Never be Found Out (By “Reality”)
Within a short period of coaching senior leaders, they will almost always share with me this fear, which is a variation of this conversation:
“David, I have a big presentation to make at head office tomorrow – parent company is flying in from abroad. It’s the biggest meeting I will have ever attended.”
Then he stops. I use some questions that are known as “clean questions” – (see Appendix Two for details).
I ask him the first “clean question”: “What kind of meeting?”
He continues “Company performance, and its going well, company perception, that’s going well, delivery against key results for this time of year, that’s fine”
I remember the second “clean question:”: “Is there anything else about the meeting?”
And then he opens up and speaks for nearly three minutes, at an incredible speed – the words can not come out fast enough. He is scared of one thing, more than anything else: of being ‘found out’.
When he has finished I tell him like it is – that “everyone gets really scared, sometimes.”
Does it apply to you?
If yes, great, it can in itself be a powerful driver to keep going, especially when you’re up against the odds.
If no, you are one of the lucky few.
I call it the ‘Imposter Syndrome’; it is so prevalent it has been referred to as The Imposter Phenomenon.
The Imposter Syndrome comes in a variety of guises and it generally feeds off a feeling that somehow you have achieved your success by accident, by good timing, by chance; that sooner or later, someone will come along and expose you for being the ‘fraud’ that you really are. You have fooled the world, all around you each and every day, but you have not fooled yourself. You know that one day you will be found out, so you meekly accept your fate, and, almost relieved that you don’t have to keep up this pretence any longer, you bow your head, apologise, and go home.
Michelle Dewberry, winner of the second series of British television’s ‘The Apprentice’, brilliantly calls this feeling one of being found out “by the reality police.”
If it is a driver for successful people – is it really a pitfall?
Does having these feelings of being inadequate, of not having deserved all that you have achieved, of being an ‘imposter’ – serve you – help you?
If so – if you have these feelings, and you are really enjoying yourself when you have them, then great!
All the CEO’s and entrepreneurs I coach, to a man or a woman, would prefer to carry out their responsibilities, enjoy their role and feel comfortable in their position without the distraction of wondering when they will be ‘found out’.
You might be the exception either not having those feelings or embracing those feelings and finding them useful to achieve your goals – if so no need to read on.
NOW, what if you could be driven to achieve your ambitions without these feelings of self doubt…
“An honest and candid look at what it really takes to be rich, successful and happy”
Michelle Dewberry, winner of The Apprentice, author and entrepreneur