You Probably Aren’t the Best Person for the Job

Do you ever feel like you might not be the best person for the job?

think stencil art & graffiti cat

think stencil art & graffiti cat (Photo credit: urbanartcore.eu)

Do you sometimes worry that people will find you out and realise that you aren’t smart enough or knowledgable enough or skilful enough for the job?

Do you sometimes get distracted by the fear that people are thinking that you are the wrong person for the job? That they are wishing they had a different boss, coach, project manager … even graffiti artist?

When that fear that you aren’t quite good enough comes up, what do you do?

Banksy people Clerkenwell

Banksy people Clerkenwell (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Whatever you do there will always be someone better at it. Banksy is better at graffiti than the person who did the cat in the 1st photo

When I am in the grip of that fear I can tend to push myself too hard, trying to be perfect. I can become preoccupied with scanning for signs that people are judging me and finding me wanting. I can ruminate over and over on the 1 piece of negative feedback I was given after a workshop and ignore the 99 pieces of positive feedback.

Apparently I am not alone. Most of us have this fear at some time. It even has a psychological name – Impostor Syndrome. You can take a test here to see how bad your ‘impostor syndrome’ is.  It is particularly common in high achievers. Which is oddly reassuring!

If you look at your ‘I’m not good enough’ thoughts then you might just realised that, to a degree, these thoughts are actually right. There are almost certainly people who are more skilful than you at your job. They might even be sitting in the next cubicle to you.

What would happen if you accepted the fact that you probably aren’t the best person for the job?

Sit with that question for a moment. See what turns up for you.

Perhaps your focus might become about growth, on becoming better rather than being the best? On admitting mistakes and the gaps in your knowledge and asking for help?

You may also notice that you have one big advantage over the person who is better at this. You are there and they aren’t.

So what is the best way to deal with the fact that you probably aren’t the best person for the job?

1. Accept it – it may well be true. And however good you get, those thoughts are likely to turn up now and then.

2. Get present – you are the person on the spot. So make sure you take full advantage of that by bringing your attention to what you are doing.

3. Develop a growth mindset  – it isn’t about being the best. It is about getting better.

About Rachel Collis

Rachel gained 15 years experience as a psychiatrist before moving into management consulting in 2001. She now lectures on the Executive MBA program at QUT and provides executive coaching, facilitation and workshops to organisations around Australia. To learn more, visit - http://rachelcollis.com.au/
This entry was posted in Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT), Psychological Flexibility, Work and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to You Probably Aren’t the Best Person for the Job

  1. You’ve written this for me, right? :)

    Thank you, Rachel. You’re so good at saying important things in just a few, very accessible lines…

    • Thanks Maarten! Matthieu Villatte dropped a throw away line into his ACT in Context podcast on Self as Context about how his ‘I’m a fraud’ thoughts have some truth in them and it just struck me as so important, I wanted to expand on it.

  2. Rob Archer says:

    Great stuff Rachel. What Maarten said basically!

  3. Thx Rob! You are such a supportive co-author!

  4. sarah khan says:

    Rachel , this article is about ME, not Marteen, just kidding:-))), and yes i absolutely suffer from the Imposter syndrome. I am not sure if the same things come up for me when i sit down and try to accept those thoughts. As most of the time, there’s proof that, in many areas i am indeed better than others. But no amount of awards, confirmation from others etc etc. is enough to convince me that. Not sure why there’s so much self doubt. It does not affect my performance as much anymore, i am able to be present.

  5. Pingback: Guest post: When Anger Strikes like a Bolt out of the Blue | Working with ACT

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