Chitting the chat

I’ve had a pleasant change of pace this week: fewer internal meetings, a bit more time for thinking and planning, and lots of time to speak to some of our programme’s stakeholders opinion-havers.

My team has a very regular cadence of meetings with representatives from hundreds of external organisations; and I try to get out and about to talk about what we’re doing and listen to what people think of it as often as I can. Partly because it’s a good thing to do – open policy making is the way our team likes to work – but also because I like doing it.

One particular meeting stood out this week. We were asked some pretty challenging questions, and I was the most senior person in the room from our side, so the buck stopped with me for providing cogent answers!

Now, any civil servant worth their weight in rubber-stamps can blather their way through a question they don’t really have an answer to; but I didn’t need to. The questions might have been probing and they might have been posed in ways I’d not been confronted by before, but that didn’t matter. Not only did I have answers, I felt like I had a great answer to every question, right on the tip of my tongue. I didn’t have to think about it. I didn’t have to check my notes. I was just – dare I say – effortlessly on top of it.

It’s probably the first time since joining this programme back in 2022 that I’d clocked my own imposter syndrome. There have been many moments in the past two years that I’ve felt out of my depth, but I think this week has made me realise that, actually, I really know what I’m doing now. And that’s a great feeling to end the week on.