Ever feel like your accomplishments are nowhere near as good as the people around you? Even when the evidence suggests otherwise? Overcoming that feeling of being an imposter and learning to step up and out proudly is critical if we are to successfully advance our career.
‘When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt’ – Author Unknown
Hands up if you have ever thought to yourself ‘that’s it, the game is up. When this happens, people will realize that I don’t actually know as much as they think I do?’
A quick Google search will reveal that you are not alone in thinking that you suffer from that nagging feeling of not being good enough or that given enough time people will discover that you are not as amazing as you appear.
In fact not only are you not alone, you are in good company! People such as Kate Winslet, Sheryl Sandberg, Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and Michelle Pfeiffer have, despite their obvious and widely recognised achievements suffered from Imposter Syndrome.
“I convince myself I’m fooling people.” (Jonathan Safran Foer)
“I still think people will find out that I’m really not very talented. I’m really not very good. It’s all been a big sham.” (Michelle Pfeiffer)
“Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud.” (Emma Watson)
Quite simply the Imposter Syndrome leaves you feeling like a fraud because you think your accomplishments are nowhere near as good as the people around you. Often they are, but the high standards that you apply to yourself leave you feeling like a sham.
Valerie Young author of the book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women describes The Impostor Syndrome as that feeling of “always waiting for the other shoe to drop. You feel as if you’ve flown under the radar, been lucky or they just like you. If you dismiss your accomplishments and abilities, you’re left with one conclusion: You’ve fooled them.”
Whilst it is reported that more women than men are affected, recent statistics suggest that up to 65% of the population has experienced it at one time or another. The condition is particularly evident in Type A, highly successful and career driven personalities. Granted we are all susceptible to thoughts and feelings of self-doubt, but when they shape our decisions and actions and prevent us from pursuing our ambitions we place ourselves (and our careers) in real danger.
Take a look at some of the signs to look out for below. Do you recognise any in yourself or in the people you lead?
No doubt you have heard of the saying ‘fake it ‘til you make it’. But what happens when you still feel like your faking it, even you when you have made it? Chances are you are not only limiting career options but you are stunting both personal and career growth.
So what are some of the actions we can take to overcome the Impostor Syndrome?
Creating and maintaining successful careers takes courage. It requires you to embrace challenges, walk into unknown territory and step up and out of your comfort zone. It means shaking off your fears and self-doubt and recognizing and celebrating your accomplishments.
When you do not only will you create career options but also opportunities to showcase your true potential and fulfill your ambitions.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts below.
Margot – The Career Diplomat
The roots of courageous leadership are firmly planted in self awareness, ownership and accountability.
Work on strengthening two different aspects of resilience.
When at a career crossroads, give yourself room to imagine what’s possible without any guilt.
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