Have you ever felt that you can’t actually do your job well and that someone will find out? Or that you’ve only got to where you are through luck and hard work rather than your abilities?
This is known as Imposter Syndrome and is found particularly in high achieving and perfectionist women. The positive side is that if you recognise these feelings you are probably very successful. The negative side is that you may be allowing your fear of being a fraud to stop you achieving even greater success.
Many business women such as Liz Bingham, managing partner of Ernst and Young and celebrities such as Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet suffer from these thoughts. Kate famously said “I’d wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and think, I can’t do this; I’m a fraud.”
It’s natural to have some occasional self-doubts about your abilities but if you find these fears are regularly affecting the decisions you make and the actions you take, then it’s time to tackle them.
Step 1Acceptance. You are a work in progress and you don’t have to be the best, just the best you can be
Step 2Authenticity. Be true to yourself by knowing your strengths and weaknesses and then show compassion to yourself about the areas you find more difficult. Take time to reflect on your successes and to own them. It wasn’t just luck or hard work that made you successful; and no, not anyone could have achieved them
Step 3Courage. Don’t let your fear of being a fraud keep you hidden in your comfort zone. Take the confident step and go for the challenges that may not succeed, knowing that whatever happens you can cope with it
If you follow these three steps you will achieve so much more than you would stuck in an imposter rut and in the process you will realise your position as a true achiever