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Published on 14th February 2018

Faking it until you make it… or just making it?

By Joanne Smalley

Reading magazines and content online it seems that we women are constantly scared that we’re going to be found out – that we don’t really know what we’re doing.  We might be super high-flying executives, but deep down we all have a belief that we’re ‘faking it’ and that it will all come crashing down around our ears.

I’m certainly guilty of feeling like that at times.  I’ve worked for over 15 years in marketing and communications roles, with 14 of those years spent in the energy sector.  I’ve built a successful career, worked for some big corporate names, and for the last two years running my own marketing consultancy.  But over those years I’ve spent a lot of time thinking that someone will find me out – that actually I don’t really know what I’m doing.

It’s only very recently, when I’ve worked with a range of different companies, that I’ve realised that people really do think of me as the expert I’m trying to be.  That I know what I’m doing, and that’s the reason I’ve built those successful relationships and am able to run my own business.

Do men have these same issues – do they constantly question their own experience and expertise?  Are they wracked with the same self-doubt issues?  I don’t know for sure, but I do think that it tends to be a uniquely female trait.  And that it holds us back in the workplace because we don’t believe in our own talents enough to push ourselves forward for promotions, or jobs that might a stretch – when in fact we are more than capable.

I can’t promise to have the answer – but I can share my own experiences.  And those experiences have proved to me that we need to have more faith in our own abilities.  It’s not just you thinking that someone is going to catch you and call out ‘fake!’.  It’s a common trait and we have to push it away – because what other people see is your talent, hard work and dedication.

So be proud of your experience and knowledge – focus on constantly learning new skills, build your own personal network, and try and have people around you that support you in all that do.  That’s where a network like WUN is so powerful – make use of it, and create your own set of cheerleaders.  We’re not faking it, we’re making it!

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