The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women

valyoungThe whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. – Bertrand Russell

Excerpt: Chapter 5

What Do Luck, Timing, Connections, and Personality Really Have to Do with Success? 
What if you believed in no uncertain terms that the reason you got the degree, the job, the role, the deal, or the corner office was because you deserved to get it? In other words, what if you really and truly

owned your accomplishments as your own and not some fluke? If that  were the case, then there wouldn’t be anything for you to feel fraudulent about, would there? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. 

Instead you’ve spent years essentially giving away your success.  And the way you’ve done this is by crediting your accomplishments to anybody or anything—except yourself. You tell yourself, It was dumb luck . . . The stars were aligned . . . My father got me in the door . . . Or, Oh, the judges just liked me. The time has come to reveal the true reasons be-hind your success
People who identify with the impostor syndrome externalize their success by attributing it to factors outside of themselves. In reality, evidence that you are bright and capable is all around you. In order to feel fully deserving of your success you must learn to claim your accomplishments on a gut, visceral level. This begins with understanding that external factors such as luck, timing, connections, and personality play a valid role in everyone’s success—including yours.
What You Can Do
• Create a list of all your achievements large and small.
• Next to each achievement note the role luck, timing, connections, or your own personality may have played in your ultimate success.
• Then write down the specific actions you took to take full advantage of these contributors.
• Make an agreement with yourself that the next time someone compliments your work you will say, “Thank you.” Then zip it.
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Margaret Thatcher

For the millions of professional women (and men) who experience the confidence-zapping “Impostor Syndrome,” Valerie Young offers an empowering plan to overcome the needless self-doubt that keeps them from feeling as intelligent and competent as everyone else knows they are.

In her decades of in-the-trenches research on women’s self-limiting feelings and beliefs about themselves and their success, Valerie Young has uncovered the often surprising reasons why so many accomplished women feel as though they are “faking it” – impostors in their own lives and careers.

While the impostor syndrome is not unique to women, they are more likely to agonize over tiny mistakes and blame themselves for failure, see even constructive criticism as evidence of their shortcomings; and chalk up their accomplishments to luck rather than skill. When they do succeed, they think “Phew, I fooled ’em again.” Perpetually waiting to be “unmasked” doesn’t just drain a woman’s energy and confidence. It can make her more risk-averse and less self-promoting than her male peers, which can hurt her future success.

In The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, these women finally have a solution: Important insight into why fraud fears are more common in women combined with practical ways to banish the thought patterns that undermine their ability to feel — and act — as bright and capable as they truly are.

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Eastern Highlands, Zimbabwe

 

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