Imposter Syndrome

Feelings are not facts...

During October 2019, as part of #worldmentalhealthday, TWBC will be releasing a series of blogs focussed on mental health including personal stories, toolkits, tips and links regarding mental health in the workplace.

Our first post this month is a personal story from our CEO, Amy, on the topic of ‘imposter syndrome’…


Have you ever doubted your achievements, putting them down to luck, timing or the efforts of other people, rather than believing they are really due to your own skills, abilities and effort?

You may be aware that in its most persistent form this is called ‘Imposter Syndrome’ – this is when we find it hard to internalise our own accomplishments and have an ongoing fear of being considered a ‘fraud’ or imposter.

These feelings are rarely to do with actual ability or credibility and are usually associated with feelings of perfectionism, overworking, and a fear of failure; as a result, praise is discounted and one’s own achievements undermined.

I have a personal history of doubting my abilities and in the past, have spent years covering this up rather than helping myself to change my ‘crooked thinking’.  I believed I had managed this pretty well until one day, when I was in a very senior position, someone accused me of a serious irregularity in my work. Although the allegation was untrue and I was cleared of any wrongdoing, the impact on my mental health was devastating.

Initially when the accusation was made I was unable to manage the terror that somehow, I would be found out, that everything I had ever done in the pursuit of serving others would be exposed as untrue too. All those years of telling myself that I was an imposter and that I wasn’t worthy of my achievements left me ill-equipped to deal with this difficult situation. I believe now, on reflection, that my extreme reaction to the scenario was triggered in part by an underlying fear of lacking confidence in my own ability and skills.

The impact of this situation led me to set up The Wellbeing Collective and to forge a different path for myself and my family. Five years on and I have learned some very big lessons:

  • I am not an imposter; its ok to have self-doubts and to act with humility as long as it doesn’t paralyse me. Reflecting on situations individually or with people I trust helps me grow in self-awareness.
  • ‘Feelings are not facts’. A shift from thinking that my achievements are down to other people or plain luck to believing that I do achieve things through my own abilities, and I often do this with others and by making the best of opportunities.
  • By noticing and celebrating the achievements of others I have found it easier to acknowledge that I achieve things worthy of recognition as well. Recognising my achievements is still a work in progress.
  • By being open about significant experiences and the impact it has had on my life I have discovered that many of us have inner feelings or thoughts associated with Imposter Syndrome. Through conversations with people I have realised that not being alone in these self-limiting beliefs is liberating.

 

If you have found this blog of interest, please feel free to contact me directly at: amy@thewellbeingcollective.co.uk 

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#worldmentalhealthday2019 #mentalhealth #impostersyndrome #imposter #work #workplace #MH #feelings #facts #feelingsarenotfacts #selfaware #selfdoubt #achievement #personaldevelopment #coach #experience #conversations #liberate #innerfeelings #thoughts

 

What is the process of looking for inspiration…

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“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. Albert Einstein. 

 

When I ‘draw a creative blank’, I find it can be helpful to take a moment or two to try and think differently. I start by thinking about the process of what I am trying to achieve – how am I actually trying to achieve this task? Is there a different way I could be doing it?

In my day to day work with various teams, I find all too often there is a clear emphasis on thinking about the team’s task, with an almost complete exclusion of thinking about the process by which they complete the task.

There is growing evidence that teams who look at how they do things, alongside what they do, are more likely to be effective and high performing. The process of ‘thinking differently’ could help teams and individuals find a more constructive way forward and in doing so, unlock the solutions to their problems.

So when you are ‘drawing a blank’, take a moment to think about how you are approaching the task, not just what you are doing, and whether there might be an even better way to do it. You never know, it could unleash a new creative energy in you!

#creative #inspiration #becreative #teamwork #newprocess #thinkoutsidethebox #creativeenergy #smallbusiness #process #tasks #creativeblank #writersblock #findinspiration #collective #wellbeing #mindset #peopledevelopment

Is your work environment a healthy one?

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Today we aren’t focussing on the typical aspects you would associate with ‘work environment’ but rather your surroundings. When did you last stop and take a second to think about how much your work environment makes a difference to your mental state and wellbeing?

