You work hard. You've achieved success. But you worry.
…perhaps you worry that you don't deserve to be where you are today or
…that you're not as smart as others think you are or
…that you've not really achieved what others credit you with.
If you have these or similar thoughts, you're dealing with a very specific self-esteem issue called imposter syndrome.
Let me give you an example.
January, 2019, I'm sitting across the table from Jenny. Jenny is a newly appointed CFO in the London branch of an international bank. She's a black woman and she's been in the role for three months. She's concerned that she doesn't know her job well enough, which is really interesting because Jenny has been head of finance for at least three years, and she had a great relationship with the CEO. But now that she's at the C suite, she started to worry that she's not good enough and that she doesn't know what it is to be a CFO.
Interesting…don’t you think?
I can’t remember who first introduced me to the phrase ‘be careful what you wish for’ (except, eerily, as I type this sentence I’ve just remembered – but you won’t know him so let’s leave it there). Anyway, it popped into my head this week when, after a prolonged bout of whingeing to no one in particular about how I’d had enough travelling and why does nobody ever give me any design and development work so I can stay in my office, three different clients did just that.
You’d think I’d be happy about this, but I confess to responding to these engagements with a feeling of deep foreboding. You see, having all this open-ended design work to do presents me with a problem: I have to organise my own time.
Ironically, one of the reasons I left [insert name of global consulting firm here] was the agonies we would all go through every Friday afternoon trying to fill in timesheets which had no Project Code for...
“I can’t believe they actually think I can do this job!”
I asked my former boss that very question. He was the CEO of large global multinational. He looked at me surprised. He smiled and said yes! I couldn’t believe it! I thought it was just me that had silly random thoughts.
It’s called Imposter syndrome and sometimes no matter how much you have studied, trained and achieved success it rears its ugly head.
The syndrome makes you feel like you are a fraud even when you’re not. You often spend your time worrying you will be found out and considered a fraud.
Everyone suffers from it at one time or another. Actors, Writers, Sports Figures and probably some doctors, although I like to think that it never crosses the minds of the world’s best Neurosurgeons!
This week I was quite surprised to learn that I’ve been nominated for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Of The Year Award.