Why 70% of CEOs Feel Like Frauds, Even When They’re Not

70% of CEOs don’t often feel adequate to lead their company.

Not because they’re not good enough.

But because they have a great deal of responsibility and no one to confide in.

Most have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are, but despite this may feel as though they don’t deserve their success.

Let’s say it: we have all been there.

That feeling of doubt about our past achievements and fear of being exposed as a fraud, despite evidence of our competence.

In my research, I believe there are four main factors that contribute to imposter syndrome:

1) Perfectionism

Setting excessively high standards for oneself and feeling inadequate when those standards aren’t met.

2) Attribution bias 

Believing that success is due to external factors like luck or easy tasks while attributing failures solely to personal shortcomings or lack of ability.

3) Fear of evaluation

Worrying about how others perceive their work or skills, constantly seeking external validation, and being overly concerned about criticism or negative feedback.

4) Comparison and self-doubt 

Constantly comparing oneself to others, feeling inadequate in comparison, and assuming others are more competent or deserving of success.

One of my favorite modern thinkers – Maya Angelou – illustrates that a proven track record of incredible success doesn’t take away self-doubt:

“Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great. I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.”

My advice…

Believe in yourself, your abilities, and your potential.

Never let self-doubt hold you prisoner. The future self is a result of your thoughts.

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