Trick or treat? I always wonder who actually created Halloween. I think there was some collusion between Nestles, Cadburys & the National Association of Dentists. A holiday perfectly camouflaged that drives revenue for multiple industries.
I like Halloween, I have fond memories of my plastic pumpkin filled to the brim scouting out with my friends, who had great candy & which houses in the neighborhood were trying to pass off apples as a “treat.” For many, this event is something they look forward to every year. For one time each year, they give themselves permission to be fully themselves a time to be fully confident in their own skin.
I have been thinking this week of both Halloween & a conversation I had with a client who expressed that she felt like she was a fraud, that her employer would discover one day that she wasn’t who they thought she was. Two therapists from Georgia State University pioneered this phenomenon known as “Imposterism.” They discovered this after interviewing a large number of high-achieving woman who had a secret sense they were not as capable as they appeared to be.
My client was struggling with imposterism, she was dressing & acting the part like we do at Halloween however, the stress was affecting her confidence, performance & more importantly, was holding her back from reaching her full potential. A study by Kumar & Jagacinkis at Purdue University, found that almost 30% of medical, nursing, dental & pharmacy students struggle with imposterism. These students were less confident in their decisions, more moody & easily influenced by critical comments & had a higher rate of burnout. Imposterism did have some benefits, you can reduce others expectations of yourself, it can be a motivator and a way of protecting yourself against self-delusion.
What is the solution? Well, you are not really tricking anyone. When coaching this client, we discussed looking at facts over feelings. The facts were, she had been promoted 4 times, had a number of positive performance reviews and was highly respected. Her feelings were that she was not delivering at a high enough level. Her feelings reflected perfectionism (you can read my thoughts about perfection here.) We tend to get confused when we listen to the feelings more than the facts.
As you think about your work today, don’t trick yourself. The right work will bring lots of treats to your life
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Tricking & treating, along the road with you!
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