Babes. Do you ever feel like you’re a fraud? A chancer? Like you’re about to get found out?
Do you look at your peers’ social media and think…
- she’s owning that, there’s no space for me
- look how popular and liked she is
- look at her success- her earnings/ bookings/ how happy she seems
- look how articulate, confident, and together she is, that’s not me…
And do you let it fuel your deepest fear- that you’re destined to fail, because you are, in fact, an imposter?
Gals, I’ve got you. You know this is a thing, right? Something that’s well documented, and has been experienced by INCREDIBLE women like Michelle Obama, Emma Watson, Maya Angelou… like proper legends. It’s called Imposter Syndrome- that’s right, it’s a condition.
That’s the first step to moving through it to take action regardless- knowing that the thoughts you’re having aren’t a product of your inadequacy, they’re a product of living in a white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist society. Phew.
It’s not exclusive to women, but is more likely to be experienced by anyone who isn’t a middle class, able bodied, straight, white man. Because those fellas see themselves EVERYWHERE.
OK- so if seeing ourselves in successful spheres is meant to help, why do we feel worse, not better, when we notice our peers doing well? Once more- you’ve got the Patriarchy to thank for that one.
Patriarchy says: only very few women can succeed, and they’d better be absolutely fricking flawless. Just the right amount of clever, just the right amount of attractive, speaking at just the right volume and frequency, not be sponging off anyone else, but not be expecting to earn too much, and also taking excellent care of any children she might have, etc etc. OR she has to act like a man- assimilate to alpha, mascultine methods, abandon all parts of her that might remind us that she is a woman.
Seeing SOME successful women triggers in us a deep down knowing (or rather, misunderstanding) that has been planted and nurtured in us our whole lives- there is only space for so many women to do well.
“We’ve had women CEOs, (stats for this are shocking for FTSE 250- just 2% are women) we’ve had female Prime Ministers, how can you say we still need feminism?!”, they cry. The fact that we all know Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May’s names, but could not name every male PM we’ve had says it all. They are the exception that proves the rule.
50% of them are without children- there are some interesting stats about MPs’ genders and parent status available too- I stronly recommend, over and over, Invisible Women, by Caroline Criado- Perez for more on all this.
STRAIGHT FACTS- more for her is not less for you, it’s the opposite. Successful, wealthier women are far more likely than their male counterparts to
- spend with small, local businesses (perhaps yours)
- invest in health and education initiatives in their communities
- donate to causes addressing issues that affect women and children
LESS PROVEN, but what my observations show me- more for her and for her and for her is more for you- the more of us there are succeeding, with contrasting approaches, personalities, priorities, niches, tones, focuses, passions, etc, the more we become clear- there is room for us all. Let’s take that from platitude to attitude.
You’re spontaneous and she’s more planned, great for you both.
You’re older, she’s younger, awesome for each of you.
You’re coming from experience, she’s coming from qualification, amazing all round.
You have fresh perspective, she’s been round the block, wonderful.
Because there are people everywhere seeking a unique combination of these traits and qualities.
You don’t have to fit into a specific way of being to achieve success. You don’t need to take it from other women to have it. The truly IS space for the halls of success to be packed full of various competent people, and let’s face it- at least as many of them should be women, as men.
I am fully available for displacing people who have roles beyond their competence, and whose arrogance, and lack of skill is affecting other people’s lives. Speaking of the PM… enjoy this post for another take on this theme.