4 SILENCE YOUR INNER FRAUD POLICE
Let’s take a quick look at Emma Watson, shall we? It’s fair to say she’s killed it at everything – you know, between graduating from the prestigious Brown University, slaying in the remake of Beauty And The Beast and her work with the UN that includes that game-changing speech on gender equality. So why, then, in a recent interview, did she say she feels like ‘an impostor’, underserving of her success?
Impostor syndrome is the confidence-zapping phenomenon that causes successful, competent women to doubt their abilities and feel like frauds in the workplace. The term was fi rst coined in the ’70s, and recent research from Ghent University shows women are flying under the radar at work for fear of being ‘exposed’.
A crying shame, no? ‘Everyone loses when bright people play small,’ insists impostor syndrome speaker and expert Valerie Young. It’s time we bid farewell to self-doubt and became our own damn cheerleaders at work. Here are Young’s top tips for self- confidence.
Normalise your feelings
‘ This may sound harsh but the very fi rst thing you need to realise is you’re not that special,’ she says. ‘The next time you have an impostor feeling, remind yourself that almost everyone has experienced feelings of fraudulence – many of them award-winning actors and authors, CEOs and PhDs. It is completely common for competent people to suffer self-doubt, so talk about it and make it the norm.’
Reframe your thinking
‘ Say you’ve just landed the job of your dreams,’ says Young. ‘An impostor would walk into the office on her fi rst day and think, “Everyone is so amazing, I’ll never be able to match up.” A non-impostor would think, “Everyone is so amazing. I’m so lucky to work with them – I’m going to learn so much.” Think like a non-impostor and, in time, you’ll start to feel like one.’
Focus on your positives
‘ The day before you have a big presentation, you might be worrying that you’re not very articulate. The thing is, maybe you’re not – but you might be a great leader or fantastic at motivating people. No-one is perfect – so forget your failings and focus on the things you’re good at.’
Keep going regardless
‘If you sit around waiting for the day you feel 100% confident to ask for that increase or go for that promotion, you’re going to be waiting a long time,’ says Young. ‘You need to change your thinking (and also your behaviour) now – your feelings will slowly catch up to this new non-impostor way of being until it’s normal.’ When in doubt, just remember that you’ve earned every bit of your success. Own it.