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Help! I shouldn't be here: why it's common to feel like an imposter

Have you ever felt doubtful about something? Perhaps you’re involved in a new project at work, and while one day you’re completely confident, you come in the following day and think what you’ve done is worthless rubbish. If that’s the case, you’re certainly not alone. Almost three quarters of us (70%) have suffered from self-doubt at some point – in fact, it’s so common that it’s a recognised condition, Imposter Syndrome. The condition is much more common among women than men, possibly because, even in this day and age, men go into the workplace thinking they will succeed and women still go in knowing they’ll have a more difficult time to reach the same level.

Imposter Syndrome is that nagging little voice in your ear. It’s the monkey on your shoulder that whispers to you during meetings: “You shouldn’t be here. You’re less experienced than everyone else, less knowledgeable and you’re going to get found out.” You may have reached a good level in your career, but deep down you may believe it was down to luck rather than accomplishment.

There’s been a lot in the press recently about Imposter Syndrome and how it can hold you back in your career. You’re urged to ‘believe in yourself’, and reminded that even stars as famous as Kate Winslet and Tom Hanks have admitted to always thinking, ‘They’ve cast the wrong person!” when they get a new role. Of course, there’s some truth in that – people who constantly under-estimate their own ability can shy away from accepting responsibility and can be quite tedious to work with. On the flip side, though, people who constantly over-estimate their own ability are a nightmare to work with. They make rash decisions and plough their own furrow regardless, enclosed in an impenetrable bubble of their own self-importance.

In my next blog post, I’ll be explaining why, in my opinion, Imposter Syndrome is a positive not a negative and makes us more empathetic, well-rounded individuals.

At Amber Consulting, we offer individual or organisation-wide coaching adapted to your business needs. To find out more, email or call Julia on 07775 681050.

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