For me today, and I’m sure for many of you out there, various events outside of work had caught up with me. Driving to work this morning, I was incredibly stressed, feeling overwhelmed and tired. However, when I pulled up outside our office, situated in the New Forest, Hampshire, I immediately felt a sense of peace. A dozen horses or so made me stop my car as they strolled in a line across the road, calmly, slowly, gracefully. It forced me to stop, to take in my surroundings, to breathe.

When I got into the office, I happened to glance out the window onto the farm and see a group of jet black kittens and piglets. I was so excited as the piglets on the farm here are a sign Autumn is beginning, my favourite season – hello comfy oversized jumpers 😉 I stopped for a moment, watching them play and wag their tails. It made me realise the importance of my working environment, how lucky I am to work somewhere where I am surrounded by nature, somewhere I feel safe, welcomed, loved. It’s not only possible but also acceptable for me to step away from my computer, to take 5 minutes out, to re-set. Such a small gesture but an incredibly powerful one.

Culture plays a massive part in assuring your staffs morale, but so does their desk, their window, their drive in… What bits do you love about your commute and office space? What things could you do to improve the space so you feel ready to start the day in a positive way? We would love to hear from you…

Becca x

#tiptuesday #tuesdayvibes #culture #workenvironment #piglets #kittens #safespace #wellbeing #mentalwellbeing #environment #nature #newforest #hampshire #smallbusiness #5minutebreak #takeinyoursurroundings #breathe #autumn #morale #office #officespace #space #freshair

TWBC – ‘We amplify quiet voices’, let us amplify yours!

The Wellbeing Collective Ltd, UK

By amplifying quiet voices, you can reduce damaging myths and assumptions in your organisation…

TWBC prides itself on teaching, modelling and living by its values. Our focus today is on ‘We Amplify Quiet Voices’ and the following case study demonstrates how by actively ensuring these quiet voices are amplified, you can reduce or even eliminate myths and assumptions which can negatively impact morale, performance and resilience if left unchecked.

Case Study

Recently, I spent half a day with team of Administrators, who provide support to a public sector Leadership Team. They had not had any team development time for 4+years and most of the individuals had not had any facilitated away time.

By exploring their role and its impact on the Leadership Team, staff, stakeholders and service users, it became very clear their work had a tangible impact on the Organisation as a whole. In order to achieve success, the team members required skills in engagement and emotional literacy.

As the front face of the Organisation their behaviour is on view on a daily basis, however, they received infrequent 1:1 time with line managers, limited support and almost no development opportunities. The results of this were far reaching, impacting their performance, resilience and morale – believing the Leadership Team viewed them as competent but quarrelsome.

How many of us would make assumptions about this team, or one we can relate to in your own organisation?! ‘I bet they have poor relationships with the senior team they support’, or, ‘they must work in a culturally toxic organisation’, or maybe even that ‘they must be unusual in finding themselves isolated and unheard’?

The truth is very different! In this case study example;

  • Each Administrative Assistant has a good working relationship with the senior leader they support,
  • The organisation is forward thinking and working systematically on creating a just and learning culture.

This team of Administrators are not alone, in our experience, there are pockets of teams in every organisation who are unheard, unsung and only come to light when something starts to go awry.

So, if this is the case, why are such important teams often overlooked? The team in this case study believe that it is due to inconsistent line management, that their senior team are too busy and because there are myths and assumptions made about the team’s capability, experience and self-sufficiency.

In just one of our facilitated workshop sessions:

  • The team gained a much deeper understanding of what is working well currently,
  • What could be better,
  • What the root causes of the current situation might be,
  • What needs to change at a root level to deliver concrete change,
  • and finally, how the changes could impact the team’s behaviour, productivity, morale and overall sense of achievement.

I was extremely proud to help them with this task, and I am very excited to see how they take this work forward. By the next session they will be in a position of enhancing the clarity of their roles, receiving collaborative leadership from their organisation and be provided with consistent development opportunities in the future.

TWBC – ‘We amplify quiet voices’, let us amplify yours!

