The big pre­tenders

Friday - - Editor’s Letter -

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!

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