Does this sound familiar? You love your boss, the CEO. He’s the smartest, fairest, least ego, most supportive leader you’ve ever worked for, and you trust his judgment – business and otherwise – completely.  And you love your career, which has provided many opportunities to work on cool projects, with teams of knowledgeable individuals, to create innovative solutions.

But none of that kept you from experiencing a raging case of “Imposter Syndrome” when your boss stopped by your office last week to tell you he was changing you title from manager to VP. Instead, you smiled, gulped, sputtered some inane comments like “Wow, thank you, that’s wonderful,” and then promptly adjourned to the restroom where you tried not to throw up.

What is Imposter Syndrome?
Basically, imposter syndrome is the sense that you’ve been promoted beyond your abilities, that you’re in over your head, that through some combination of luck and others’ misperceptions, you’ve landed in a position for which your skills are wildly inadequate.

It’s the career version of performance anxiety, aggravated by a dread that you might be “found out” at any moment. It may not be rational, it may fly in the face of years’ worth of accomplishments, but it’s estimated that some 70 percent of successful men and women experience this chronic and often crippling self-doubt.

And that’s probably exactly what hit you when your boss gave you what he thought was terrific news about your promotion. His rationale was that he’d worked with you for 18 months, knew your strengths and weaknesses, and thought this was something you’d be good at. Your reaction, however, might have instead been that he’d completely overestimated your strengths, underestimated your weaknesses, and you were all about to find out in the most awful way possible…In essence you were going to be “found out.” Classic imposter syndrome.

Do Any of These Sound Familiar?
Imposter feelings, that is., a sense of being in over your head, of feeling “undeserving” of success, may manifest as:

Ready to rethink your self-sabotage? Consider a large glass of wine, an evening of soul searching, and finally a determination that you really want to take on that “stretch” challenge. Then take out your laptop, rev your confidence engine, and start making your to-do list.

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