“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: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html. 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.