In her acclaimed 2013 book, The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace Success, former Girls Inc. CEO and Women of Power Legacy Award winner Joyce Roche comes clean about the inner turmoil and self-doubt that both drove and tortured her during her pioneering journey up the corporate ladder. Even once she burst through the glass ceiling and claimed the C-suite as her own, she was dogged by fears that she wasn’t really deserving of her success and those deep misgivings drove her to over-prepare, over-think, over-extend herself and generally overwork herself.
Through years of self-examination and a search for answers to why she questioned the very success she worked so hard to achieve, she discovered she had Imposter Syndrome, and she was far from alone.
Reflecting on both her corporate journey and her personal one in this candid and compelling book, Roche, a past Women of Power Legacy Award honoree, will share her experiences at the 2014 Women of Power Summit next month in Boca Raton. With this book, she pays her recovery forward in the hopes that others will be spared the angst she felt for so long. In this brief excerpt, Roche illuminates a fundamental tool for controlling compulsive self-doubt.
“A common theme among the stories of people who suffer from the imposter syndrome is trying to alleviate the feelings of not being worthy by working harder and harder. Of course, there is a limit to just how much one person can work. And ultimately, it is never enough, since the external validation we are so eager for does not make the feelings that we do not really deserve it to go away.”
“For women, there has been a particularly exquisite double bind. We have to prove that we are worthy of work, but even as we have been doing that, we have had to contend with questions about our abilities as women in our social roles – as wives, mothers, daughters, friends, and coworkers. This has led too many women to try to be everything to everyone, except being themselves.
The way back from this fruitless and desperate pursuit is to ask what it means to you to be worthy in your own eyes. This is not an easy question to answer, but it is essential to ponder as you prepare to reclaim the joy, zest, and power of your life.”