I have been noticing lately how we limit ourselves by our daily thoughts and actions. I will give you a list of real examples from myself and other people that I know:
- A highly experienced professional who is afraid to go for promotion as she doesn’t feel good enough.
- A professional was offered an opportunity to give a workshop and their initial reaction was “Who? Me?!!”
- I was recently involved in an amazing collaboration and a friend of mine said “God! I could never do that!”
From my experience, this is very common, particularly for women. I regularly meet highly qualified and experienced people who do not believe that they are good enough for the job for which they are applying.
A lot of us experience the “Imposter Syndrome”, which is a pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
Dee Forbes, Director General of the RTE, relayed a story at an event I attended about how a large company advertised for vacancies for Executive Staff. They noted that the response was extremely poor from women. On further analysis, they realised that women would not apply for the position unless they could do all aspects of the job description before the application. The male applicants, on the other hand, would apply anyway regardless of their experience.
So how can change our thinking around?
There is no easy fix but here are a few strategies that can put you on the right road:
Remember you are not alone- Studies suggest that around 70% of us will feel that we don’t measure up at some part of our lives. So, chances that the person standing next to you at your next meeting/interview/networking event is equally terrified. So why not reach out to them and give them a hand.
Say Yes- instead of completely stonewalling the next opportunity or offer that comes your way, stop for a minute, challenge what you are thinking. Why can’t you avail of the opportunity? Have you got facts to prove why you can’t? What would happen if you said yes? You don’t have to have all your ducks in a row to start a new venture.
Bite size pieces- if your confidence is low and you don’t feel that you can make a giant leap, why not take a few small steps in the right direction. Start planning slowly and deliberately, while stretching your comfort zone out a little bit every day.
Coaching- A Life Coach can help you get clarity around who you really are and set realistic goals on how you can get to where you want to be.