Who am I to ….?

When was the last time you asked yourself “who am I to….?” Maybe it was a situation where you needed to take the lead, or take a stand for yourself, or ask for a promotion, or point out an issue that appears to be ignored. Do you worry people will find out you are a “fraud” and aren’t really qualified to do your job; asking yourself who am I to think I can do this?

This is likely a form of impostor syndrome which leads you to doubt your accomplishments and feel you don’t deserve your success. This is pretty common, and it can happen more often when there are institutional models of competency; such as men being better in STEM fields. This can lead to women, and minorities, feeling like they can’t succeed, don’t deserve what they earned, or will fail publicly and prove to everyone they are a fraud.

What can you do if you find yourself going down this path? Take charge of your thoughts, focus on the successes and how they will help you in the future.

Here are 4 tips to silence that inner critic and build your confidence:

  1. List your successes and failures. Take some to time reflect on your wins over the last year and note your failures. Odds are the successes outnumber the failures.
  2. Evaluate your “failures”. Look at the failures you listed to rate the severity of them. Do they negate your successes, could you control those situations, or were they defined failures by others? What could you have controlled, if anything? If you had control over any of the results or the situations use them as lessons to do better next time.
  3. Remember past unexpected success. Think of times when you accomplished more than you believed possible or even met a goal that seemed unachievable.  Once you have done the seemingly impossible you can do it again. 
  4. Look for similar experiences. If part of your fear is that you’ve never done this job/ thing before you can use past success to help your confidence. Maybe you are giving a speech in front of 500 people which is 400 more than you’ve ever done before. However, speaking in front of people can be the same no matter the size of the audience. If you did well with 100 you can do well with 1000.
  5. Enlist the input of someone who can give perspective. When you are going into something totally new and unknown find a mentor or coach or trusted colleague who can share how they succeeded in this kind of situation. They can help you find a new perspective on how you can succeed.

Use your past successes to give you the courage to dare now. You have done many great and wonderful things; you’ve also stumbled along the way. We all have, so what will you do? If you focus on the bumps you miss the joy of success. When you start to say “Who am I to…..?” stop and ask yourself why you feel that way. You are talented, capable and can do more than you think. Who are you to sit back and let other’s take the lead and credit? The more successes you have in the more you will have the courage to go further and do more than you dreamed possible.

You’ve got this!


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