Self-Confidence And The Imposter Syndrome

Do you doubt your accomplishments? Do you experience a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud?

The Imposter Syndrome is behind leaders’ and professionals’ lack of confidence.

At least one of four factors produce this syndrome:

  1. When you have achieved earlier goals and have yet to set future goals. In this intervening time, you have applied for and are appointed to a more senior position. This results in feeling like you have yet to catch up with yourself.
  2. Leaders who rely on techniques in their relationships and have patterns of interacting which don’t help them emotionally connect with others. They may race ahead with their ideas leaving others behind, or have trouble expressing themselves succinctly when they are under pressure. Techniques such as the “feedback sandwich” enable communication yet don’t address the real issue at heart.
  3. Leadership and change are synonymous. This means leaders are frequently doing things they haven’t done before. They create new behavioural patterns, respond to fresh challenges, and develop new relationships as they get things done. Many leaders lead in the absence of affirming feedback. They get on with the job in hand. Unless leaders learn to “read results” they may have a sense of being out of their depth.
  4. Growing up with critical or perfectionistic parents or teachers can result in negative self-talk later in life. Negative self-talk is debilitating for any leader. (“If only I had done…”)

If any of these four factors are present, you are likely to doubt yourself and your accomplishments resulting in a lack of confidence.

Strengthening your ability to know how others perceive you and matching this with your own positive self-perception, AND knowing one or two areas to develop results in your psychological health.

How do you develop confidence?

  • Involve yourself in a peer group to gain a strong sense of your accomplished self.
  • Write down your accomplishments of the past year or month. Do this regularly and remind yourself of them when you begin to doubt yourself.
  • Identify the problems/issues you help with in your organisation. What are you known for accomplishing?
  • Develop positive self-talk: “You’ve got this. You know what to do. You don’t have to do this on your own…who will I ask for help? Well, that didn’t work. What’s my next best idea?
  • Shift your fear of things going wrong, and trust yourself you will be able to fix the glitches that inevitably occur.
  • Ask trusted others to tell you what your five best attributes are, and believe them.

If you don’t believe in yourself, why would others?

Diana Jones ©

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