THE BLOG

The Imposter

25/06/2014 15:12 BST | Updated 25/08/2014 10:59 BST

I stand on stage as many as 80 times a year with audiences as big as a 1,000 and as small as half a dozen.

The great and the good, the serious and the less so listening intently often making copious notes, the subject could be anything from Corporate Governance to Corporate Finance or even an insight into my so called success.

Whatever the subject though, however large or small the audience, how ever long the event, I am always racked with self-doubt and overpowering stage fright.

Generally as I start to speak the nerves start to end but I still have an overriding fear of "being found out".

This condition, I am told, is called Imposter Syndrome. That fear that you have no right to be where you are because frankly someone somewhere will guess you have no right to be there in the first place! This self-doubt I have realised is a very common place amongst those of us who have achieved a certain amount of what others may term success.

Personally I am not wholly clear where this may have come from and the question of nature or nurture seems impossible to answer.

Even with the benefit of a clutch of professional qualifications, five bestselling books behind me and numerous awards, including my recent wonderful First Women Award in Business Services (sponsored by Lloyds and in association with Real Business and the CBI) there still exists that feeling of self-doubt.

On a positive note there is no chance of arrogance being a trait as self-doubt quickly disposes any such thoughts, but it does create a sort of personal fragility which I have to work hard to manage.

Some who have confided in me admit they suffer the same condition, they say no amount of affirmations from peers and the like makes any difference. I disagree, it makes a huge difference. The most difficult part is sustaining that temporary confidence which, for many of us including myself, has a thin veneer.

So what we who suffer have to learn is how to manage it and not let it destroy any ability we have to deliver.

Jo Haigh is Senior Partner at fds and has recently been awarded the First Women in Business Services Award by Real Business and the CBI.