08 Jun Are you really a fraud?
Are you really a fraud? Do you worry that you are about to be found out? Could it be Imposter Syndrome?
When I was in my twenties I had a great job working for a multinational company. I enjoyed everything about the job. But, every time I was away from work on holiday I always felt my boss or colleagues would find me out.
I was convinced that while I was away they’d discover I couldn’t really do the job and I’d been faking it all this time.
Or, they’d find out I’d done something wrong with catastrophic consequences.
So much so that I dreaded going back after my holiday.
I would creep through the door on the first day back with my head down ready to be told I’d got the sack.
It never happened. They always seemed glad to see me.
When I look back, I’d got the job on my own merit.
I’d survived a tough interview and practical test and worked there for a few years.
I always had great feedback (apart from my poor filing habits – but that’s another story) and was promoted and given more responsibility.
Despite all that I still didn’t believe that I deserved to be there.
I felt I’d just been lucky – the other candidates couldn’t have been much good.
It was all a bit too good to be true.
Does this ring a bell with you?
Might you have imposter syndrome (or imposter phenomenon as it’s also sometimes known).
Imposter syndrome isn’t just feeling nervous about doing something new, going somewhere for the first time, or starting a new job.
Imposter syndrome is when you don’t recognise what you’ve achieved; when you minimise your successes; focus on what you can’t do rather than what you can; when you don’t think you’re as good as other people seem to think you are; and worry that you are going to be found out.
I’m not sure where my own imposter syndrome started and it still crops up every now and again.
But now I recognise it.
There are lots of ways to deal with Imposter Syndrome.
One of the practical approaches that I’ve used with my coaching clients is The Confidence Wall which I heard about at a conference*.
Make a list of positive things – like your experience, qualifications, strengths, successes you’ve had, positive feedback you’ve received.
Each thing in your list becomes a brick in Your Confidence Wall.
Build Your Confidence Wall.
When Imposter Syndrome rears it’s head, take a look at Your Confidence Wall and reaffirm the positives.