It’s a common belief among high achievers that they are not as smart, talented, or capable as people think they are--something they see themselves as managing to hide from others. It’s been identified in popular psychology as the “Imposter Syndrome.”
When I was newly-promoted to Senior Vice President at Charles Schwab, Dan Limon, then our EVP of Corporate Strategy, gave us the secret handshake speech and addressed the newly-anointed in an interesting way.
He asked, “How many of you feel like imposters—meaning, if they knew you, they’d realize you were a fraud?” Almost everyone raised his or her hand, which I found quite a shock.
It’s a juxtaposition of your beliefs versus reality: you’re actually DOING so well, yet in the head/heart, you’re counting the days before “they find out, and the gig is up.”
So if you or someone you know can identify with this, then I have two messages for you:
1. You’re in GREAT company – many high-achievers feel this way.
2. It’s probably a gremlin, and not reality. Chances are that you are where you are because you’re capable and motivated, and NOT because you’ve somehow pulled the wool over people’s eyes…