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Author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People
Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It
Millions of capable people around the world secretly worry they’re not as bright, talented or qualified as everyone thinks they are. It’s called Impostor Syndrome— and Valerie Young has the cure.
Dr. Valerie Young is an internationally-known expert on impostor syndrome and author of the award-winning book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, now available in six languages. Her career-related tips have been cited in dozens of popular and business publications and media outlets around the world.
Her career-related tips have been cited in dozens of popular and business publications and media outlets around the world.
Impostor syndrome isn’t just an “interesting self-help topic.” It’s a bottom line issue. impostor-related thoughts and feelings lead to unproductive behaviors which are costly to individuals and their organization. If you lead, manage, mentor, consult to, or train others, you need to understand impostor syndrome.
Rethinking impostor syndrome requires less psychologizing and more contextualizing. When we focus solely on the role family messages and expectations play in fostering impostor syndrome, we miss the ways in which situational, career, and organizational factors can also fuel self-doubt. Seeing our individual experience in a broader context helps normalize and mitigate it.
* Imposter Syndrome
The goal is not necessarily to cure impostor syndrome. Rather it’s to give people the information, insight, and tools to talk themselves down faster. It’s about understanding that people who don’t feel like impostors are no more intelligent, capable, or talented than the rest of us — they just think different thoughts. More specifically, “non-impostors” think differently about three things: Competence, failure/mistakes/criticism, and fear itself. Naturally what people want is to stop feeling like an impostor. But that’s not how it works. Feelings are the last to change. The only way to stop feeling like an impostor is to stop thinking like an impostor. Fortunately “non-impostor” thinking can be learned. And it can be supported in the organization
* Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace
A sense of belonging fosters confidence. Conversely, the fewer people who look (or perhaps sound) like us, the less confident we may feel. People who also belong to a group for whom there are stereotypes about competence, are especially susceptible to impostor syndrome. Stereotypes matter because the fear of confirming a negative stereotype — whether related to gender, race, class background, age, or disability — has been found to cause stress which in turn negatively impacts performance. Notably, the more accomplished you are, the more this effect shows up.
WHAT CLIENTS ARE SAYING
Valerie’s content left our employees feeling energized and hopeful for confronting the symptoms of imposter syndrome in real time. Furthermore, she helped our employees explore the root causes of impostor syndrome so that they can develop organizational solutions to environmental conditions that produce it.
Your European Women's Leadership conference evaluations were overwhelming positive with most attendees rating it and you as "excellent." The over 20 countries and virtually as many languages represented confirms that impostor feelings are truly universal. Thanks again for a great job.