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Viewpoint: The quest to erase self-doubt

In "Peter Pan's Complete Adventures", the author J.M. Barrie: "The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you stop being able to do it forever." The experiences and achievements of this year's winner of Business Insurance Women to Watch winners are as diverse as they are impressive. I had the honor of talking to several of them and what struck me was the number who shared that they had felt the effects of fraudsters' syndrome during their ascent to the top. Imposter syndrome is usually defined as feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evidence of success. . For some, the fear of measuring up to a promotion to a new role followed; for others, emotions have persisted throughout their careers, even as they progress through the ranks. Many professionals in various industries have experienced feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt at certain times. A 2020 report by KPMG LLP, for example, found that 75% of female executives in various industries have experienced fraudulent syndromes in their careers.

KPMG asked 750 high-performing executives one or two steps away from the C suite who had participated in Women & # 39; s Leadership Summit. The reasons why they doubted themselves are probably more multifaceted than a report can convey, but some said the feelings came from the fact that they never expected to reach the level of success they had achieved. More than half said they had been afraid that they would not live up to expectations or that people around them would not think they were as capable as expected. The press and the perceptions that came with being the only or first woman in their roles contributed to these feelings, KPMG found ̵

1; this despite the fact that they had deserved their promotion.

Fortunately, for the female managers I interviewed, the personal challenge they faced as they tried to overcome their feelings of self-doubt did not stop them in their professional footsteps. Many said that the advice of a mentor or ally was crucial to help them believe in themselves and their abilities. Working with mentors, both within and outside your own company, made a difference. Not to assume that others had perceptions of them and to set their own expectations of their role and goals was one of the ways in which they proceeded. Another interesting takeaway was how these female leaders create diverse and inclusive teams that create credible pathways for internal development for colleagues who show potential.

Many of us have felt different, out of place or out of place in a professional environment. It's obvious that this year's Women to Watch winners have not sounded stereotypes or outdated assumptions about what a leader should look like or sound that prevent them from working hard and achieving success.

However, as the industry looks set to attract sustainable talent in the coming years, it is important to promote a workplace where people can feel comfortable expressing their ideas and trying some of those ideas, even if they fail, as well as building a sense of belonging and a diverse and inclusive workplace culture that allows each employee to feel accepted and be their authentic self.

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