Understanding Vulnerability and Imposter Syndrome

Our Founding Partner, David Slemen, and Managing Partner, Anna Edwards, have been on the road recently, touring the training grounds and stadiums belonging to clubs in the Premier League, Championship and Premiership Rugby, alongside other sports. Understanding each unique environment is crucial to finding the right people to make up the inter-disciplinary teams behind the teams who will enter the arena for the coming season.

As part of that journey, David and Anna met some of the best leaders, coaches and practitioners across the country, and as their travels came to a close, David has shared his insights on LinkedIn, saying:

“Having found similar learnings in the most different of places, arriving on the south coast this week brought another uniformity home. Those who have impressed – and left the greatest impression on – us have been driven by a consistent set of characteristics. No matter where we’ve been, what the sport, whether drinking coffee in a hotel, office or training ground, whether meeting the most senior or most up-and-coming of people, we have found a restlessness among the best. Despite being at the top of their game those who really know their stuff have come across as a bit vulnerable, overemphasising the role of luck in their journeys, aware of their weaknesses, human and without a mask. Candidate ability and bravado have always had something of an inverse relationship, but the deeper truth this belies has jumped out at us as we have travelled around. Your full potential is something that is hard to reach. But the very best strive for it day-after-day long after external expectations have been surpassed, leaving them uncomfortable, unhappy with the status quo. This need to do more – better – is clear in how they present themselves, judge themselves, push themselves, critique themselves. And the others just aren’t as good.”

Anna followed up with,

“Feeling vulnerable is human nature. But it’s only in transitioning to work in sport that I have seen it quite so honestly and openly displayed as David Slemen points out here. If you can manage to get out of your own way, vulnerability can help you become a peak performer. Something I will be firmly holding on to this afternoon as I take part in my first coaching fishbowl at university – as terrifying a concept as it sounds!”

Great perspective from our Elite Performance Partners.

Posted by: David Slemen
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