Women often struggle to know when to reach out before it’s too late. They face constant pressure at work to succeed without failure. This stress can lead to an overwhelming feeling of imposter syndrome and eventually burnout if left alone. I talk to Jenny Willscheid, certified confidence, mindset and NLP coach, about stigmas women face and the effect those stigmas can have on mental health and a woman’s career success.
Jenny, can you tell us a bit about what you do to introduce yourself?
I am a certified confidence, mindset & NLP coach for ambitious women and I’m the founder of justjenny.co, a coaching company focused on empowering women in the corporate world.
I usually work with women in corporate management, leadership or expert roles who struggle with self-doubt, overwhelm and imposter syndrome. It can really hinder their career success and progression and I help them overcome that.
What made you realise this was the kind of work you wanted to do?
Firstly because I love coaching and mentoring, and helping people develop personally and professionally. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed in my corporate career as well. I’ve struggled with self-doubt myself and got to the point where I felt burned out. I also realised that many women feel the same way, to the point of leaving their jobs or taking extended time off due to stress and burnout, however not many speak about it.
I would love to see more women in leadership roles and management boards. I’ve worked with coaches myself and learned to overcome my mindset blocks and self-limiting beliefs and made it my mission to help women in the corporate world have more impact.
What is your unique approach?
I love mindset work and overcoming conscious and subconscious blocks and beliefs that people hold about themselves and the world around them. This is often the number one thing holding people back and by overcoming these blocks and working on their self-esteem and confidence, they can feel good about themselves and realise that they’re enough. Most subconscious beliefs are deeply held and formed in childhood. I use NLP and energy work to overcome them. This is the approach that has worked extremely well for me and for the clients I work with.
How common is it for women to be struggling with imposter syndrome or lack of confidence in the workplace?
From my own experience and from researching various different studies, I believe that imposter syndrome in the workplace is very common. Many men also experience these feelings but women seem to be more affected by it and at a larger scale.
I believe that one cause is that women are still largely under-represented in higher management and leadership positions as well as a lack of role models. There are also still quite a few stigmas around the role of women or that women are perceived to be too sensitive or emotional to be good leaders, which is something I hear quite often.
It’s hard for women to speak freely about their stress due to the stigma and fear of appearing weak. Can you explain the negative impact these stigmas can have?
Many women that I know, and I can speak for myself as well, feel as though they need to work even harder than their peers to prove themselves and also allow no margin for errors or mistakes which puts a lot of pressure on them. Many women in corporate jobs struggle with this feeling, that no matter what they are doing it doesn’t seem to be good enough. It’s a never ending cycle of doubt and second guessing yourself despite any successes or achievements. Over-working and overachieving and putting constant pressure on themselves, can lead to poor boundaries, meaning always having to be available, taking on more and more work and eventually burning out.
Often an immense workload and a poor work-life balance alone lead to burnout but when combined with self-doubt and pressure caused by imposter syndrome it worsens this effect. Imposter syndrome can have negative effects on the employees physical and mental health as well as hinder their career progression, causing them to shy away from promotions or more responsibilities.
Why is it important for women to recognise signs of burnout and stress? And how can they learn to do this?
It’s important to recognise the signs early on, as otherwise it can be too late. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this many times. Once feeling burned out, exhausted and drained it is quite hard to recover from it, and it is much easier to prevent it. Many women ignore the signs, as they could appear “weak”. They often avoid setting boundaries and are fully available all the time to avoid appearing lazy or disengaged. Many also believe they are “immune” against burning out, however they often seek validation from “workaholism” and do not want to admit that they need breaks or should prioritise themselves. Common signs of burnout are feeling mentally and physically exhausted, feeling cynical and negative towards your work and unmotivated.
Women can learn to prevent burnout by implementing daily “check-ins” on how they’re feeling, where their energy levels are at and asking themselves what they really need and then do that. It’s important to have boundaries and to create self-care routines to regularly “recharge their batteries”, recognising that they’re only human.
Having a morning routine is also extremely important. Many start reading their emails or scrolling through social media when they wake up, adding to stress levels. A great morning routine could include activities such as meditation, exercising, stretching, journaling, visualising their day, having breakfast and not looking at their phone for the first 30-60 minutes after waking up.
What benefits can coaching have for women?
Coaching helps women bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be. It can help them reach their goals much faster as they work out actionable steps with their coach, receive support and encouragement as well as accountability which is very important. Especially for women struggling with self-doubt and overwhelm, coaching is very beneficial when working on their mindset and self-limiting beliefs.
Can you share a success story with readers?
In my coaching, I use NLP techniques to uncover conscious and subconscious mindset blocks and self-limiting beliefs. Most of them were formed in childhood and as adults we are often still “stuck” with these beliefs about who we are and what is possible for us (for example “I’ve always been bad at.., I’m just not good at … I’ve never been able to…” etc). Using NLP, we are able to identify situations that gave us this belief and then give it a new meaning, with the knowledge we now have as adults. Identifying and transforming limiting beliefs has proven extremely successful for myself and my clients as it provides a completely new outlook about themselves and what is possible. They then often go and apply for the positions they always wanted to have, apply for companies that they previously believed they would never land a job in or even start their own businesses.
Do you have any tips for women dealing with imposter syndrome and burnout?
If you struggle with imposter syndrome, it is important to speak to someone you can trust about your feelings instead of struggling on your own. This could be a friend, a trusted person at work or a coach. Celebrating achievements and successes is very important to realise what you are capable of and acknowledging how far you’ve come and what you’ve already accomplished. It’s important to be kind to yourself and to realise that you don’t need to be perfect and that there is always more to learn. Taking breaks and time out for yourself is an important part of your success as well. If you are constantly running on empty, you won’t be able to show up as the best version of yourself everyday. When you learn how to recharge, you have the physical and mental capacity to be as successful as you can and want to be. This is often underestimated and people keep going even though they know they need a break or knowing that they should be asking for support. Allowing yourself to do that and prioritising yourself is very important for long term success.
What advice would you give to women looking to make a change in their life to increase their confidence and build a better career?
My advice is for women to start believing in themselves and their abilities. Learning to praise themselves and celebrate their accomplishments increases confidence and self-belief. Another important factor is to monitor your thoughts and the way you speak to yourself. Your thoughts affect your feelings which affect your actions and determine your results. If you want to have different results, e.g. be more confident, you can start by changing the thoughts you are thinking. If you think positively about yourself and your abilities and what you can do and achieve you will feel differently and show up differently. Having a mentor and/or working with coaches accelerates success as they can help you overcome fears and self-limiting beliefs that can otherwise hold you back.
How can people contact you, and where can they follow you on social media?
People can contact me via my website www.justjenny.co and I offer free 30 minute discovery calls for women who are interested in working with me 1:1 and they can also follow me on Instagram @justjenny.co