Crystal Hammon is a vintage fashion enthusiast who blogs at Dressed Her Days Vintage. When she isn’t working as a writer, she teaches yoga, plays golf, sews and reads. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Have you ever had that feeling at work that you don’t quite belong? Maybe you’re working longer hours and accepting tougher assignments, hoping to prove that you deserve to be where you are.
You keep your weaknesses well hidden because you’re afraid that someone’s going to discover that you’re not who you say you are. But no matter how much you achieve, no matter how hard you work, you’re not happy or fulfilled. Deep down, you feel like a fake. And that isolates you from other people.
Joyce Roché knows the feeling well. It’s called imposter syndrome, and it’s the subject of her new book, The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace Success. The book is the story of Roché’s struggle with imposter syndrome, and how she and other women came to understand and manage the trait that might have otherwise robbed them of lasting fulfillment.
Roché takes readers on the journey of her ascent through some of America’s best-known companies—from Avon and Charles Revson, to Pepsi and AT&T—and explains how she became her most authentic self when she confronted imposter syndrome head-on. During a transition from one company to the next, Roché made a choice that changed the trajectory of her career.
“I decided that I would think about what I really wanted to do, because at that stage, I knew it was important for me to feel like I’m bringing my whole self to whatever I do,” she says. No longer content to set goals just to earn validation from others, Roché wanted to know what would bring her joy, zest and power—and what she wouldn’t miss if she never had to do it again.
The process of answering those questions began on paper. She also sought input from trusted mentors who could help her appraise her own skills without false modesty. All of this eventually led her to become the president and chief executive officer of Girls Inc., an organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold.
How is imposter syndrome is different than simple insecurity? People who have it can’t recognize their success, much less make it part of their identity. Fear and doubt reign no matter how much success one achieves. Roche’s book is loaded with tips for people coming to grips with imposter syndrome, plus a test to help you determine whether you might have the characteristics that go with it.
Here are just a few tips from The Empress Has No Clothes to help you manage imposter syndrome:
- Clarify your values and build connections with people who share them.
- Maintain a written inventory of your skills, accomplishments and experiences to understand your success.
- Know your fear. Some fear is natural when taking on new challenges. Imposter fears are like a low hum that is part of your thinking.
- Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses regularly.
Even if you’re just a tad insecure, the women in Roché’s book have some wonderful strategies for managing your career in a world that is still chock full of subtle and overt bias toward race and gender.
What brings you joy, zest and power? Find your most authentic self in the Karina dress that makes you feel happy, comfortable and in control. Then buy it in every color.