Rebecca was sitting in the boardroom with an important client having a meeting to close off a big deal, when she heard a little voice in her head saying “What are you doing here? Who do you think you are? If only they knew how you really feel they wouldn’t take you seriously for a minute”.
Simon had been promoted to a new role, a much bigger role than his previous one and he was running a team building event to get to know everyone and to outline his strategy for the year ahead. It was half way through the day when Simon heard the voice in his head saying “They’re going to find you out! You might look like you know what you’re talking about but they’ll soon find out that you are a fraud. You’re not nearly as confident as they think you are and they’re going to see through you”.
Can you related to Rebecca or Simon’s experience? Have you ever had that feeling where self-doubt creeps in and wonder how you got to where you are?
Don’t worry, you are not going mad! We all have a voice in our head which talks to us, often in the most stressful and important situations and many of us have had that feeling where we question our right to be in the position we are in or to be sitting around the table we are at.
What does your voice say? Is it supportive and encouraging? Or does it tell you that you are in fact an imposter and that sooner or later someone is going to notice that you are not as good as they think you are?
Most of us, at some time (and for some of us a lot of the time), have a critical voice which is reveals our fears and insecurities to us. When we find ourselves in a situation which is important to us and stretches us out of our comfort zone, that is when the voice becomes loudest and can sometimes sound like it is shouting at us to “wake up and get real”!
How helpful is that voice? Well, arguably, it acts as a balance to our self-confidence, making sure we don’t become arrogant and overly self-assured. However, in situations like the ones Rebecca and Simon found themselves in, the voice is in danger of knocking self-confidence, de-motivating and sabotaging a positive outcome.
Here are three things to remember when you are in a situation where the voice in your head is in danger of sabotaging your outcome:
- everything you have done up to this point earns you the right to be where you are
- you have a unique and valuable contribution to make to this situation
- the people that have put you in this situation believe in you, so believe in yourself
And if those don’t work, the fourth thing to remember is that there is every chance that the other person/people in the situation have a voice in their head telling them similar things!
Remember, it is useful to be aware of the voice in your head, acknowledge what it is saying and then bring to your consciousness the three points described above to quieten, if not silence, the voice and allow you to proceed with the right level of confidence.