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Working Women In Top Jobs With Imposter Syndrome

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

We see more and more women gaining top jobs, the glass ceiling is constantly being broken, yet women still lack confidence. Sister, if you lack confidence or suffer anxiety in the workplace or in the bedroom, then you are not alone. The male-female divide is increasingly one of confidence. Confidence in yourself, your body, your ability; whatever the feeling, lacking confidence in any area of your life can be extremely debilitating and agonising. Because low self esteem is so widespread, there are many scenarios we could look at as examples, so I’ll pick a couple that come to mind.

Outwardly Jo was a confident and powerful woman, successfully managing a team in a high powered and high pressured job. She made decisions daily and had both male and female colleagues working above and below her. To the outside world, it looked as though Jo had it all. She came to me due to lack of confidence at home and in the bedroom in particular. Jo said she was having sexual relationship issues and wondered if she had Anorgasmia; she explained that there was undoubtedly a lot of tension. She couldn't put a finger on when the confidence issues started, but as we talked, I realised that the further she climbed up the corporate ladder, the lower her self-esteem and confidence was at home.

Not all situations are the same, and there is no "normal" for a lack of confidence or suffering anxiety. Jo said she enjoyed a good relationship with her partner, that they did not attempt sex as often as she'd like and that she never instigated sex anymore. She told me that earlier in their relationship, they'd fallen into bed frequently and she'd instigated sex as often as her partner. She said that she felt as though all her confidence was left behind with the job when the working day was done and there was nothing left for her personal life.

We worked through a treatment plan and created solution-focused hypnotherapy. We worked out the stressors that were creating the lack of confidence and tension at home and she says that life has changed since her therapy.

Another situation that is certainly common is women who feel as though they are barely keeping from drowning at work. They feel as though they are falling into the "fake it, till you make it" category. It's a situation that is physically and mentally exhausting. I remember one case of a woman who had worked successfully as a ward sister at a leading hospital for many years. We’ll call her Sally. She was offered promotion, which she accepted and suddenly found herself office-bound with regular hours and a different set of responsibilities to running a ward and managing the care of twenty patients and a healthcare team. Suddenly Sally lacked self-esteem and began to think that she was not capable of the job. Although still a position of responsibility, the new role was no longer making day to day decisions that impacted on the life and death of strangers and her team. The new position should have been less stressful, less tiring with regular hours and a bigger salary. Yet, she began to doubt her abilities; she wondered if she had a form of depression and started teeth grinding in her sleep. She told me how she’d even blurted out to a junior member of her team that she felt like a fake when interviewing staff, as though she were pretending to be undertaking her role.

Some readers may wonder how a successful, experienced woman with many years of experience of responsibility could find herself feeling like that. It happens, and it could happen to anyone.

Our sessions led to a conversation she’d had with a doctor at a Christmas party where something he’d said created tension and made her feel anxious and incapable. Subconsciously, Sally was returning to that conversation whenever she had doubts at work in her new role. During our sessions, she realised that she'd known the old role so well that no-one could create doubts about her ability to undertake the ward sister role. Yet, after she was promoted, a conversation from the past haunted her and impacting on her self confidence and self-esteem. Sally was continually overshadowed by a fear of judgement from other people in her new role that impacted on her self-esteem creating anxiety.

Part of our sessions involved bringing the confidence from the ward sister role to her new role. Not to see herself as Sally the sister and Sally the manager as separate entities, but to pull them together into the one glorious person that she was.

Tips to Boost Self Confidence

When someone’s self confidence dwindles, there is seldom a one fix suits all, and neither is there a standard trigger to the dip in self confidence. However, here are a couple of tips to try:

1. Don't feel embarrassed to ask for help

Please remember that low self confidence is not unique to you; many women feel the same and suffer in silence. Don't be one of those who suffer for fear of opening up to someone. Share your fears, your thoughts, your doubts, talk to someone. You deserve your confidence back. Sharing your fears is a step in the right direction.

2. Take some time each day for self-love and self-care

Frequently, yoga is an excellent choice for creating regular “me” time and learning to love yourself. A friend of mine swears by the Yoga with Adriene videos on Youtube. She says it's more than exercise; it's a combination of stretching her body and enabling her mind; Adriene's attitude relieves tension and helps her overcome her anxiety. It's her daily self-love practice.

Any simple daily ritual such as writing down your thoughts or daydreaming about a time when you felt confident and safe each morning will help you create a set time each day; it only has to be a few minutes. You are worth it.

Finally, just because you are not alone in feeling the way you do, does not make it alright. Solution focused hypnotherapy can help you get your confidence back just like it did for Jo and Sally. Wherever you are in life's journey, your confidence can be knocked at any time, don’t

suffer alone.

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