We caught up with Rachel Lounds, Certified Life & Mindset Coach at The Poschology Collective, to chat about the work she does with women in the media industry to help them overcome imposter syndrome by building their confidence, changing their mindset, and helping them reach their full potential.
As recruiters, we speak to a lot of candidates experiencing imposter syndrome, particularly if they are returning to work after extended periods of leave or trying to get a promotion or pay rise, so this is a topic very close to our hearts.
Rachel shares with us her own experiences with imposter syndrome and her journey from working in the media industry to finding her place and her passion for helping others as a life and mindset coach. Rachel explains what imposter syndrome is and why some people experience it and gives us her top tips on how you can overcome your own imposter syndrome.
You’ve had a successful career working at some of the top advertising agencies both nationally and in London including Leo Burnett, McCann and BMF. What made you make the move to become a life and mindset coach for women in the media sector and start The Poschology Collective?
After 20 years in advertising agencies, I was losing my passion for the industry. I ended up experiencing anxiety, chronic self-doubt and insomnia knowing that my heart just wasn’t in it the way it used to be. All classic signs that I was burning out.
As a Creative Services Manager, you have to adapt to different types of personalities, people and situations. I wanted to find something that used my vast experience in problem-solving and helping people.
I’ve always had a deep interest in psychology, particularly positive psychology. So, before I left my last role at McCann the plan was, I'll take a little break, study and then I'll get back into work, but I'll try and find something different outside of advertising.
That was when COVID hit, so my plans quickly changed! I thought I might as well use this time to seriously pin down what I wanted my future to look like. And it's probably been the best thing that's happened to me because I finally had time to breathe, think and process.
For years I’d toyed with the idea of becoming a life coach, I thought I’d be good at it and enjoy helping others, but my own self-doubt stopped me. I finally took the plunge, researched some courses and retrained. I also got myself a life coach and realised that this work is EXACTLY aligned with my skill set, what I wanted to be doing and where I want to be taking myself into the future.
I wanted to help other women overcome the negative mindset holding them back so they can become their most empowered selves at work and in life.
I decided to focus on the media sector not only because of my contacts in the industry, but because I know what women really are going through in the workplace. I can understand the problems so it’s easier for me to sit in that space and help.
For those that may not be aware of imposter syndrome, what is it and why does it affect so many women?
Imposter syndrome is that feeling of not knowing what you are doing, that you got to where you are today by pure luck or even by a mistake. That any minute now, your boss or a client could find you out, they will work out that you don't really know what you’re doing. It’s terrifying.
It is estimated that 70% of people will experience at least one episode of
imposter syndrome in their life.
Imposter syndrome is predominantly experienced by women, but not exclusively. I think the reason is that women tend to doubt and question themselves, it’s instilled in society that women are not capable, or they have emotions that prevent them from being strong leaders.
“You're not as good as a man. You'll never be a great leader”. It's just that voice that kind of rolls around in your head on a loop.
There have always been patriarchal reasons to keep women in that place, and because of that continued language throughout history, women have had to fight for their place, particularly in the workforce.
Because of this, instead of celebrating our successes, we downplay our achievements so that we stay using that language and get stuck in that mindset.
Criticism crushes our confidence. It becomes too risky to step up and voice our opinions.
What do you think are the biggest barriers holding women back in their careers?
For me personally, it’s a lack of confidence and fear of failure, and I see this across a lot of my clients as well. There’s a lot of amazing women doing amazing jobs, but lack of confidence holds them back from taking the next step up, no one wants to fail.
When you put yourself forward in any circumstance as a woman, you’re risking being attacked on both professional and personal abilities. Our self-worth is attached to everything we succeed at and achieve.
The result is a lot of women feel stuck.
There is also a fear of success, essentially meaning if we are successful, we’re opening ourselves up to being criticised and judged so success can also be seen as risky.
What are your top pieces of advice for building confidence and overcoming imposter syndrome?
Your tribe is key. Surround yourself with people who support your choices and bring positivity and opportunity to your life. If you have toxic people in your life, you need to start setting boundaries with them so that you can control how they appear in your life.
Re-write the script. Your inner chat fuels your imposter syndrome. Change the language that the little voice on a loop in your own head uses and the way you speak to yourself. Be your own best friend.
Practice gratitude daily. Take the time to reflect on your successes. I think it’s really good to practice gratitude and use positive affirmations to affirm in your mind that you are worthy and capable, you are successful, and that you are enough. This is one of the strongest ways of changing your mindset. Become more self-aware and start believing in yourself.
And of course, if you’re wanting help on your journey, get yourself a coach!
Rachel offers a range of coaching options, from a one-off 1:1 session through to a 12-week program, you find out more about these on her website www.theposchologycollective.com
Rachel also offers free 15-minute coaching calls if you’d like to talk more about your experience with imposter syndrome and find out how she can help you to change your mindset and start achieving your goals. You can book your free call with Rachel here.
Follow The Poschology on Instagram for helpful and informative videos, positive affirmations and inspirational words that we can all benefit from most days! You can connect with Rachel on Instagram here.
Rachel's interview is part of our new 'Spotlight on...' series where we'll be sitting down with people who inspire and excite us with their work, with clients and candidates to find out what exciting projects they're working on in the marketing and advertising industry, and experts in our network who can share their own career advice with candidates.
We'd love your feedback, if you have any comments, suggestions, or questions you'd like answered, reach out to Brooke - firstname.lastname@example.org