Obstacles Preventing Women From Achieving Wild Success
Before you read my full blog, I’d like you to think of a career goal that you set for yourself in 2018 but didn’t achieve. Perhaps it was to apply for a promotion, request a pay-rise or to reduce your overtime and spend more time with your family?Really think about why you didn’t achieve the goal - what internal obstacles held you back? Then, see if the following resonates…
Last year I interviewed more than 100 professional women and delivered workshops to organisations to understand why their female employees are not achieving the levels of success that they’re working so hard for.
It broke my heart to hear their responses…
There are too many to mention here, ranging from a lack of confidence to a lack of support, but the most common were:
Perfectionism Setting impossibly high standards that can be near on impossible to achieve. Frequently over analysing work and over thinking what others think. From re-reading emails several times before sending to spending unnecessary time re-formatting reports and presentations.
Fear Fear of not coming across confidently enough or too confidently. Worrying about speaking up in a meeting or messing up a speech / presentation. Concerned that leaving on time to collect children would be perceived as not committed. Living in constant fear of being found out or exposed as a fraud.
Not feeling good enough or deserving of the role – feeling that success was by chance and not based upon merit. Frequent comparison to others – wishing for a better education, a higher level of qualiﬁcation or greater experience.
The feeling of unworthiness struck a chord with me most, because the irony is that all of the women I spent time with, are already hugely successful or striving to achieve greater success. What I know from my own experiences, those of the amazing clients that I work with and more than ten years of research is that these women are not alone. These feelings are commonly known as Imposter Syndrome and according to research by Forbes, it affects two thirds of women in the UK workplace – most of which are high achievers.
“Imposter syndrome is real and is the constant
feeling of inadequacy that persists, despite evident success.
Sufferers often feel excessive self-doubt and
self-judgement as well as intellectual inadequacy.”
For some, the effects of Imposter Syndrome are minor, but for others they can impact not only their career success, but their family life and more importantly, their health.
Take perfectionists, for example, whilst it’s proven that they are “generally speaking” more motivated, engaged and productive, this can be an overdone strength. They are more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety and eventual burnout.
Given that we spend two thirds of our lives at work, who wants to feel unhappy, undervalued and unfulfilled?
It’s not all doom and gloom though and there are many ways to deal with Imposter Syndrome – here’s my top three:
Face The Fear
You’ll only ever regret the things in life that you didn’t try, not the ones that you failed at. As Thomas Eddison famously said “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 1,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will ﬁnd the way that will work." We’ve all experienced times in our life when we did something that scared us but after the event felt relieved. Perhaps it went better than you thought or it didn’t go as well as planned, but you learned something from it. The next time you feel fearful, think back to a time where you achieved a positive outcome.
Stop Thinking Like An Imposter
Our thoughts become reality, because our brain can’t tell the diﬀerence between the two. The likelihood is that if you suﬀer from Imposter Syndrome, you’ve been repeating negative self-talk for many years. By reframing thoughts as positive ones, over time you start to become them. Positive affirmations can be an incredibly powerful tool for reinforcing positive thoughts. Instead of thinking “I’m a perfectionist” why not reframe it with “I strive to be the best that I can be”.
Be An Authentic Leader
If you’re experiencing Imposter Syndrome, it’s likely that you’re suffering in silence because you may feel ashamed and think you’re the only one. Perhaps you don’t value yourself or are trying to hide your true identity. The truth is that many women, particularly high achievers, are suﬀering in the work place every day. By removing the mask of self-judgement, speaking up and embracing your authentic self (the real you) you empower others to not only break their silence but you act as a role model to lead other to success.
The most successful people in life frequently take themselves out of their comfort zone and take risks. The key is consistency - they become “comfortable being uncomfortable”. So my question to you is:
What would you do in your career if you were fearless?
Why not commit to achieving a goal today and take one action that will help you move towards it…because if not today, then when?
If you would like greater financial success and happiness in your life, click here to book your free 30 minute one to one Authentic Leader Strategy Session with me to help overcome Imposter Syndrome, discover your authentic leadership style and voice so that you can finally command the recognition and respect you deserve.
"An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goal than a mile of intention"
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