“How do I cope with the doubts I have that I’m just bluffing?”

A female executive that I coach asked me the above question recently and I thought it appropriate to bring up for two reasons:

1. To highlight that similar thoughts and feelings can arise in us all

No matter where we are on the career ladder we make assumptions that the people above us do not have the same worries, doubts and fears that we do. I too had this assumption, until a colleague of mine highlighted some research stating that out of 100 global financiers, the lowest position held being Vice President, 94 of them put ‘increased self belief’ as their no.1 reason for wanting coaching! Never assume.

2. To clarify bluffing and its use.

There are times when we are asked whether we can do something and we bluff our way through saying ‘yeah, sure’, when internally we are thinking…Holy ’insert expletive of choice here.’

Sometimes saying yes can be of benefit as the ‘project’ pushes our buttons and gives us the opportunity to step up, stretch our knowledge, gain experience and support to achieve something we originally were unsure as to whether we could complete. Go you! If this has happened to you, make sure to take note of the doubts that came up as you now have evidence to the contrary to tackle them if they appear again in the future. Taking the time to acknowledge your achievements helps to ‘lock’ them into your memory.

That being said, fair too many people bluff their way into something and then do not deliver or even under deliver and this can be damaging to them and their reputation. Again, if this has happened for you rather than beat yourself up about what you did or didn’t do, stop and reflect on what you have learnt, more specifically what could you do differently if a similar situation arose in the future?

‘To bluff or not to bluff? That is the question’ and whether you know the doubts can be challenged or you need to step back and be more honest, will support you and take yourself believes to the next level!

Remember, believe in yourself, your life depends on it.