 

#quiet #voice #amplify #change #leadership #teamdevelopment #teams #personaldevelopment #collaboration #clarityofroles #myths #assumptions #values #liveyourvalues #casestudy #behaviour #learning #culture

Maybe it’s time to stop kidding ourselves that we’re proficient multi-taskers and keep focused on what we really want to achieve…

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15 minutes, what can you do in 15 minutes? You can achieve more than you think if you give yourself the chance. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But it can be surprisingly difficult to focus exclusively on one task without getting distracted by the endless, competing calls upon your attention – email, social media, 24/7 news…

The impact of this distraction is twofold. Firstly, the task itself takes longer. Secondly, it takes time and neurons to refocus once distracted from a task.

University of Minnesota business professor Sophie Leroy describes the “attention residue” that happens every time the brain has to shift its attention from one task to another. Part of your brain is left processing the first task as you switch to something different. Then more brain power is needed to fully refocus on what it was you were doing in the first place.

The result of this can be that the time you allotted to complete that report, or to plan that session, has slipped through your fingers like fine sand without you even realising it.

The solution for me came in the form of an unusual birthday present which, ironically involved grains of sand … a rather aesthetically pleasing egg timer that counts 15 minutes at a time.  The idea is that you make a conscious choice how you want to use the 15 minutes in a way that is deliberate and mindful.  The presence of this sleek glass egg timer has been quietly revelational. It sits by my laptop and, at moments when I can feel the familiar impulse to shift focus to some other activity, prompts me to pause and take stock. What has struck me is exactly how much can be achieved in 15 minutes if you are truly focused on the task at hand.

Maybe it’s time to stop kidding ourselves that we’re proficient multi-taskers and keep focused on what we really want to achieve… 15 minutes at a time.

#15minutes #15 #blog #time #timemanagement #distraction #thursdaythoughts #thursdaymotivation #thursdayvibes #sophieleroy #focus #personaldevelopment #coach #shortattentionspan #smallbusiness

 

Create a space to listen and value all stories, even the ones that make you feel uncomfortable…

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Create a space to listen and value all stories, even the ones that make you feel uncomfortable. If people are having repeated negative dialogue around something, there is likely to be some element of truth around it.

If life has taught me something, it’s good to be honest, having difficult conversations can be hard, but when done well they can also be helpful to enable others to think and reflect. But what do you do when you see one thing, which everyone is talking about, but external reports and those in a position of power to change it simply don’t see what you see? TWBC often sees this when looking at culture. Sometimes we see something in particular, we point it out and no one believes or sees it.

Johnson and Scholes (2002) cultural web is a helpful framework to suggest why this may be the case. The framework illustrates six key elements that make up a ‘paradigm’ or a mental model of how organisations view themselves – the way they think, behave and operate. Over time, many believe things about themselves, due to such things as previous stories, myths, symbols, power and organisational structures.

There are, of course, many ways of testing out where you are now using the Culture Web, but I’ve often found a few things particularly helpful as a starting point:

  • Do not overly rely on formal mechanisms to be informed on how well you are doing, it may not give you the full picture. Hearing the ‘noise on the ground’ will often give you a much clearer idea.
  • Create a space to listen and value all stories, even the ones that make you feel uncomfortable. If people are having repeated negative dialogue around something, there is likely to be some element of truth around it.
  • Create a space to reflect yourself! Be prepared to have your own beliefs about your organisation tested out, it is easy to hold onto to one key story and build everything around it, but much harder to test out if that story is shared and believed by others.

With a change in mindset, and organisational behaviours, it is perfectly possible to get a much clearer and honest view about how things actually are.

#changetheculture #culturechange #culture #change #coach #facilitator #lead #productiveteams #collective #smallbusiness #thursdaythoughts #thursdayvibes #thursdaymotivation #culturalweb #behaviour #behaviourchange #conversation #everyconversationcounts #twbc #smallbusiness

#TipTuesday – Coaching and Facilitating

Amy Hobson, The Wellbeing Collective Ltd, UKIn coaching and facilitating, the desire to add value, help or say something useful can get in the way of actually doing those things. Without realising it, we can become focussed on ourselves rather than the other person, instantly undermining everything we hope to offer.

