Monthly Archives: September 2014

Who me? An impostor??

In an earlier post I wrote about how a single thought (Who am I to run a successful fashion business?) had me busting my buns and getting nowhere fast.

This question (who am I to…?) is one of the hallmark indicators of the impostor syndrome according to author and educator Valerie Young*. This is when successful, competent people don’t ever seem to feel competent enough or don’t feel entirely deserving of their success. They don’t own their achievements, their smarts, or their talents.

When congratulated or complimented, impostors will often say or think:

  • I was just in the right place at the right time. I was lucky.
  • I just work harder than the rest.
  • If I can do it, anyone can do it.
  • I fooled them again. If they only knew!
  • It was only because they liked me. They went easy on me.

As it turns out, being an impostor is hardly an exclusive club. According to Ms. Young, approximately 70% of us feel this way at some point or another.

Impostors are much less willing to take ownership of their success while overly internalizing every mistake, agonizing over every little thing they could have done better. They hold on to the negative and be overly dismissive of the positive, flogging themselves in the pursuit of always doing their best.

There is a dark side to feeling like a fake. There are undercurrents of

  • fear (of being found out, of truly not being good enough),
  • guilt over perceived imperfections, incompetency and failings (I could have done better, I should have said this), and
  • shame (ashamed of perceived inadequacy, at having fooled people)

These are powerful emotions that can wreak havoc on not only your confidence levels but also can be the source of why you’re succeeding, but not nearly to the level you’re capable of (as I experienced).

I’ll touch on this topic in future posts if it resonates with you. Let me know if you’ve ever felt this way and what your tools and tricks to overcome it.   I’d be honored if you’d share your comments below.

To your success,
Melanie
Founder, Front Room
More than clothes, confidence.™

*Sources: Valerie Young, my notes from her keynote speech to Alberta Women Entrepreneur Conference May 2014; and her book “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It” Crown Business, 2011.

Performance Enhancing Clothing?

When I say performance enhancing clothing, you’re probably thinking of the specialized outfits Olympic or professional athletes wear.

What if I told you that what you wear has a bigger impact beyond first impressions?

We’re familiar with feeling more confident when we look good, or maybe more accurately, with feeling less confident and a little off our game on a bad hair day.  To have our clothes actually affect our performance is another thing altogether.

A 2012 study by Adam Galinsky* separated participants into two groups before taking an attention-based test.  One group wore their regular street clothes and the other wore a white doctor’s coat before taking the same test.

Those in the doctor’s outfit made HALF as many errors as those in regular clothes.

They repeated the study, again with two groups taking an attention-based test.  This time, one group was told the white lab coat they were wearing was a painter’s coat and the other group, wearing the same white lab coat, were told they were wearing a doctor’s coat.

Yup, those in the “doctor’s” coat outperformed those in the “painter’s” coat.

Galinsky coined the term “enclothed cognition” to describe the impact clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes.

The effect is twofold:

  • the physical experience of wearing the clothes – how they look and feel to you, and
  • the symbolic meaning you ascribe to the clothes or fabric (the authority of a uniform or the luxury of silk).

When Galinsky was interviewed on ABC news, he had this to say:

“When we [put] on a suit, we are not only giving impressions to other people, we are also giving an impression to ourselves.  We feel the rich silk fabric on our arms; that allows us to take on the characteristics of those clothes.”

*Galinsky, Adam D.  2012. “Enclothed Cognition”, The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48(4) p.918-925

The takeaway:  wear your kick-ass outfit when you need to nail the big presentation.  The more rich and successful you feel in it, the better you’ll do.

Shameless plug:  All the more important to be able to find quality clothing that fits well!
Front Room is launching with its essentials – timeless silk blouses designed specifically for busty bossladies like you.  Look great and feel luxurious, from desk to dinner. Limited edition release coming Fall 2014, available only to newsletter subscribers.

What is your go-to outfit to make you feel unstoppable?  Or is it a power colour?  A piece you bought or inherited?  Share your tried and true talismans in the comments section below.

To your success,
Melanie

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