The big pretenders
They’re the high-flyer with the big office, fancy title and corporate expense account. Or maybe they’re the multitasking have-it-all mum who effortlessly organises a bake sale, while launching her own business, and yet still always finds time to help the children with their homework. Most of their colleagues and neighbours are envious of their careers, lives and the seemingly effortless way everything just falls into place for them.
But far from feeling superior, or even ambitious, these top businessmen and women – or the glamorous, unflappable mother – might secretly be suffering from a relatively modern phenomenon: Imposter Syndrome. Secretly these outwardly confident, upwardly mobile men and women are crippled by self-doubt, low self-esteem and they believe that at any moment their talent and success will be exposed as fake.
Sufferers believe they got a job through pity, or because no one else wanted it. And scarily, the higher up in a company or organisation you go, the more likely you are to have Imposter Syndrome because managers are often isolated, stressed and don’t have anyone to tell them they are doing a good job.
“Being raised in a family where there is a strong emphasis on achievement could be a factor in developing the syndrome,” says expert Dr Rose Logan in our report on page 88. Perfectionists be predisposed to it, too.
Luckily, I’ve never suffered from it – because I’m surrounded by a great team and have constant feedback from Friday readers, so please let me know what you think of this story and the rest of the issue. Have a great weekend!