Hello! How are you this week? Fortunately my sprained ankle is recovering nicely, I can walk without a stick and manage stairs slowly… the human body is a wonderful thing!
My spirit is recovering too. After several intense weeks working to launch my online coaching programme I’m enjoying a little less time in the spotlight – and enjoying that rest.
How do you feel about “being in the spotlight”?
I know some people who love it, more who don’t! Being an introvert myself, being in the spotlight was never anything I aspired to – but I did come to learn that it was an important part of my professional life.
I started my career employed as a researcher, working on understanding the bits of DNA that made some viruses grow faster than others. I was good at my job. I trusted my own work. And yet when it came to giving seminars or presenting at conferences, the typical ways that scientists tell the world about their work, I hated it. I really tried to avoid it if I could, quietly, without making a fuss, but definitely avoiding the spotlight.
Are you hiding your light under a bushel?
At the start of my career I was fortunate in that my work was showcased even if I wasn’t. My research group leaders – we called them Principle Investigators – were very happy to do the presenting and to some degree, take the credit.
It did take a couple of years for me to really understand how this was affecting my career prospects. Science, like many disciplines, research like many business arenas, tends to think of itself as a meritocracy – the people with the greatest skill rise to the top.
Unfortunately, that’s not completely true. Yes, you do need skill to progress but you also need to be seen and known. If you’re doing good work but few people know it or notice it, your light will likely stay hidden…
And I know that tension. Part of me didn’t want to shout about my strengths: Nice people don’t show-off. Don’t be big headed. Or even – Who do you think you are?
Another part of me wasn’t certain that I had anything to shout about – you know, if I could do this, it couldn’t have been anything special could it?
And when I did share what I knew I was mostly surprised that it was news to others. How come they didn’t know this stuff?!
It took me years to feel comfortable sharing my work. Not in a superior “I’m better than you” way but in a “Do you know this and might it help?” sort of way. In sharing what I knew I could be of service to others and my not sharing was potentially withholding something that they needed or would value.
And that’s why, during the launch of “Imposter Syndrome Sources and Solutions” I was very active on social media. Posting my thoughts, sharing short videos, delivering longer Facebook live sessions – telling people what I thought might help them. Even though it definitely took me outside of my own comfort zone, I needed to do this in service of my work, in service of my clients.
If you missed it, here’s a link to “Why you need more than confidence to conquer your Imposter.”
Hope you find this helpful.
And maybe it will encourage you. Someone needs to see you. Someone needs to know what you know, to understand what you do – and it’s perfectly possible to share that without being big-headed or a show-off.
It might need you to expand your comfort zone though. Do let me know how it goes!