By m kasahara

Photo by: m kasahara

“I don’t belong here.”

“I don’t really know what I’m doing.”

“I can’t believe they think I’m capable of that.”

“They have no idea I’m faking it.”

I have heard these confessions from people at all stages of their career, from new grads to senior

executives. It can show up as occasional pangs of doubt or a nearly crippling fear of being “found out”.

Are you one of these impostors?

Ambitious people in particular are often plagued with the feeling that they are. But when challenged, I find the “ impostors” uncover these truths:

– Who they are and what they bring to the table are valuable. Their current circumstance is not an accident.

– They don’t actually believe they should be experts who can do their job with their eyes shut. (And when push comes to shove, they don’t want to be—that would be boring.)

– Thinking back, the imposter feeling has been there before, and it faded over time. There’s wisdom there that can help now.

If you constantly feel like an impostor please know – or remember – that it’s temporary. If you sometimes do, be comforted by the fact it means you’re stretching and learning.  To feel successful through these times, ask yourself, like I do of my clients: “what’s the TRUTH?”

Also, you can leverage this brilliant body language research described by Harvard professor Amy Cuddy:  She demonstrates the incredible impact that “power poses”, done (privately) for just two minutes before important interactions can have on your level of confidence. Dominance hormones soar, stress hormones fall sharply, risk tolerance shoots up, you feel great and others perceive you more positively.

Psychologist and author Arny Mindell says “you can’t pretend something if it isn’t already in you.”  And that’s the truth.

This year, make your time count for more

By SigNote Cloud

Photo by SigNote Cloud

2013 will have 525,600 minutes. In honour of reminding us that we have a finite amount of time to make this year the best yet, here’s a “lucky 7” shortlist of some of the simplest, most effective time management behaviours that you can implement right away:

1) Pick up the phone or book a meeting if you need to have a conversation. E-mails aren’t for conversations…and typing is way slower and less accurate than just speaking. If need be, action items can be recorded in an e-mail after the fact.

2) Have written agendas for all your meetings. It will keep you on track. If the agenda’s not clear, don’t have a meeting.

3) Don’t round up meetings to the nearest half hour. Send calendar invites for 20 minute meetings, 35 minute meetings, etc. It will send a message to those you’re meeting with that you respect their time and that you are very intentional in how you spend yours.

4) Just say “no”. Make sure you’re not the guy/gal that happily takes on anything and everything in terms of work. (Do you say “sure – no problem!” a lot?) If this rings true, you are probably known as just about the nicest person on earth, but you’ll at some point begin to resent it, as you’ll be spread very thin and your hours and days will get swallowed up. If tiny tasks are distracting you from important projects and bigger-picture thinking, look carefully at how you might redirect requests.

5) When responding to a request that is definitely yours to handle, ask “when do you need this by?” Don’t assume that just because it came from the big boss that it has to be done immediately. Acknowledge that it’s important, but still ask explicitly about the urgency. Then you can prioritize accurately.

6) Set a timer when working on a task. Turn off your e-mail program, grab your iPhone and put 20 minutes on the clock to do your admin, finish the proposal, proof read the report, whatever. (I enjoy the polite “xylophone” to tell me when time’s up…) You’ll be shocked not only at how many times in the 20 minutes you must resist bouncing to something else, but you’ll also be amazed at how much you get done. And if you’re dismissing this one because you think you can multi-task, read this and then reconsider:

7) Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you know of someone with experience in doing what you’re doing, ask about what they did, what you might borrow, or at least what templates or resources might get you further ahead, faster. You will find that people are generally quite enthusiastic to share their wisdom.

Happy new year!