Who’s that sitting in my chair?
- By Susan Ritchie -
- Apr 02, 2012
It can be tricky chairing a meeting or leading a team, especially when you've little experience. Here's a guest blog on how to boost your self-belief and avoid those 'wobbly' moments we all suffer from...
Leading a team for the first time can feel nerve-wracking. I can remember the first meeting I ever chaired, and look back now and cringe. In my Herculean efforts to get it right, I of course got it wrong, not least because I felt that I was sitting in someone else’s chair...or that someone else should have been sitting in mine!
The Imposter Phenomenon is a term coined in the late 1970s by two American Psychologists, Suzanne Imes and Pauline Clance, and describes the feelings of being a fake and a fraud that many successful people identify with. Once seen mainly in women, recent research is showing that it is becoming increasingly common in men. It’s something I have battled with most of my adult life.
I can remember that first meeting; I sat there wondering when the Imposter Police would come crashing through the door, and un-mask me as the fake I thought, or rather knew, I was. In my head, I had only been promoted because my boss was blind to my inadequacies, I had been lucky and no-one else had wanted the job, so they had no choice but to give it to me.
When I started my own business two years ago, similar feelings surfaced. Networking events were a nightmare, as I became convinced that everyone else in the room could see that I didn’t belong, and I was a complete fake – I wasn’t a real businesswoman, I was just making it up as I went along and was gate-crashing a party I hadn’t been invited to.
As a business owner, you may have set yourself some fabulous goals, your vision is crystal clear, your business plans are mapped out in minute detail, you have years of experience in your chosen field and you love what you do with a passion, and yet...that voice inside your head is telling you that you’re a fraud. What can you do about it?
Here are some of the ways I’ve learned to boost my own self-belief to help dispel those fraudulent ‘wobbly’ feelings.
• Take a reality check. No-one has waved a magic wand, and you’re not on the set of a fantasy film. You’ve got to where you are because of YOU.
• Understand that for others to believe in what you do, you have to first.
• Choices and timing, rather than luck, have played a pivotal role. You may have been in the right place at the right time, but YOU have still had to take action to make anything happen.
• Keep a success journal, in which you list everything you achieve and every bit of praise, every day.
• Stop making comparisons. There will always be people with more experience than you, and there will be plenty with less. That’s life.
• Remember - what you are feeling is very common, so the chances are that others will be feeling, or will have felt, the same way.
• ‘In order to be a King, you need to live like a King’ – advice given to Henry VIII by Henry VII, his father. In order to be a business owner, you need to live like one, particularly if you are new to business. Immerse yourself in business life. Educate yourself, read and take an interest in business-related topics, mix with people who inspire and support you. And find yourself a mentor. This is relevant at any stage of business.
• Network with others, build relationships and get to know people. The fear of the unknown, whether that might be people or situations, can seem insurmountable and intimidating.
• Charge the going rate for your services or products – see yourself as an equal to others in the same field by valuing what you do.
• Find your voice. Tell others how good you are. Collect testimonials and recommendations, display them and learn to speak about your experience. Ask for what you want – what have you got to lose?
• Learn to laugh at yourself, especially at that inner voice...switch channels and start telling yourself a different story.
• Get that CV out again...review your past experience and understand that you have earned the right to do what you do.
So...Who’s that sitting in your chair? How do you banish those ‘wobbly’ moments?
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