Dear Dr. Sylvia,
I am filled with self-doubt. I am wondering if this is just a “gal thing” or do the males of the world also worry about their abilities, about the way they come across to others?
So many I talk with (once we break the ice of superficiality) are competent executives and directors who say that deep inside they feel like a fraud, an imposter.
My question: Is this gender-related or is it specifically due to the culture we were raised in, or something else?
The second half of my question is: What can I/we do to feel more comfortable in our own skin?
Dear Ms. Doubtfire,
Your question is a universal one.
I would say that more women are willing to talk about self-doubt and the imposter syndrome than men, However, my guess is it’s about 50-50, truth be told.
Some of my clients have been heads of large organizations and they (male and female) will eventually talk about the fear of not being good enough to really succeed in their job. Actually, many have worries about all areas of their lives.
Faced with great responsibilities, where so much is visible, there is huge concern about how they look to the world.
And no amount of make-up, high-end clothes, or college degrees can make up for that feeling of potentially letting everyone down.
“One “dumb move” and I’m done for” is the thinking behind the fear.
What I KNOW is that this feeling of self-doubt started long ago, as a wee little kid. It had to do with how we saw others.
First, the adults in our lives. They could drive cars, they knew how to get from here to there (a mystery), they could stay up late and talk and drink coffee and tie their shoes without even looking,
Then our peers began to excel, and we began to question our own abilities. They were/are more capable, more sophisticated, smarter, thinner, a better sense of humor.
We see ourselves as “flawed” while others are perfect and have no underlying issues.
Of course, this is not true.
However…..I know most of those who have self-doubt are smart and dedicated to being the best they can be.
Let’s look at you MS. Doubtfire.
I’m sure there are moments, sometimes days, and even weeks when you question your ability to get things done without draining you to utter exhaustion. There are days of worrying about what others are saying behind your back, even though you’ve done your absolute best.
Do you inhale and forget to exhale when you are challenged? Or perhaps it’s that every time you step up to take on a new task, that old familiar feeling of fear comes forward to make you step down.
If that fear of failure (or fear of success) makes you cringe and hide, the feeling of self-doubt is, for you as for most of us, a ‘FATAL FLAW’.
We know where it came from. The big question is “What to do about it.”
Think about what it would be like to start each day filled with confidence, that “yes, I can” attitude that makes you feel strong and ready to take on the world.
Think about getting so much done with that creative fire in the belly that the doubt, well, it just gets flushed down the drain.
What if you had a simple process to de-stress and reboot how you think about yourself, so your confidence is unbreakable.
Here are 3 important questions to ask yourself at least once a week and it would be great to keep a journal with your answers.
- How honest have I been when talking with others?
- Did I shrink away from taking tasks that would make me uncomfortable?
- Who did I judge today?
These are part of a group of questions that I have put together to build your core strength and minimize self-doubt.
Now, you can begin to see other options for your day to day relating to others, and especially how you relate to yourself.
I have a great model for de-stressing the self-doubt that will push the imposter syndrome to the curb.
Once you look at the behavior patterns that have locked you into self-doubt jail, you can take a deep breath and stop worrying so much.
I think you will really get a lot out of my STRESS BUSTERS program that will help you stop doubting yourself, help you handle anger and conflict, and start enjoying the fruits of your labors without always saying “If they only knew…”
In this program, I focus on stress reduction that will help you gain a clearer perspective of how the patterns of fear and doubt can b transformed.
Here’s to your success,
P.S. Click this link to see the masterclass and then give us a call.
P.S.S. And yes, self-doubt can be transformed into self-appreciation for both women and men.
P.S.S.S. If you know anyone you think would like our newsletter here is that link too.