In one of our courses, we’ve been tackling the issue of USPs (unique selling points) and how people define themselves. The most poignant piece of feedback is that people have a lot of difficulties in defining themselves, in the context of their business. They feel like they’re somehow coming across as arrogant, or silly. That they don’t deserve to be there. That they haven’t earned the right to call themselves world-class, or excelling. That terribly British reticence that so many of us suffer from. The reluctance to put themselves forward and say, ‘You know what? I’m really good at this’, or sell themselves. So when people ask them ‘So, what is it you do?’ they end up burbling something about being a nurse who does Botox, thereby completely undermining their years of training and expertise, their knowledge base.
And I get it. I really do.
I recently started back at work. For the last 13 1/2 years, I’ve been a SAHM – a ‘stay-at-home-mum’. A full-time mum. A homemaker. I’ve not been one of those amazing women who do it all – has her babies, goes back to work and contributes to the family ‘pot’. I’ve been raising little people, changing nappies, wrangling toddlers, dealing with school runs, negotiating with pre-teens and refereeing fights. And here I am, now with an actual job.
I feel like the biggest imposter in the world.
Why? Because I’ve not worked in aesthetics before. I’ve not ‘work-worked’ for a long time and I’m now helping my husband with his growing business, and it doesn’t really feel like ‘work-work’. I didn’t go through an interview process, I’m not salaried, and I work from our dining table or sofa; my hours are pretty flexible/intangible. It’s not like I’m joining a massive throng of people in an office with me, turning up at 9 am and finishing at 5 pm. In time to dash home, cook dinner and do the usual ‘home stuff’ that people do.
I’m still an imposter… Right?
But, do you know what? My immensely talented, driven and successful husband doesn’t see it that way. To him, I’m an invaluable member of the team with a lot to offer. In my former career, I was a successful sales manager for an online, tertiary-educational software company. I sold to some of the toughest, most well-educated people in the world – university librarians (and believe me when I say they are a tough crowd – they have tight budgets, are incredibly intelligent and don’t suffer fools gladly. They don’t like buying, and selling to them required a highly consultative approach). My career in that sector ended following a particularly nasty spell with my former line managers bullying, coupled with a hideous bout of post-natal depression. My confidence was utterly destroyed and I scuttled away to the safety of my children and home.
Back then, during my full-time mum years, many of my social interactions took place online. The perils of being stuck at home, in a new town, and my son’s intense dislike of baby groups contributing to my physical isolation. I was involved in social media long before Facebook appeared, participating and moderating in online forums. Facebook came along and made the whole process much easier. With that came increased skills in diplomacy, knowing how to write a post without offending a dozen or so ‘sensitive types’, but also dealing with trolls and knowing when to kick someone off. Much to my amazement, these are actual skills. Who knew?!
So it turns out I actually have lots to offer. I am useful. I am an asset. I do contribute. I have skills, dude! I am an excellent sales person with great interpersonal skills. I am a negotiator, a diplomat, an encourager and a booster of confidence. I am a people-person. I am the queen of positivity. I love to help people. I contribute.
What I am NOT is an imposter.
And more importantly – neither are you! You’ve been trained. You’ve taken steps to make sure that the treatments you carry out. You do so to the best of your ability. You’ve invested. You’ve got qualifications. You’ve done courses. You’ve made mistakes, and from each mistake, you have learned. So, what is it that you’re excellent at? It’s your skills and your ‘you-ness’ that makes you your own USP, and if you own that – how could you ever be an imposter?