Are You An Imposter? You’re Not Alone!

March 4, 2020

As a consultant, I have the pleasure of interacting with a diversity of people across our sector. I have noticed a disturbing trend and oddly, it has nothing to do with direct marketing or digital analysis and everything to do with the person executing the strategy.

Fear of Failure

Ask yourself, what’s your biggest fear is when it comes to your fundraising role? I’m willing to bet that your fear goes something like – “My fundraising luck is eventually going to run out”, “People will realize that I have no idea what I’m doing”, “I will never hit my target”. The list goes on, but I feel pretty certain that I’m getting close to the core of some of your concerns.

Why? I have sat in rooms with countless brilliant people who all have the same fears. The fear of failure and the fear that they’re warming the bench until the real fundraiser shows up.
How do all of these smart people (including you!) think they stumbled into their success?

There is huge pressure today to succeed and even more so in the charitable sector where people’s welfare depends on our ability to perform. Interestingly, a recent study showed that 100% of senior professionals surveyed who said that they had never experienced imposter syndrome, actually exhibited the characteristics.

Take Back Control

What does this all mean? You’re not alone in your feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt and intellectual fraud and studies show that those who suffer from imposter syndrome, are usually the smartest people in the room. You’re smart and in denial of your brilliance so you need 5 quick tips to get you thinking differently!

  1. Acknowledge that you’re not alone, your colleague sitting next to you feels the exact same.
  2. Recognize your expertise: make an inventory of the things that you’re really good at – ask your colleagues if you’re not sure (or feeling it). Tuck the list away and refer back to it –written words drive home reality.
  3. Simply observe your thoughts and then let them go – don’t let them take up real estate they don’t deserve.
  4. Build a strong professional network – having an entourage of peers reminds you that you do fit!
  5. Keep a file of all the positive feedback that you receive. That one-off email may not seem like much in the moment, but looking back on it on a day when you need it the most is invaluable.

Just remember, that if you can break your internal dialogue, you are back in control of your thoughts. This is a simple exercise in mindfulness that requires practice but doesn’t need to be perfect. Strive for better. You’ve got this!

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Jennifer Benedict

Jennifer Benedict