Last week I was invited to present to the consultants and support professionals at Oliver Wyman, here in Dubai, on the Imposter Syndrome.
According to Forbes magazine, having to live with a nagging fear of being “found out” as not being as smart, talented, or experienced as people think is a common phenomenon. So common, in fact, that the term “Impostor Syndrome” was coined to describe it back in the 1980’s. Indeed, researchers believe that up to 70% of people have suffered from it at some point. So how would it be if you could indeed speak confidently to anyone, anywhere, at anytime? Here are three things that can help:
1. Look at the reality of the situation
Quite often the perception we have of the situation in our heads is completely different to the actual reality of the situation in we enter into. Those of us who have experienced the Impostor Syndrome will know that feeling that follows from that thought of, “I bet everyone knows more than I do”, it’s that feeling of inferiority; that feeling of self-doubt that can fill our heads if we allow it to. What we need to do here is to look at the reality of the situation, and instead of assuming that everyone knows more than we do, look at what we bring to the event and recognise its value, because we can all bring something to the table.
2. Aim for Excellence
When clients tell me they want something to be “perfect”, it’s like nails down a chalk board! If you’re looking for perfection then you’re more likely to find anxiety, frustration and even anger instead, because perfection is a completely irrational goal. You’ll serve yourself much better when you aim for excellence instead of perfection, when you focus on the progress you’ve made rather than what you’ve not done or not achieved.
3. Own your own successes
Yes, some of us may have got where we are today with some luck or some family connections, but realistically it’s not all about other people and we’ve got to learn to own our own successes. Keep in mind that we can create success in many different ways in our lives; it can be in creating rapport with a “difficult” person, passing a set of exams, learning a new skill or a new language, or recognising the need for change and taking action. Become more aware of your own successes
In this video bestselling Author Margie Warrell talks about why so many people fear being exposed as an impostor and unworthy of their position or success.
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