Overcoming Imposter Syndrome – Interview with Suzanne Mercier

By Brett Jarman | Help Me Leverage Podcast

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome - Interview with Suzanne Mercier

I used to think imposter syndrome was just a concept to describe a reluctance to promote oneself, but apparently it’s a thing. And it turns out there’s more to it than just a reluctance to step up.

In this interview Suzanne Mercier enlightened me about how ‘insidious’ imposter syndrome is and the impact it has on us, particularly in business.

Suzanne is the founder of Purpose to Profit, a consultancy focussed on helping leaders find purpose in their work, and the author of Liberate Leadership - How the IMPOSTER SYNDROME undermines leadership capability and what to do about it. Suzanne came from a background in marketing and advertising, including being the first woman appointed to the board of George Paterson Advertising agency, before learning about the imposter syndrome in 2008. She has since made it a major focus of her work.

It’s a fascinating interview and will be of particular interest to anyone who sells or promotes their expertise, in any line of business. 

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Episode Highlights:

  • What imposter syndrome is - a deep-seated belief about your own worth or value

  • Personal uncertainty = self doubt

  • How we get disconnected from our talents and our abilities

  • The research dates back to the 1970s

  • 70% of people have imposter syndrome

  • How Suzanne’s background in advertising let her to wanting to know more about the imposter syndrome

  • How men and women experience imposter syndrome differently

  • Why ‘fake it till you make it’ isn’t an option for men

  • How women suffer from perfection more than men, and how it affects their work

  • The gap between who you are and how you show up

  • How we change our perception of ourselves as we grow older

  • The difference between men and women when applying for jobs and developing their careers

  • Why Suzanne walked away from a board position in a leading advertising agency

  • Suzanne’s transition to running her own business

  • How the idea of competition affected Suzanne’s performance in her own business

  • How we compare ourselves unfairly with others

  • Unconscious behaviours of experts and thought leaders as a result of imposter syndrome

  • Reluctance to promote and reluctance to claim the title of an expert or thought leader

  • Minimum Viable Product - your path to avoid perfection

  • Perfection is a symptom of imposter syndrome

  • The impact of nature and nurture on how we present in the world

  • How we take things more personally than we need to 

  • The impact of criticism and labelling in our youth

  • The early warning signs of imposter syndrome - it’s hard to see

  • Suzanne’s public demonstration of imposter syndrome

  • How to detect when your inner dialogue is fuelling imposter syndrome

  • Your emotions are an important clue

  • Pay attention to how you speak to yourself

  • Procrastination vs publication

  • Fear of judgement and rejection

  • What to do when you detect you have imposter syndrome

  • A hack isn’t the ideal solution

  • Coping behaviours don’t serve you either

  • Connecting fears with beliefs

  • Claiming your strengths and successes

  • A daily process to assist with this

  • Finding your purpose to help overcome your insecurities

  • Changing your vibration or state

  • 356grateful.com

  • How to work with Suzanne

  • Imposter syndrome and the ego

  • The state of low self esteem vs the trait of low self esteem

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