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Career Strategies for Women in Tech

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Leaping from Impostor Syndrome to Positive Self Efficacy


Two terms you may not fully understand in business today: “impostor syndrome” and “self-efficacy.” The first explanation of the phrase impostor syndrome was introduced in the business book, The Impostor Phenomenon: Overcoming the Fear That Haunts Your Success in April, 1985 by Pauline Rose Clance. The key question that came from that book was this:

If I’m so successful, why do I feel like a fake?

women together

Pauline talks about the fact that many business professionals, largely women in business, live with an underlying fear that someone will point and say “hey, you aren’t qualified for that position.” Does this sound like you:

Impostor Phenomenon refers to people who believe they are pretending to be something they are not. They have a really hard time in accepting success, compliments and anything good. Their belief is all the success and good things are a result of coincidence and not due to their own skills and capabilities. At a surface level, it might sound like this is excessive humbleness, but at the core is a very different situation. These people in reality do not have faith or belief in their capabilities.

In the 30 years since that book was published, many more books have addressed this issue and yet, still, we allow our inner voice to keep us from our full potential due to a fear that we aren’t good enough.

Enter self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy is the vision of where you want to go and the conscious belief that you can achieve that vision.

The good news? Self-efficacy can be learned.

Psychologist Albert Bandura has defined selfefficacy as one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task.

So how do you leap from that negative inner voice telling you that you are an impostor to the positive self-efficacy that will help you achieve your goals?

3 Tools to Develop Positive Self Efficacy

#1 Focus on the present moment.

Ask yourself, do I have momentum? Are you feeling doubt? What is it that you don’t know? Close examination of how you are feeling and what you have truly accomplished will help you work through any fears that may arise.

#2 Build a group of positive people that you surround yourself with.

I call these “career catalyst” people. When you feel insecure, these are the people you turn to who will truly help you see your value and what you are capable of.

#3 Aspire to build your risk muscle.

I’ve talked about this before; the risk muscle is the part of you that is willing to take on greater challenges than you think you are currently capable of.

The only way to leap from impostor syndrome to a positive self-efficacy is to listen to your own self-talk and drown out the negative thoughts with the reality of your accomplishments. Take on small projects that require a little risk muscle. Each time you experience positive results, you will be building that self-efficacy. Remember, self-efficacy is a LEARNED behavior.

Here’s the Bottom Line…

Have a vision and believe that you can get there! Listen in on my video podcast where I talk more about this subject.

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Accelerate Your Impact - Free Chapter Download 1 - http://bit.ly/TSWFreeChapters