What I often hear from people coaching and facilitating is the desire to ask, ‘brilliant questions’ or say something ‘very clever with huge impact’.

The desire to add value, help someone, and say something useful in conversation can get in the way of actually doing all those things. Without realising it we can become focussed on ourselves rather than the other person, instantly undermining everything we hope to offer.

#TipTuesday – The counter balance to this is to let go of all our expectations of being clever, or asking brilliant questions, to quieten down that inner voice that doubts us, and instead focus totally on the other person or people, hold them entirely in mind and allow yourself to respond authentically to them with curiosity and compassion.

Amy (CEO) x

#expectations #pressure #coaching #coach #facilitation #addvalue #impact #curiosity #compassion #purposefullypause #becourageous #becompassionate #everyconversationcounts #microconversations #conversation #courageous #behaviour #words #positive #compassion #thewellbeingcollective #twbc #smallbusiness #blogpost #blog #tiptuesday #tuesdaythoughts #learn #adapt #reflect #reflection #impact #authenticity

#MondayMotivation – feeling stressed at work?

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#MondayMotivation – feeling stressed at work and it’s only Monday?

We have all had days and weeks where it feels never ending, the stress levels rise, and you live for the weekend. This can put additional pressure on you, your team and business – testing relationships to their limits. So how can you maintain a cohesive, productive team whilst under pressure and the stress levels are about to burst?

Understanding your own and your colleagues stress factors is invaluable for supporting healthy team behaviours.

Here at TWBC we actively draw, learn from and refer back to our MBTI types when we’re facing stressful situations. Understanding our personality preferences is worth its weight in gold in order to maintain a unified and encouraging environment. Together we can support each other and work in ways that best meets a variety of individual needs, especially when under pressure.

Everyone reacts and deals with stress in completely different ways. For example, I am an ISFJ, this personality type finds things like overexerting ourselves, conflict or criticism and environments filled with tension extremely stressful. When we are stressed, we become disheartened, we are no longer as productive as we like to be and therefore may feel a strong sense of inadequacy and see the world as a ‘glass half empty’. Drawing from MBTI insights on personality types, chronic stress can lead our natural introverted sensing to be overtaken by our inferior function, extraverted intuition. At this point we will act out of character, imagine a Private Frazer from Dad’s Army… ‘We’re DOOMED’!!!

In comparison, the direct opposite to my type is an ENTP. They will become stressed when things like rules are rigidly enforced, are micromanaged and not having their visions appreciated. When an ENTP is stressed, they can also become unproductive, losing their signature ‘can do’ attitude, becoming anxious and needing to escape. As an opposite and similarity to ISFJ, they will also fall to their inferior function, in this case, replacing their extraverted intuition for introverted sensing. The same result occurs, acting out of character, low and feeling they have failed.

Essentially, your team cannot function to its full potential when stressed.

It is at these times that a cohesive supportive team who understands personality differences is priceless. So, what can you do when life, or your week, has given you lemons?

  • Understand yours and your teams stress factors and how you can support each other.
  • Remember it’s ok to fail and it’s ok to be stressed because something didn’t go how you envisaged or planned.
  • Encourage each other, support each other, play to each other’s strengths.

Together, we can make it through to Friday!

If you would like to undertake MBTI or would like to understand how we can help support your team in this scenario, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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#encourage #team #emotionalintelligence #mbti #knowyourself #knowothers #stressfactors #pressure #relationships #lifegivesyoulemons #cake #cohesiveteams #productiveteams #teamwork #introvert #extrovert #supporteachother #personaldevelopment #everythingcanbebetter #learnwithapassion #passion #inspire #thrive #coaching #facilitation #addvalue #impact #curiosity #compassion #purposefullypause #becourageous #becompassionate #everyconversationcounts #microconversations #conversation #courageous #behaviour #words #positive #compassion #thewellbeingcollective #twbc #smallbusiness #blogpost #blog #mondaymotivation

It’s all about the sails…

'I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.' Jimmy Dean

Whilst trying to write this blog, I started to try to jot down some thoughts, but nothing was really coming to mind. A different approach was needed, but what approach I ask?!

