Pascale Lane of ‘You Fulfilled’: How To Thrive Despite Experiencing Impostor Syndrome

Candice Georgiadis
Apr 6 · 12 min read

Be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself how you would talk to others. Cheesy at it may sound, we are often our own worst bullies and would be devastated if someone spoke to our children or loved ones how we speak to ourselves. Go back to your list and remind yourself of everything you have achieved so far.

As a part of our series about how very accomplished leaders can succeed despite experiencing imposter syndrome, I had the pleasure of interviewing Pascale Lane.

Pascale Lane is a Therapeutic Relationship and Life Coach working to help women re-evaluate their lives and achieve the life they want.

Pascale has been helping people with relationship and confidence issues for over 20 years, as a social worker, counselor and as a life coach. She specializes in working with women to help them understand that they don’t always need to put other people’s needs before they own, that they can ask for more and that they can love and care for themselves as well as those around them.

Through her one to one work, her Surviving to Thriving group coaching programme and her book How to be Happy in Life and Love, Pascale is working to improve women’s relationships both with themselves and with those around them.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a bit about your backstory so our readers can get to know you a bit better?

My name is Pascale Lane and I am a Therapeutic Relationship and Life Coach. I am an ex-social worker and now work combining relationship counseling and life coaching. During my role as a social worker, I trained as an Attachment Based counselor and later with Relate as a relationship counselor. I also worked as a female prison counselor.

I’ve never been that good at sitting back quietly and observing and love to have a much more collaborative relationship with my clients. Whilst I still practice couple and family counseling, my primary role is coaching mums and helping them to heal their childhood wounds in order to raise happy children in a thriving family home.

I love my job so much! I get an enormous amount of pride and satisfaction from it.

I have two young daughters myself and helping others reminds me every day how to be the best version of myself so that they too can grow up happy and thriving.

What’s the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or takeaways you learned from it?

I’ve never been the most confident person, despite my outer appearance — I never really had a full sense of belonging. I started my role as a project worker (unqualified social worker) at the age of 22 having worked previously in a children’s home for a year. My career in social work lasted 18 years before I retired my role.

I had never achieved that much at school and was very lucky to have left with 8 GCSE’s and 2 A-Levels. When I finally undertook my social work degree in 2009 I was astounded to have passed with a 2:1. My academic confidence remained very low despite having some post-school achievements, but I realized that if I really worked hard, I might be able to ‘do this’.

I’ve always been a daddy-pleaser and sought his approval. He’s always been a very loving dad but was both academically gifted and quite pushy. His pride at my social work degree was palpable and after a couple of conversations about my interest in social justice, he very soon had me enrolled onto a Masters course in Criminology and Criminal Justice. He was happy to split the cost with me and was clearly more enthusiastic than I was.

I started the course (distance learning) and carried on my social work role. Not long after this, I fell pregnant with my first daughter and was of course, absolutely delighted. ‘Well this is going to be tough’, I thought to myself, but comforted myself that maternity leave would give me space to finish the course and dissertation. Roll forward a year, my beautiful daughter of course turned our world wonderfully upside down and the sleepless nights were no joke. However, the biggest shock was yet to come. 23rd December 2013 my dad passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly. I was just entering the final chunk of the Masters course, I had a 10 month old baby and was still working, albeit part time, as a social worker.

I’ve never known strong like I did at that time. How I got through it I genuinely have no idea, but I did, for him and for her.

I never really used the Criminology or Criminal Justice to be honest. Why would I… it was never really my thing. However, I did learn something that would change my life forever and as such, the Masters was absolutely priceless.

First of all, I realized that most of my career until that point had been doing what made my dad proud, but far more than that, I released that I could do ANYTHING I wanted to do as long as I had the motivation and determination to do it. My entire outlook on life change from then.

What do you think makes your work stand out, and why?

