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Do you have an inner critic that wrecks your confidence? You are not alone.
Six and a half years ago I decided to leave my day job and set up my own business. Then it struck. That nagging little voice in the back of my mind that tells me I’m not good enough and that I’m going to get found out. I spent about two weeks convincing myself no one would want to work with me, I wasn’t expert enough and who was I to think I could set up my own company anyway?
It turns out that the nagging little voice is a thing. It’s called Imposter Syndrome. It’s a term first coined in 1978 by psychologists, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes. It describes the psychological phenomenon which is characterised by intense feelings of not being good enough, being a fraud and that you are going to get found out – even though all the evidence suggests otherwise.
It’s actually rather common. 70% of people have had feelings of being inadequate and getting found out or at one time or another. And according to research women are more affected by it than men.
Harvard Business Review claims that women have a greater fear of failure because girls do better at school and it’s more instilled in us to follow rules and conform – and we perceive failure as having greater and longer lasting consequences. Conversely, men have a greater willingness to break rules and are less inclined to follow instructions and are better at ignoring or telling their inner critic to pipe down.
Make of it what you will, I see similar fears fuelled by the inner critics of both men and women I work with. The difference is how we manage our feelings of self-doubt and silence that little internal voice before it has a chance to jeopardise us.
You must find a way to change the negative story that your inner critic is telling you. First call it out, acknowledge that it is happening, then look for evidence to deny the things that your nagging little voice is telling you. For example, if you think that you are a failure, ask yourself, “What evidence is there to support the thought that I am a failure?” and “What evidence is there that doesn’t support the thought that I am a failure?”
Confidence and managing your inner critic is such a big deal for achieving success that I’m ran a free training webinar on building your confidence. You can view it here.