Let your feelings motivate you to change how you feel about yourself, says Marion Freund       

I’ve been an Executive Assistant for more than 20 years. I have seen, done, experienced, and solved so many problems and challenges, I could write a script for a TV comedy series about EAs!

I am very passionate about my profession. I have established my position and have a seat at the table, and my opinion and input are valued. I am told that I am excellent at what I am doing, and people love working with me. At work as well as in my personal life, I am resourceful, creative, and always prepared for what can go wrong. The more stressful the situation, the more hectic the team gets; I stay focused and make sure projects conclude successfully.

Nothing can shake me. But like so many others, I sometimes have episodes of days where I question myself and my capabilities. I worry about getting things wrong. If there is something I am not sure how to solve, I “fake it till I make it.” I’m afraid I will be ousted as a fraud and run out of town. If I am not available, I worry they will figure out that things run very well without me and decide to remove me. I’m afraid something I say or do could hurt or offend somebody, and people will not like me anymore. I overthink things. There were times when, if you mentioned such feelings to somebody, you would get a response of, “Oh, don’t be silly.” Or “Are you fishing for recognition and compliments?” Today there is a name for these feelings: imposter syndrome.

Loosely defined, imposter syndrome is the behavior of doubting your skills, talents, or accomplishments. You have difficulty accepting your achievements and think you just got lucky.

The Five Types of Imposter Syndrome

The Perfectionist

You micro-manage, don’t like to delegate, and must be 100%, 100% of the time.

The Superhuman

You feel you need to work harder and longer than everybody else to prove your worth.

The Natural Genius

You were always the “smart one” with straight A’s; setbacks blow your confidence and embarrass you.

The Soloist

You think you can figure things out on your own and prioritize work over your personal life.

The Expert

You measure your worth based on “what” and “how much” you know or can do, but fear being exposed as inexperienced or unknowledgeable.

It’s time that I acknowledge and celebrate my achievements and accept mistakes and setbacks as a part of the process to success. I need to validate myself better and learn to take errors seriously, not personally. Rather than beating myself up when I do something wrong, I want to see myself as a work in progress, a lifelong learner who constantly improves my skills. Instead of suppressing these feelings, I am accepting them so I can start working on getting rid of them. I will not let them hold me back but rather let them motivate me to change how I feel about myself.

Every time these negative thoughts come along, I will rationally assess them for the unfounded and destructive emotions they are. I will recognize my skills, abilities, and experience and celebrate my achievements and successes. When I get these feelings, it means I’ve successfully achieved something. It doesn’t mean I was just lucky; I am working hard for my accomplishments. I don’t want my fear to hold me back – I want to enjoy my success.

It won’t happen overnight. It will be a process where I need to constantly remind myself not to give in to the bad feelings. Maybe on the way on my journey, I will meet others with the same experience, and I can support and encourage them to do the same. 

My first step is admitting, sharing, and talking about these feelings to stop them from festering hidden in my mind, which is what I am doing with this article.

Marion Freund is a multi-cultural Strategic Business Partner with over 20 years of international experience. She is passionate about collaborating with leaders to successfully achieve their goals. Marion is a lifelong learner, known for helping and ... (Read More)

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