The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace Success

  • 3h 22m
  • Joyce M. Roché
  • Berrett-Koehler Publishers
  • 2013

Joyce Roché rose from humble circumstances to earn an Ivy League MBA and eventually become the first African-American vice president of Avon. She was later president of a leading hair care company and CEO of the nationally prominent nonprofit Girls Inc.

But she never felt she deserved her success. In fact, the phrase “the empress has no clothes” kept running through her head. She was nothing like the emperor in the Hans Christian Andersen story—she was certainly not a fraud. And yet that’s how she’d always felt.

Roché discovered there was a name for this: the impostor syndrome. In this deeply personal memoir she shares her lifelong struggle with the imposter syndrome and offers advice and coping strategies based on her own experiences and those of other high-achieving leaders who have suffered from it.

As she tells her story, Roché, as well as her friends, identifies the situations and circumstances that can trigger these irrational feelings of inadequacy. For her, being from a working-class background, being black, being a woman, and often being younger than her professional peers made her feel she had to try that much harder to prove herself. But insidiously, the more she achieved, the more inadequate she felt. She was never able to enjoy her success; she just fell into a vicious cycle of ever-increasing work hours and an ever-decreasing personal life.

The imposter syndrome constricts people’s lives, makes them waste time and emotional energy, and can even damage their health. The hard-won advice this book offers may never entirely silence the voice of doubt, but it can quiet it enough so that, like Joyce Roché, you can finally live a life of joy, zest, and true fulfillment.

About the Author

Joyce M. Roché currently sits on the boards of four Fortune 500 companies as well as several nonprofits. She received the Legacy Award at the 2006 Women of Power Summit of Black Enterprise Magazine.

In this Book

  • Breaking the Silence
  • It's Not What You Wear
  • What if You Have no Silver Spoon?
  • Gender Matters
  • What Color is Your Parachute?
  • But You are So Young
  • Climbing the Ladder
  • What if the Naysayers are Right?
  • The Weight of the World
  • What Did You do to Get Here?
  • Listen to Your Heart
  • Joy, Zest, and Power