on annelisejohnsen.co.uk 

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Author: The Marketing Society
Posted: 15 Jul 2017
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