“Fear of being Found Out” – you are not alone!

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Most of us at times in our professional lives ‘fear we will be found out’. Taking on a new role, new project, new team, new place to live are all moments in life that can be triggers. Or we have an ever-present nagging background voice that drives us to over-work as the only way to succeed, or to avoid the very opportunities we desire. What is going on?!

Contrary to the feeling many of us have that ‘it is just me’, these types of feelings are experienced by most of us at times in our lives, and they are aspects of Imposter Syndrome. 70% of successful people experience imposter feelings at some point in their life.*

People experience Imposter Syndrome when they dismiss their accomplishments and the recognition of others, and fear their success will disappear when others find out the awful secret that they are in fact imposters! We can refer to this as ‘Fear of being found out’.

“People experiencing Imposter Syndrome often unconsciously overcompensate with crippling perfectionism, over-preparation, maintaining a low profile, withholding their talents & opinions, or never finishing important projects. When they do succeed they think, ‘Phew, I fooled ‘em again’.†Valerie Young, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, 2011

Confidence is the most significant differentiator of high performing individuals and teams. Life is not a test but a constant wonderful opportunity to learn. Seeing that you really can do the things you thought you could not, in turn generates confidence. As we build self confidence, we are a positive role model for others and enable the individuals and teams who work with us.

Imposter Syndrome is real. The great news is every one of us can identify and get over it, increase our confidence, and enjoy increasing our success as never before.

We can even learn to identify and manage the behaviours of some others who live at the other end of the confidence spectrum – those who have Irrational Self-Confidence Syndrome (!), a term coined by the Rocky Mountain news reporter Erica Heath, to describe the unjustifiably confident.

Valerie Young is an internationally known workshop leader, speaker and writer in the area of Imposter Syndrome. Her book ‘The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women’ is enlightened, insightful and actionable. I am delighted to have discovered Valerie, and to learn from her ever evolving thought leadership in this area. https://impostorsyndrome.com

Few of us get support in these moments. Yet the coaching and mentoring tools are available, to enable us instead to enjoy and increase our success, with great benefit for us as individuals and for our organisations. Coaching can help us succeed – rather than be stressed through our success or avoid the chance of success, instead we can create our own sustainable behaviours to enjoy and increase our success in the future.

* study conducted by psychologist Gail Matthews, 1984

Peter Soer
Peter Soer
Peter combines experience as a coach, marketing leader & someone who has faced the fear of being found out. He harnesses this experience with his natural optimism & determination, to help people thrive in their work and enjoy the life they want. To achieve our dreams, we have 2 resources, time and energy – so use them well.

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