This blog is for anyone who has ever suffered from or is suffering from imposter syndrome, or thinks they are over it and yet at times something seeps through to imply otherwise.
I was prompted to draw this graphic after something I said last week and further inspired to write this blog after the person I said it to (Perry Timms) blogged an excellent blog entitled “Enough”.
We were in Warszawa (I have to write it this way, I am Polish after all and was accidentally born in the UK) and I was just about to open the Elearning Fusion Conference, when I explained to Perry the reason I had brought some postcards as give aways: I was not enough.
“Of course you are, you will be awesome” replied Perry (bless him!)
But would I be enough? Was I experienced enough? Was my message pertinent enough for the audience? Would there be enough interaction? Would there be enough content?
Let me tell you a little about myself and for those of you who know me, you will know that this is not me bragging (honest):
- I have a degree in Chemical Engineering and Fuel Technology
- I was trained to be a VM instructor in the late 80’s in IBM
- I have 15 years experience in the soft skills learning arena (and a CIPD qualification)
- 9 years a business owner
- Published author
- Regular blogger
- Nearly 5000 followers on LinkedIn, 2500+ on Twitter and 2000+ subscribers to our monthly free resources
So the question I ask myself, is knowing all of this and that I was invited to open the conference with a 45 minute workshop in front of a large audience “Why am I not enough?” The simple answer is that “I am”, but let us unpack it further:
- I am enough because of the life I have lived and the experiences I have had
- I am enough because others see the gold in me that I see in others
- I am enough because I am imperfect and willing to learn
- I am enough because I am unique and my voice is not any other persons voice
- I am enough not because I have earned it, but because I exist in the world
- I am enough, just like each and every one of us is enough
And yet…… having worked though my imposter syndrome on many occasions, this creeps up. Does it keep me real? Stop me from getting too big for my boots? Serve any useful purpose? Maybe?
All I know, is what I say to many people who suffer from the same syndrome, from time to time: you are awesome…. talented…. unique…. amazing…. and have something unique to contribute, regardless of your situation. I truly believe this deep in my core and so if I can believe this for others, I have to believe this for me:
“I AM ENOUGH”
….. enough said!
For anyone wanting to know how the workshop went you can follow this link
Yesterday I had the honour and privilege to stand amongst giants in our industry. The place was Olympia, the CIPD L&D Show and it was the final session of the day – the IGNITE LAB. For those not familiar with this format, each person presents 20 slides in 5 minutes, with the slides automatically advancing every 15 seconds.
Having settled on a topic, “How to be Agile in L&D”, I created some hand drawn slides and I pretty much thought it was going to be a doddle. The nearer it got to the day and the more I practised, the more I realised how hard it was. Give me a day or half a day to facilitate some learning and that’s not a problem, but 5 minutes to just present! It felt very unnatural and forced and the nerves were starting to kick in.
As the line up for the IGNITE LAB was revealed, we engaged in an exchange on Twitter where we shared similar feelings and the nerves were apparent. Some suggested they were going to use prompt cards, which I had ‘discarded’ as an idea, but when Julie Dryborough assured me I could “distill” the essentials in this way (I was waffling quite a bit in my practice runs), it convinced me to to do the “practice, tweak, repeat” advice offered by Niall Gavin.
Having tweaked, distilled, honed and transferred my notes to prompt cards , I was set. It felt much more comfortable knowing I would have the right words to fit the 15 second maximum for each slide.
So here is how it the event unfolded for me (in order) for me:
Niall Gavin – opened beautifully, with a heart-felt (see what I did there?) story relating to redundancy. No cards just him some slides and a great story.
Sukhvinder Pabial – followed. Confident, articulate and ever the professional, spoke about marginal gains and how we in L&D could take the lead front eh British Cycling team to improve L&D’s performance.
Krystyna Gadd – once I was up there and looking into the whites of their eyes (there were so many lovely people that I knew there!) I couldn’t look at my prompt cards. The slides progressed and it all came flooding back to me. Note to self next time – ditch the cards and fly solo!
Andrew Jacobs – popped his IGNITE cherry and did a sterling job beginning with learning not being built on firm foundations
Marco Faccini – amazed us all that he had rewritten his presentation that afternoon, making it real and showing us the money!
Amanda Arrowsmith – was unfairly plagued by the PowerPoint gremlins and Julie Dryborough volunteered to advance them but not before “ghosting it”. My hat goes off to Amanda who was neither shaken nor stirred by all that seemed to happen (or not) – a veteran deliverer presenting an engaging and memorable session!
Blake Henegan – rocked his first IGNITE, challenging us to be kinder to ourselves by reflecting and connecting more and thus reducing overwhelm
Julie Drybrough– wowed us on creating a thriving culture by lighting up the shadows and understanding our git self. Sounds like good advice!
Phil Wilcox – what an amazing ending to the session with a poem about “Who am I?”- you are officially awesome Phil, be you!!
What was lovely, was being amongst these L&D giants, sharing our vulnerabilities, cheering each other on and applauding the achievement of “just” speaking for 5 minutes though 20 slides… easy eh….. we did good!
And we are all available for future speaking engagements at a very modest fee…..lol
Storify of the tweetage care of Donna Hewitson
Whatever profession you are in, there will be things that drain you and things that fill you. In the L&D profession, I feel that it is important to be able to inspire people and wonder, if you are “drained” how is that ever going to happen?
In the last few weeks I have learnt lots from unexpected places and had a chance to reflect on how I normally “do things”. In these reflections, I have come to ponder on which things take a lot of effort and may drain me, as opposed to some things requiring no effort and invigorating me.
