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Meet the Imposter
Have you ever felt like a fraud? Have you ever thought that you
are just on the cusp of being found out? Do you feel like everyone else has got
it sorted but not you? I know that I have.
In my early career, I had a wonderful line manager and mentor who
would continually push me out of my comfort zone. He and I travelled to Greece
and Saudi Arabia to deliver HR training to some senior executives from a
shipping company. Don asked me to design and run a session on performance
management. Off I went to the library (yep, no Amazon or Google in those days)
and found some good books on the subject. I created a presentation, read as
much as I could about performance management and prepared for our first trip.
I'll never forget, aged 26, standing at that podium in a training
room with about 20 middle-aged Greek men, many of whom were chain smoking
through the presentations. I took a deep breath and fired up my first slide.
When I was only about 1 minute into the talk, one of the managers interrupted
and asked what I thought about job descriptions. Whaaaaat? I'd only been
learning about performance management. I thought I was going to die, that they
were all going to laugh at me or throw me out as the fraud I was...
But one thing I learned about Imposter Syndrome is this: confidence
is more important than competence. Somehow, I managed to fudge a response and,
because that manager viewed me as an expert, he accepted my response happily.
Have you ever had a moment like that?
Befriend the Imposter
Believe it or not, your Imposter is on your side. Your Imposter is
trying to stop you from failing. However, they will often overplay that
protective stance. So, how can you keep your imposter in check? Cara gave us 10
top tips which I have taken the liberty of summarising here:
I've enjoyed revisiting Imposter Syndrome in this past week. It's
a really important concept to understand as it can be damaging to your career
if you let it get the better of you. Unfortunately, it doesn't ever go away
because our minds will always naturally scan for danger. Perhaps, after all, we
should see it as feedback - a sign that we are stretching and growing. And this
can only be a good thing.
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