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Two Ways to Ditch Imposter Syndrome and Start Enjoying Your Success

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Imposter Syndrome – when we feel that we aren’t good enough – is a common negative thinking pattern that holds many of us back in our careers.
Here’s how to ditch the self-doubt and enjoy your success.

 

Our own thoughts  are our biggest obstacle. Negative thoughts are like giant banana skins, tripping us up until we clear them from our path.

Psychologists call them performance inhibiting thoughts (PITs) and imposter Syndrome is a really common one. PITs are emotional not rational reasoning: because we feel something we think it is real.

 

I feel like a failure, therefore I am one.

I feel like an imposter, therefore I am one.

I don’t feel good enough, so I’m not up to the job.

 

When we feel this way we start to behave like it too. It’s a vicious circle. You feel like an imposter, so you behave like you don’t belong.

You subconsciously opt out:

  • You don’t make eye contact or small talk with senior people so you stay under the radar.
  • You don’t speak up in meetings. When you do say something you start with an apology.
  • You avoid strategic work, preferring safer, small tasks with little value.
  • You micro-manage your team rather than risk letting them make mistakes.
  • You justify your existence by being crazy busy, creating work for everyone else with unnecessary emails and ineffective meetings.
  • You avoid conflict, difficult conversations and post-mortems.
  • Your team will stay friends with you but move on to work for a Manager who will push and develop them.
  • You don’t put your hand up for new responsibilities or seek development opportunities for yourself.
  • You don’t build relationships with influential mentors or sponsors so lack access to new opportunities and networks.
  • You aren’t good at articulating your contribution so your performance ratings are not as strong as your peers.

These are all false defence mechanisms that get in the way of success. Your perception of not contributing or fitting in has become a reality.

Here are two steps to smack that false phoney down and get rid of your internal imposter voice.

 

You have been hired in the role and have been given responsibilities based on what people perceive you can do.

 

First, ignore your feelings and look objectively at your situation.

We judge ourselves by what we believe we are capable of. Other people judge us by what we have done. Whether or not you FEEL like you deserve to be there, you ARE there.

You have been hired in the role and have been given responsibilities based on what people perceive you can do.

 

Are your employers idiots, who offer jobs to people who don’t deserve them?

 

Feelings are not facts, and don’t reflect reality.

Are your employers idiots, who offer jobs to people who don’t deserve them? Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt!

Think about what you have achieved so far, to give you data of just how good you really are. This strategy worked for Michelle Obama, who said imposter syndrome had dogged her for most of her life, until she decided to let her work speak for itself and to stop getting in her own way.

 

You are in a job role, so role-play. Act like a successful person in that role and your own self belief will catch up.

 

Second, start behaving like a successful person.

This is what I call acting ‘As IF”.

You are in a job role, so role-play. Act like a successful person in that role and your own self belief will catch up. We are a sum of our repeated actions.

Dress and behave like an outstanding performer: make the same impression they would make and act like them. Have the same aspirations.

Find a mentor and some role models. Learn how they behave in meetings, how they influence people, manage their time and create an impact. Put your hand up for projects they would want. Then put your own spin on it, to build your reputation.

Tell people what you have achieved and what you want to do next to create even more value for the business.

 

About the Author

Zena Everett

Zena Everett is one of the UK’s leading careers experts, coaching and training professionals from a wide range of companies including Shire Pharmaceuticals, Bausch and Lomb, Gazprom, HSBC, Citigroup, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and several international law firms.

She is an Executive Coach on Oxford University’s global Executive MBA programme as well as the author of two books: MindFlip: Reinvent your Future, and Crazy Busy: How to Get More Done in a Day. Sign up to Zena’s mailing list at www.zenaeverett.com to get a free digital copy of Crazy Busy.

Mind Flip Zena Everett

www.zenaeverett.com

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