Recently, within The Wellbeing Collective, we have been having conversations with a focus on “Time to Think’. I decided that now was a time for me to stop and think about what had stymied my ability to let my thoughts flow, rather than find a focus for my writing. Being an introvert, I naturally prefer to ‘think’ before I ‘do’, however, I had been pondering this blog for a while and still nothing was emerging. Nothing had brought inspiration whilst I was out walking, nor the people out clearly enjoying the weather and making memories. So, it has to be more than just this ‘I’ preference of mine.

Interestingly, a conversation I had just a few days earlier came to mind. The focus of this was internal pressure, the pressure we place upon ourselves including to ‘perform’ or ‘achieve’ something. Sharing thoughts and hoping they will be of interest to people is a daunting prospect to me, and clearly some internal pressure was having an influence here – what if people aren’t interested? Why would people want to read something I have written? What if they laugh? All these thoughts were stirring emotional responses within me and seemingly paralysing my thought process. Just recognising what was happening internally, helped me to begin to unlock the thought process so that I could start to challenge and explore the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing.

Reflecting, I also realised that traditionally, if I was talking with someone who was facing the issue of being stuck when asked to ‘do’ something, I would probably have offerred (what I thought to be) helpful ideas, rather than consider supporting them to explore the sense of being stuck. Now I do actively support them but need to further embrace the approach for myself!

Whilst thinking about the issues I found this quote that connected with me:

 

‘I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.’ Jimmy Dean.

 

By taking a different approach I have been able to produce this blog, and through doing so have understood a little more about myself and how I interact with others.

 

#mondaymotivation #reflect #introvert #everythingcanbebetter #learnwithapassion #passion #inspire #thrive #coaching #facilitation #leadership #transformation #selfmastery #wellbeing #upskilling #addvalue #impact #compassion #purposefullypause #becourageous #becompassionate #everyconversationcounts #courageous #behaviour #words #positive #compassion #thewellbeingcollective #twbc #smallbusiness #blogpost #blog

Edited July 2019

What makes a great team?

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During an exhilarating period of England’s women’s football (I for one am super excited to watch our #FIFA #worldcup quarter final match this evening), we are looking back to our blog post written this time last year during the men’s world cup, which focussed on the hidden value of football world cup fever! What makes a great team great?…

The hidden value of Football World Cup fever!

[June 2018 #tbt, edited June 2019]

 

With the current excitement triggered for many with the ensuing football world cup, I have been pondering, “What makes a great team great?”

I am reminded of Leicester City winning the 2016 Premier League, having started the season as favourites for relegation at the end of the season. This team serves as a great reminder of how individuals can come together and, at least in the eyes of the nation’s football fans, create magic. They also offer hope to all sorts of teams out there in challenging work settings, where others have low expectations of what a team is capable of, that coming together, united by a shared sense of purpose, using the best that everyone can offer in combination can truly achieve fantastic results.

Across all industries, we know that effective teams deliver better results. In facing whatever challenges lie ahead for your work team, take some time together to think about how you can collectively be most effective, how can you best engage with each other, and for you all to be clear about what your collective and individual’s tasks are. Taking the time to do this may seem like an unwanted additional challenge, but could save you time and deliver better results in the long term.

Let us know how you get on ☺

[Edited by Becca. Original post by Amanda. Consultants at TWBC].

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#womensworldcup #football #worldcup #throwbackthursday #tbt #effectiveteams #teamprocess #teamplayer #encourage #relationships #cohesiveteams #productiveteams #teamwork #introvert #extrovert #supporteachother #personaldevelopment #everythingcanbebetter #learnwithapassion #passion #inspire #thrive #coaching #facilitation #leadership #transformation #selfmastery #wellbeing #upskilling #addvalue #impact #compassion #purposefullypause #becourageous #becompassionate #everyconversationcounts #courageous #behaviour #words #positive #compassion #thewellbeingcollective #twbc #smallbusiness #blogpost #blog