As a professional, there is an expectation be an expert. To be the one who knows best. To be able to answer all the questions.
And yet there seems to be many of us who hold a secret from our colleagues. From our friends. And our families.
It's something that lingers deep inside yet when it surfaces the panic button gets pushed. It strangles our creativity, our confidence and our progress.
Take a bow Impostor Syndrome.
I am definitely a sufferer of this 'ailment'. It's the feeling that no one cares about what I think. That I know so much less than everyone else. That I am not worthy enough to speak out and give my opinion.
This feeling is so strong that on occasion it is paralysing. It rears up slowly at first, bringing doubt, uncertainty and fear. Left unchecked it can quickly take over all rational thinking. Logic goes out the window and you want to follow it. This emotion has such a negative effect that it can hold you back from not only achieving the task in front of you but also your dreams and aspirations.
I sometimes wonder if mainstream education (specifically in UK and Ireland) helps to ingrain the impostor syndrome on many people. Growing up in school there was pressure and emphasis to show that you knew the right answer. If you didn't then you were seen as a failure. Even if you felt at the time you knew the answer often you were scared to put yourself out there in front of your peers and teachers for fear of ridicule. Education was all about (and still is in most schools) training the child to pass certain fixed exams. With this comes a mindset of 'learn this and regurgitate until we say otherwise.'
This ethos, I feel, makes many of us grow up to think 'I don't know the answer' or that others are smarter, therefore 'I'm not'. It's a system that seems to be the opposite of what many of us hope to find and achieve in business and specifically in the world of entrepreneurship: a space to experiment, to be creative, to put our own slant on things, to fail but fail forward, to appreciate rejection as validation and as a positive, to follow our own path and bring value to the world in our own way.
I am only now starting to see this in middle-age after years of trusting in the institution and believing in the 'norm' (go to school, go to college, get a job, be happy and grateful'). I am determined now to at the very least to learn new information that I can pass on to my own children so that they see there is another way outside of the 'norm' and become a worthy success in their community.
All of us have the opportunity here, right now in this group to trust in ourselves and follow our instinct. Many others in the world haven't got the chance yet. Don't waste it.
Embrace failure. Aim to leave a legacy. Give it a shot.
What's the worst that could happen.....
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A simple yet stylish notebook for humanitarians and aid workers. This 150-page notebook is printed with cream coloured unlined pages with a daily quotation on each page to help inspire and motivate.