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Banishing Imposter Syndrome Masterclass with AIPLA’s Women In IP

Last week our Head of Social Media Carys Bello went to the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Women in Iarticle isP Global Networking Event hosted by Lucy Coe and Victoria Coleman at Mewburn Ellis LLP’s Manchester office. The event then took part in a masterclass about alleviating imposter syndrome and empowering confidence by a certified and ICF–accredited Coach from Stretching the City.

Carys Bello shares some key elements she learnt from the master class on imposter syndrome…

What is Imposter Syndrome?

There are many ways to define what imposter syndrome actually is but according to Stretching the City, imposter syndrome’s main factors are feeling an “inability to internalise accomplishments” and holding the belief that “success came about through chance, charm, connections or luck”. Imposter syndrome typically occurs when facing new challenges, entering a new role, and during times of transition – either job specific or other key roles such as relationships or parenting. Stretching the City also pointed out that it can likely occur “when we are not representative of our peers or colleagues in: education, race, background, style or diversity.”

The outcomes of Imposter Syndrome

Stretching the City named seven different outcomes we are more likely to experience if we suffer from imposter syndrome:

  • Not speak up
  • Not go after big opportunities
  • Feel insecure about our abilities
  • Attribute successes to others
  • Be overlooked
  • Miss out on earning more money
  • Never develop our full potential

We then explored the five susceptible personality traits of people that make them more likely to suffer from imposter syndrome, and some helpful mantras to tackle each trait.

  • The Perfectionist “My worth is not connected to the quality of my work.”
  • The Natural Genius “My worth is not determined by how smart I am.”
  • The Expert “My worth is not determined by how much I know.”
  • The Individualist and The Superwoman “Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I have to.

Women and Imposter Syndrome

Stretching the City revealed that women are more susceptible to imposter syndrome for a number of reasons, including:

  • Cultural conditioning
  • Challenges of praise and perfectionism
  • Hormones

“The Hewlett Packard study unearthed that: Women applied for roles, far less often and only when they felt like they fit 100% of the qualifications. Conversely, men applied if they fit only 50–60% of the qualifications. They were comfortable that they could just learn on the job.”

Here are 3 methods that Stretching the City shared to banish imposter syndrome.

  1. Ask five people

Ask people whose opinion you value.

  • What one word or phrase best describes me?
  • What do you think is my greatest achievement?
  • What do you value most about me?
  • What one thing could I change for my own benefit?
  • What do you believe to be my greatest strength?
  • When I am at my best, what do you see me doing?

When you get the answers, take some time to reflect.

  • • What themes do you notice?
  • • What about the responses surprised you?
  • • What makes you feel good?
  • • What can you take and internalise as evidence of your capability?
  1. Change your inner voice

Start speaking differently to and about yourself.

  • My greatest achievement is...
  • My greatest strength is...
  1. Log your successes
  • Keep a log of all your ongoing and everyday achievements and wins, big or small. This will help you look back with a healthy sense of pride.
  • Don’t wait for others to acknowledge you. This can also help you better understand your skills, and what type of work you most enjoy.

By doing the above, your body releases endorphins that reinforce a feeling of competence

Who would you be without your imposter syndrome?

Carys Bello

Fellows and Associates



61 Bridge Street,

+44 (0) 207 903 5019.
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