Imposter syndrome, masks with happy or sad expressions.Bipolar disorder, fake faces and emotions.

Imposter syndrome is loosely defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.

As women in the workplace, imposter syndrome is something Sarah Murphy and Lisa Hampel from Clio are all too familiar with.

So, they thought it would be encouraging (and hopefully empowering) to share their stories with you.

Meet Sarah, Director of Marketing EMEA, Clio

Sarah Murphy, Clio

Before I joined Clio, I’d spent nine and a half years in the marketing world and in some pretty diverse roles.

I’d worked within Sky for six years but prior to joining Clio, spent the last three and a half years in various B2B start-ups. Working at Clio has given me the challenge that I was looking for, particularly in developing an EMEA team and launching an amazing product into new territories.

Imposter syndrome has certainly been a bit of block for me at times. I have found that, as both a mother and business professional, there is additional pressure because traditionally being a parent impacted a woman’s career, while men were often able to keep accelerating theirs. There’s still a lot of pressure to catch up in this context and that can force you to overcompensate.

We have moved on over the years to where women can continue to grow their careers alongside being parents, but there is an expectation that women will juggle everything and do it well!

This includes their career, home and social lives, which combined can contribute strongly to imposter syndrome.

That’s something I’m trying to counteract in my management style. To me, being the best leader and role model for your team means showing them the realities of your life instead of acting as if everything is perfect and never allowing the line between your personal and professional life to blur. If you need to finish work early to take your child to the doctor or go to a school play, that’s being a much better role model than working until 8pm and missing bedtime!

When companies provide assistance and leadership programmes that allow employees to express themselves with confidence, this can be massively beneficial to help employees overcome imposter syndrome. Clio has been fantastic in this regard and offers a number of programmes to help all employees succeed, including personalised development plans, mentorship programmes, one-to-one sessions with a career coach, regular discussion sessions on workplace challenges, leadership development programmes, and more.

My advice is to be clear about what you want to achieve and to put energy into building strong relationships, both within and outside of your company.

It is important to know what it is you want on your career journey and to discuss this with your manager regularly.

Building strong relationships helps you to build your own personal brand and it will help you to create visibility for your output, as well as yourself. You never know when an opportunity will arise but when it does don’t be afraid to jump into the unknown. Taking a chance on something new can be greatly rewarding and you don’t ever have to feel 100% ready for a step up.

Just go for it!

Meet Lisa, Senior Manager of Customer Success EMEA, Clio

Lisa Hampel

I’ve been at Clio for two and half years now but my career looked rather different some years ago.

I studied Psychology but I started my career working for an online games publisher and from there, I worked in a handful of tech companies before joining Clio. I joined Clio because I love working with agile and high-performing teams – challenging myself and finding new ways to grow motivates me.

Imposter syndrome definitely comes in waves for me, especially around the time of a big career opportunity. For a lot of my career, I didn’t feel like I really fit the image of what a “leader in tech” looks like.

Only after seeking out sponsors, mentors, and learning to be intentional in asking for help when I needed it, my pathway started to become a lot clearer.

From what I’ve seen, imposter syndrome affects anyone who dares to be introspective about their life. This is especially true if you don’t have a relatable example of where you want to go. The shining beacons of “success” in the workplace are still often cis-presenting, white and male – this does not seem very relatable to anyone who may not have these same attributes.

One thing that’s really helped me to navigate imposter syndrome is to challenge my own thinking. Often, the origins of imposter syndrome stem from the model we’ve created about our lives in our heads. Taking time to be introspective about what you can realistically achieve right now, as well as what you currently need and want, is immensely helpful. Learning to navigate this with kindness and patience is a study in itself but taking the doubts as an opportunity to question the status quo is not a bad thing and can help to drive real change.

Another thing that I find helpful is knowing that many people, including my own idols and colleagues, suffer from a version of imposter syndrome. At Clio, I feel fortunate to see leaders that are authentic and share examples of humanity. By encouraging staff to share stories and creating space for diversity of thought, there is a culture of acceptance and normality.

We are all human and will never know it all – accepting this is a big step.