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Your Inner Critic Is A Fraud

household-debt-435cs020113Have you ever read an article and thought, “Um…I don’t remember authorizing this interview.” Well, here’s an article that is all about us.  I can’t tell you how many times I feel like a fraud.  Even my nightmares contain worries that someone will know I am faking it! “Faking what,” you ask? Everything…

In her article, Expert Enough, Take 2: Why Imposter Syndrome Matters, and How to Overcome It, Lauren Bacon talks about feeling like a fraud and physical things you can do to overcome it.  I’m including it on Workout Wednesday because it is really helpful to have a physical “thing you can do” when you need a boost of confidence.  It can be draining to always rely on your brain to bail you out.  Try letting your body give you a boost sometimes.  Bacon recommends doing these things:

  • Stand (or sit) up straight
  • Get big
  • Lean forward
  • Find your own power posture: “Ask your body to find a position that feels centered and powerful, and lock into that posture so you can recall it later.”

Beyond your physical stance, you can also:

  • Move your body. “Dancing to your favorite tune shifts your energy in incredible ways.” (You may have to do this before a big event, not during.)
  • Carry a power totem. “I’ve worn my late grandmother’s wedding rings on days when I needed a reminder that my roots go deep and that I’m part of something greater than myself. It helps me keep my worries in perspective,” says Bacon.

The thing that really hit me in this article is the idea that expert does not mean infallible.  Bacon says, “We can be experts, and we can be successful, and that doesn’t mean we need to be without fault.”  Yes.  Yes!!  We don’t have to be perfect to be an expert.  We don’t have to have to know ALL the answers to be able to offer valuable advice.

If you suffer from Impostor Syndrome, you may also suffer from “can’t-toot-your-own-horn-itus.” This is also known as inability to promote yourself or can’t take a compliment (depending on where you are from).  Ashley Milne-Tyte, at The Broad Experience, who pointed out this article in her newsletter (that I subscribe to and recommend),  highlighted the following quote from Bacon:

“It’s really hard to receive a compliment…from a peer – to bask in your awesomeness – when you feel like you still have more to learn, like there are so many other brilliant people in the world you look up to, and when you’ve been socialized your entire life to believe that if you shine too brightly, you will be rejected by other women for being too stuck-up, self-centered, and individualistic.”

I am so guilty of this. One, because I thought of a great self-promoter acquaintance of mine as being both stuck-up and self-centered, rather than seeing her as being great at marketing herself. Two, because I have often felt (and been) rejected for shining too brightly.  I’ve even felt guilty for succeeding when others didn’t.  The next time I feel snarky about another woman gettin’-hers, I promise to quell my inner-critic and applaud her. We really need to change our outlook and thinking on this.  It is not enough to see ourselves differently.   We have to look at other women in a better light. Do men have this problem?  Maybe.  But I think women suffer from this more.

Women are supposed to be nurturing and care-taking, attentive to other’s needs.  These are great characteristics, but not always helpful in the business world.   You are not a egotist if you are proud of your work, and you are not a braggart if you call yourself an expert in something you do well.  Let’s take a page from our brothers-with-briefcases and start promoting ourselves, accepting compliments, and recognizing our own credentials—even if we have to…er…fake it.  One day it will feel real. Right?!

Give this article a read.  Then read it again, in case you missed anything.  We’ll work on it together…

P.S. I actually had a “fake-it-til-you-make-it” conversation with my good friend.  I am always impressed with her talent and success in business, and  was shocked to learn she felt like a fraud and was just “learning as she went.”  That’s bull.  Her credentials are real.  She’s amazing and I hope she reads this.

P.P.S.  Your inner critic is just jealous…  Don’t allow it to bully you anymore.

One comment

  1. Hi Jennette – I somehow missed this when it first came out, and have only just stumbled upon it. Thank you for the kind words – I’m glad my piece resonated! And I totally agree that women need to support each other in claiming their expertise. It makes a world of difference to have a friend in your corner.

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