Well, I never really felt at home in my social work role as I found confrontation really difficult and struggle to highlight people’s difficulties and flaws (it’s not all heroin addicts and domestic violence — most people have had very sad stories and are victim to their upbringing and environment). As a therapist I never really sat that quietly and found that being a bit more forthcoming (supportively and compassionately but also in a gentle ‘now what’ kind of way) was better suited to me.

Moving over to therapeutic life coaching felt like an excellent combination of all my skills and one I feel extremely comfortable with. My greatest success cases are where I can really help to guide my clients proactively. I share my thoughts and experience and have a natural skill and ability to make people feel relaxed and comfortable with me. I love to laugh with my clients as well as hold the necessary space for healing wounds and trauma. I love my job so much and I know that my passion for it shines in all aspects of my life and that is, I believe, what makes the biggest difference.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person you are grateful towards, who helped get you to where you are?

Most definitely my husband. He’s always been my champion and has always supported me to do whatever I wanted to do. If I ever wobble, either about ability, time or money, his standard response will always be, ‘don’t worry about it, it’ll be fine, just do it’. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve fallen out about housework along the way, but I’ve never felt any hesitation from him in regard to my goals or ability and I will always be extremely grateful to him for that.

We would like to explore Impostor Syndrome. How would you define Impostor Syndrome? What do people with Imposter Syndrome feel?

Quite simply, Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that you don’t deserve to be where you are in terms of job or achievements, you got there by luck or fluke and that at any given time, you will be discovered for a fraud. It affects people from all types of social status and background, irrespective of financial status or education. People with Imposter Syndrome simply feel life they don’t deserve to be where they are and that their peers are far better and more capable than they are. They find it difficult to accept praise, apologise when they haven’t done anything wrong, hold themselves to a very high standard, rarely speak up for fear of being found out, will rarely put themselves forward for promotion because they don’t believe they should be where they are now, let alone the next level up and generally don’t believe they are worthy or deserving of their position or achievements.

What are the downsides of Impostor Syndrome? How can it limit people?

I think the biggest downside of Imposter Syndrome is not being able to see the value in yourself that deserves to shine. To walk through life always looking over your shoulder, being afraid to speak up and always feeling like you are carrying a secret that no one else knows, just feels debilitating. Imposter Syndrome if often, though not exclusively, linked to low self-esteem and general feelings of not being good enough. This is a lonely way to walk through life and doesn’t take into account all of the wonderful things you are good at, both in terms of career, personality and achievements.

Of course if you are feeling like a fraud and that you are only where you are by chance or luck, not only are you limiting your shine now, but you also limit it for future opportunities. There may be great and wonderful things just around the next corner for you, but if you are anxiously glued to the spot you’ll never be able to see them.

How can the experience of Impostor Syndrome impact how we treat others?

Healthy relationships with others depends on a good level of self-esteem and when we are lacking in this, we can often feel judged or rejected by others. For those with imposter syndrome and likely low self-esteem, it is easy to come from a place of defence, feeling like any comment about their character or ability is somehow exposing them for the ‘fraud’ that they are. This may come across as argumentative or defensive. They may push people away or keep them at arm’s length for fear that if they get too close, they will see or judge the imposter for who they really are. Equally they may find it difficult to accept praise and will avoid any situation where they are likely to feel exposed. Often people with IS and/or low self esteem will seek relationships with people who need or depend on them, even abusive towards, them because there is ‘comfort’ in feeling needed and assured that they won’t leave.

Do you have a personal experience with Impostor Syndrome? Are there any stories you can share?

I regularly feel like an imposter but am getting better at silencing my inner critic. Even though I know that I am well educated, well qualified and experienced to do what I am doing, there is still a part of me that feels like a fraud. I have a very active presence on Facebook and LinkedIn, have written a book and have helped dozens of women and couples in my current profession. And yet the voice is still there that says, one day someone will expose you and then what will you do. I know that there are others less qualified than me who do an amazing job so my head knows it’s silly.