Last week I was at Learning Live in London and it took virtually no effort as I:
- Was not exhibiting
- Was not leading a session
- Was helping point people to the Creativity Zone (easy peasy!)
- Took the train down and was able to chill out by reading
- Stayed in a serviced apartment virtually across the road
Things that really invigorated me were:
- Scribbling some of my thoughts on the various sessions onto my iPad and sharing with people
- The subsequent feedback I got about my “scribblings”
- Chance conversations that I had with people at some of the sessions
- Reconnecting with people I knew and had not seen for a while
- Connecting with people I had only ever connected with virtually
- Little “nuggets” I gleaned from the speakers that will make a difference to me
- Having time out to just “be” and stop “doing”
So this has made me think about what I consciously do in my normal working week to keep “filled” and sustained, rather than feeling drained by the end of the week. The collage above contains all those things which “fill” me:
- Great views
- Felting (the wet and dry types!)
- Being with my family and friends
- Having great learning experiences with clients
- Having an outlet for my artistic cravings
So my intention, is that at the start of every day/week I plan in those things that keep me topped up and sustained, and intersperse them with those essential things that I need to do, but do drain me. I love to be inspired and I hope that this helps me inspire others to learn, so I am committed to giving this a go…. will let you know how it goes….
I am not often impressed so much by a speaker that is prompts me to blog about them, but this is the case with Dominic Colenso, who was keynote speaker at the CIPD Northern Area Partnerships conference at York Racecourse June 17th-18th. Dominic’s presentation (though it was much more than just presenting!!) was engaging, enlightening, involving and informative. I can honestly say that I was not bored for one minute….. and I learnt some good stuff, well enough to be able to tell my husband about it all.
Now anyone who knows Dominic also knows that his specialist subject is communication and the subject of his presentation was in fact about 5 key elements to great communication, using his acronym “SHINE”. It stood for:
When someone puts themselves up as an expert in any field, it does open them up to deeper scrutiny and he definitely delivered! 100% . So it made me think…..on any stage, forum or public arena, we all need to ask ourselves “Are we doing, what we are asking others to do?”
If we are falling short, will our message have less of an impact? Will the message get lost as people scrutinise our own behaviour? So if you are a leader and that could be in any number of arenas, not just a work context, when you “Talk the talk”, do you follow up by “Walking the talk” so everyone can see?
Have you ever been in a situation where you have thought “What happened there? This was not in my plan”. This has been a funny week… Not laugh out loud funny, but strange funny. Firstly a trip to Shanghai was postponed. This meant a frenetic 10 days of activity came to a sudden stop and life took on a slower pace. Time to go outside into the garden, hang out the washing, bring it in…… big mistake…a split second error in judgment and balance meant I spent a big portion of the morning at A&E, getting my painful, swollen knee examined.
No broken bones, but newly made plans now in tatters and a pair of crutches for support. “Never mind”, I consoled myself, I can write, make phone calls, plan and design for the coming weeks….. Ever the optimist and making the best out of a bad situation.
I am definitely not superstitious, but the third thing to happen was losing my voice…… Bringing me not into a silent world, but one where I have become an observer: watching, listening and waiting for things to happen. Being immobile and without a voice is a temporary state for me and I look forward to my recovery. It has however, made me think of others for whom immobility or not being heard is a permanent state.
So I will consider and pray for those who are immobile: either physically or stuck in an unexpected rut, caught in a life they never expected to be in. I will ponder those who have no voice; either because no one is listening or they are unable to vocalise what their needs are.
As I have had time to think,I will be making a mental note to myself:
- Don’t crave the busyness but savour the still quiet moments; this is where life happens and friends connect
- Listen carefully to others but hear what they are not saying and cannot say
- Help others, whenever you can, to move, from where they are, to where they should be
- Use your gifts unsparingly and be as generous as you can be
So the wind was definitely taken from my sails this week, as the saying goes, but life’s lessons can always be used in other ways to enrich, not only your life, but others too.
Did you ever watch the film “Sliding Doors”? If you didn’t.. a London woman’s love life and career both hinge, unbeknown to her, on whether or not she catches a particular tube train. We get to see it both ways, in parallel.
In one version the doors shut in front of her and she misses the tube and the other she gets on the tube and…well you need to watch the film. Whether you are into rom-coms or not; there are some profound ideas in this film.
In essence the idea is that one small action or inaction can change your life and “Sliding Doors” demonstrates this beautifully.
In one version of your life, Learning & Development is peripheral to any organisational needs and is subject to the whims of budget holders.
In the other reality, Learning & Development are central to your organisations strategy and all your learning will be delivered in a timely fashion to learners who will inhabit an environment that supports life-long-learning.
These realities may be extreme but is the former closer to reality than you may imagine? If it is, then, like “Sliding Doors”, which subtle change could alter your L&D experience? “If only we had done this, then our whole experience of L&D would be different.” Interesting isn’t it?
Let’s imagine a scenario: we pass a senior manager in the corridor, she turns around and says “Oh…. by the way….we need some customer service training in the next few weeks. Customer satisfaction is down 5 points and we need to get it back up again.”
“Yes of course, I have some great ideas for exercises and we can do it in double-quick time. I know it is going to make a real difference”
“I would love to help of course. Could I have just 10 minutes of your time to really understand what you think we need, so that I can deliver it in the best way to achieve your outcomes?”
A subtle difference, but one of these can have a huge impact. It’s nothing new because it’s the same old drum I have been banging on for a while… be brave L&D…..#Daretodream. Dare to ask stakeholder to identify their needs, correctly, not just taking their word for what is going wrong.
Which scenario is most like the way in which you operate? Would you like things to be different? Then join us on one of The Learning Loop® courses or attend one of our Showcase events. Otherwise, contact us directly.