Extensive research has revealed to me that a mind shift is needed before we can overcome our Imposter Syndrome.
I say mind shift, because knowledge alone won’t do it.
This mind shift requires that we change our beliefs about other people’s opinions.
An Amazing Accounts Receivable Analyst
I’ll never forget the story of a privately held firm with an Accounts Receivable employee who was very popular with the firm’s customers.
In fact, their customers used to rave about her.
For the longest time, she asked for a Sales job.
The Sales people constantly said, ‘You’ll never succeed in Sales’.
This went on for what seemed like forever.
Eventually, she was given an opportunity.
Ultimately, she played a pivotal role in the growth of her employer.
So pivotal, that when the owner engaged an underwriting firm to explore an IPO, they turned him down.
The firm decided against underwriting the firm’s IPO because this one woman was responsible for 1/3 of that company’s sales.
(So much for those who doubted this woman’s ability.)
Michelle Obama’s Run-In With a College Guidance Counselor
Anyone familiar with Michelle Obama’s autobiography, ‘Becoming’, should remember her experience with a college guidance counselor.
BusinessInsider wrote about the incident shortly after Michelle’s book came out. I’m paraphrasing,
Michelle shared how at the beginning of her senior year, she was required to meet with a college counselor.
At the time, she wanted to attend Princeton because her older brother Craig was there.
Unfortunately, the counselor said, ‘I’m not sure that you’re Princeton material.’
Fortunately, Michelle decided to disregard the advice and apply to Princeton anyway.
Six or seven months later she received her acceptance letter.
Interestingly, the former First Lady wrote, “I never did stop in on the college counselor to tell her she’d been wrong—that I was Princeton material after all.
It would have done nothing for either of us….And in the end, I hadn’t needed to show her anything. I was only showing myself.”(I)
I’m not certain if that college counselor is aware of this, but Michelle graduated cum laude from Princeton.
Three years later she earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Harvard Law School.(II)
(So much for her guidance counselor’s opinions.)
My Experiences with Two Bosses
Like many of us, I’ve had similar experiences.
My fourth boss at a former employer told me I should not be in the corporate world.
She was a real fun person to work for.
Not only did I discover that she told our Director that I was the cause of all of the department’s problems, I had to contend with her telling me I could be fired at any time.
All of this continued until I found errors in her work and shared this information with her.
All of a sudden, she knew she could no longer spin her yarns about me and moved onto another department.
My second boss was equally unable to recognize talent.
I say that because he fired my successor and tried to fire my predecessor.
He tried to fire me but his bosses stopped him because my talents were needed in another department.
Interestingly, in the 24 years I worked for that firm I received three promotions, several awards and my salary tripled.
(So much for these boss’s opinions.)
Kelly Clarkson’s Experience
If your ideas, gifts, talents, etc. are being shot down, you should consider Kelly Clarkson’s story.
Digitalspy wrote about Kelly in 2016, to paraphrase,
The singer told the Bournemouth Echo “I’ve had to fight on every record to get what I wanted on there.”
While Kelly’s music was usually very personal, the song, ‘Because of You’, was Kelly Clarkson laid bare.
Kelly wrote a version of the song when she was 16 following her parents’ divorce.
Kelly told Blender “I like songs when you can actually hear the person cry. It’s free therapy.”
Kelly said to the Guardian, “That song really is the most depressing one I’ve ever written.”
As you might suspect, that song was shot down at almost every opportunity.
Kelly shared how she “tried to get it on [the album] ‘Thankful’, and was laughed at and told I wasn’t a good writer.”
Kelly revealed how she “cried because [record producer and label exec Clive Davis] hated it and told me verbatim that I was a ‘shitty’ writer”.
Nevertheless, Kelly fought to get the song on her ‘Breakaway’ album.
Digitalspy shared how Kelly said, “I think I’m most proud of that song…”
“…Just getting it on an album because no one liked it until it hit No.1 worldwide and everybody was on board.”(III)
And proud she should be. “Because of You” received universal critical acclaim.
Critics also lauded Clarkson’s vocal prowess in the song. Pam Avoledo of Blogcritics thought that vocally, the song is Clarkson’s “shining” moment.(IV)
Words, in fact, cannot do this song justice. If you haven’t seen Kelly’s music video of “Because of You,” I encourage you to put this book down and watch it.
(So much for those who said Kelly wasn’t a good writer.)
Because of my experience and the experience of others, I wrote, Other People’s Opinions.
Other People’s Opinions
Sooner or later we all confront other people’s opinions…
When confronted, remember what my 58 years have taught me…
Not everyone will appreciate you and everything you have to offer.
Many people believe,
‘If you don’t live life as I do, something is the matter with you.’
We know they couldn’t be more wrong.
While we wait for them to figure that out, don’t let these people bother you.
Move on and…
Seek out those wise enough to truly appreciate you and all you have to offer.
Remembering, just because,
Some people don’t believe in you, is no reason not to pursue your wildest dreams.
Their beliefs are just opinions, not facts.
~ Clark Finnical
These experiences also led me to write, Who Is Your Best Advisor?
Who is Your Best Advisor?
Perhaps the greatest lesson you will ever learn is no one understands you like you do.
Everyone you meet will judge you based on their experience, values and beliefs.
No one understands what drives you, your strengths and capabilities and how long and hard you will work to achieve your goals.
Who do you think will be better equipped to advise you throughout your journey?
Someone who doesn’t know you or someone who knows you like no one else?
– Clark Finnical
Do you think Michelle Obama’s college guidance counselor understood what drove her, her strengths and capabilities and how long and hard she’d work to achieve her goals?
Do you think the bosses I mentioned above understood the value I brought to our employer?
Do you think the people in Sales were qualified to judge the Accounts Receivable Analyst?
Do you think the people who worked with Kelly Clarkson were qualified to judge her writing ability?
Now, when someone does not appreciate you and the value you bring remember these stories…
…And repeat to yourself, and post Other People’s Opinions and Who Is Your Best Advisor? prominently where you can read and reread them everyday, because you’ll need them, just like I do.
Clark Finnical is a Career Expert and the author of
Article originally appeared in www.clarkfinnical.com