The article Successful but Feel Like a Fraud? How to Deal with Impostor Phenomenon witten by Kathy Gurchiek in SHRM, has impacted me deeply, and I would like to reflect on it today.

According to Gurchiek, “People who experience IP discount their success as sheer luck, not the result of their hard work, talent and skill.”

I am definitely familiar with the feeling, and it is comforting to know it actually has a name, and I am not the only one who has ever struggled with it

The article doesn’t really go into the reasons why it happens. But all the cases it mentions, are women.  I guess it makes sense, because women in leadership roles are in a place they weren’t meant to be until not so long ago, but I think there is more to it.

The easiest and fastest is to blame the Impostor Phenomenon on lack of self-confidence. But honestly, I don’t think is easy to get so high in an organization being usecure. I don’t think is around self-esteem either. About not believing in yourself. I am sure those CEOs are quite sure of the value they can and do add, to their organizations.I think it has more to do with the need women have to be perfect. There is a brilliant TED talk around it: “Teach girls bravery, not perfection” by Reshma Saujani, I really recommend watching. According to her, boys are raised to experiment and play rough, but girls are raised to be perfect. It is true women have not traditionally being encouraged to take risks, but to excel by playing safe. And penalized for failing

However, fortunately, the article does provide a solution for it; mentoring:  “…people with IP can benefit from receiving mentoring, too, as well as skills training and stretch assignments…. “ and feedback “….these are people who really see you and can honestly tell you things about yourself and your environment…. And it’s important to learn to distinguish between honest feedback and hurtful criticism”

But here is the point where I disagree; people who struggle with IP don’t need coaching sessions on learning to value themselves or believing in themselves. They need mentoring on feeling more comfortable with their own imperfection. No, I am not perfect, but I do deserve my success. I deserve to be here.