I heard a story about two professionals who do the same work, but identify themselves quite differently. One is female, the other male.  70% of the female’s law practice involves litigating worker’s compensation cases. She was thinking of identifying herself as an ‘expert’ in this type of litigation, but worried that it might make her seem too “full of herself.”  So of course with her imposter feelings, she aborted the notion and instead decided to say she had a special interest in that type of law.

The male attorney’s story was quite different. He grabbed the opportunity to empower himself and vamp his reputation stating he was not only the expert in his field, but the “leading expert.”

Why the disparity?

For many women, the title of ‘expert’ brings the pressure of having to prove herself plus worrying about what people will think. I believe women grew up with different messages than men. Take for instance the Boy Scouts vs the Girl Scouts.

The Boys Scouts oath begins with, “On my honor, I will do my best…” Confident, purposeful, intentional.

Now here’s the Girls Scout promise, “On my honor, I will try…”  Profiled as the lesser.

See the difference?

Women grew up with different messages that points to a lack of ability or knowledge. There’s no wonder so many are hearing The Imposter Messages in their heads.

Although everyone feels doubt and anxiety at times, The Imposter Messages cause a relentless cycle of stress, intimidation and embarrassment, and manifests in self-defeating thoughts that point to one direction: “I’m unworthy.”

It’s high time to renovate those faulty thoughts with valid messages describing the truth of who you really are..

I have put together some quick on the spot messages to meditate that helps turn off those imposter messages and turn on true success from within.

1.     Believing that you need to know everything before your consider yourself competent is false.

2.    It is perfectly acceptable to learn as you go.

3.    Stop devaluing your gifts simply because doing something comes more naturally to you than to someone else.

4.   Know that the fear and anxiety of dwelling on the negative instead of the positive is not natural.

5.   It is dangerous to be led by feelings especially when you are a high-achiever and is feeling you don’t deserve the recognition. See recognition as a gift. Receive it and say, “Thank you.”

You will believe what you hear you say quicker than hearing it from someone else. Turn these five messages into true success messages,  like this, “I don’t believe I need to know everything to be competent.”

And you don’t.


Question: What can you do this week to design success from within?

What did I miss? What are other valid messages to affirm one’s success? Share in the comments below.

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LifeDesign Specialist and Catalyst Dr. Deana Murphy helps modern high-achieving women DesignWith™, bring order to chaos and make life easier. Get Dr. Deana’s ‘25 Mistakes the High-Achieving Woman Makes that Will Kill Her Success’ and other free downloads at DeanaMurphyGlobal.com

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