I suppose my inner critic is the young girl in me who made so many mistakes and really didn’t like the person staring back in the mirror. She was sad and lonely and didn’t like or respect herself. I know that I am really good at my job. I actually don’t doubt it at all. And more important than that, I am an excellent mummy raising two very happy and confident little girls. But I also know that I am flawed in many ways and am by no means perfect at all (well, who is, right?). That’s where the doubt comes in and then I am reminded in tidal waves of all the mistakes I’ve made, professionally and personally, the things I’ve got wrong, the moods I get in with my husband when he annoys me, the imperfect daughter I have been, and so on and so on…..

If yes, how did you manage to overcome your Imposter Syndrome?

Showing up publicly and sharing my experience is what has been the turning point for me. My clients and group members don’t come to me because of my education, they come to me because I am real. I don’t hide behind anything or anyone. I share my story and I am relatable. That’s what people want. Thy don’t want experts, they want someone who they can see themselves in. Once I realized that and owned that, things started to really blossom. I used to hate it when people complimented me in the past but now I really embrace that I am helping people and that people are interested in what I have to say. It’s a really great feeling.

In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone who is experiencing Impostor Syndrome can take to move forward despite feeling like an “Impostor”? Please share an example for each.

Think about where it came from. Identifying the source of anything that causes you pain or anxiety is key to overcoming it. Did it start in childhood? Was it a family issue, school issue or something later in your education or career? Once you figure this out, you’ll be able to see it a bit clearer for what it is. Remember that a healthy amount of fear is ok. It can keep us grounded and on our toes. But once it takes hold and turns healthy doubt into unhealthy anxiety, it serves you no purpose at all. Understand it for what it is.

List all of you achievements and positive characteristics. This is something I get many of my clients to do and it is a really useful exercise. Often we can only concentrate on the negatives in our life. By taking the time to list all of our positives, no matter how big or small, we are able to see in black and white everything that we can be proud of.

Be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself how you would talk to others. Cheesy at it may sound, we are often our own worst bullies and would be devastated if someone spoke to our children or loved ones how we speak to ourselves. Go back to your list and remind yourself of everything you have achieved so far.

List what you would like to achieve next. It doesn’t have to be a PhD. It can be whatever you like, anything that makes your heart happy. Write out the benefits of being able to achieve it and what stands in the way. Work out how you can close the gap. Big changes don’t happen overnight but small steps every day in the right direction will take you far.

Talk to people about your fears and anxieties. Trust me when I say, you are not alone. I know loads of people who suffer with Imposter Syndrome and you would be very surprised how many of you friends and peers have the same fears as you. This isn’t about affirming each other madly and telling how wonderful you are (although no harm will ever be done by that!). This is about recognising that others feel the same as you and that you are neither alone nor an imposter.

If you could inspire one movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would it be?

Oooh that’s a biggie. I think it would be to help get people thinking about how their early experiences have impacted them and informed their adult relationships. That’s not to say everyone is a wounded solider, but I think if there were a greater understanding as to how we end up where we are, we would go a long way to make lives happier and more fulfilled.

The overwhelming majority of my clients are mums who are working hard to heal their childhood wounds in order for them to raise happy and thriving children. Its not just the parent/child relationship but also the parent/parent relationship. Once there is a better awareness of that, they can break the patterns and cycles of behaviour that have cause hurt or upset. Helping them, their children and their children’s children.

Is there a person in the world with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why?

My dad. Always my dad.

Apart from missing him every hour of every day, I’d just love to talk to him about his granddaughters and share our delight in how wonderful and amazing they are. He was besotted with my eldest for the short time they had together and I know would have just been the best papa to them if he had the chance. I’d love to share everything I learnt and achieved over the past 7 years as well as discuss Brexit and Trump and have a good old natter, as we did all the time.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You Fulfilled: Public FaceBook Page — https://www.facebook.com/You-Fulfilled-Therapeutic-Relationship-and-Life-Coach-100207308278065

Happy and Fulfilled: Facebook group for ladies — https://www.facebook.com/groups/263601068365236

Website — www.youfulfilled.co.uk

LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/pascale-lane-mbacp-a7300627/

Authority Magazine

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Candice Georgiadis

Written by

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store