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Congratulations on getting the new role that you’ve worked so hard for. All that extra effort, taking on more, the long hours have paid off but why is it feeling like a hollow victory? Why aren’t you feeling confident and why have you been holding back with all those ideas that you have? Why do you find yourself looking in the mirror doubting you can pull it off, feeling like you’re not up for it and if they only knew what you are really like, they’d have chosen someone else for this great role?

This is not the way it’s meant to be. You’re meant to be feeling confident, riding the wave of success from your last role into the new one and feeling like they have chosen the right person for the role. It may surprise you that most highly successful people feel this way when they are taking on a new challenge. They come from strong success in their last role, have been rewarded with a new challenge and when the reality of the new role hits, they lose their mojo, start to second guess themselves and wondering if the organisation and they have made the right choice.

Smart advice would say things like; “don’t feel bad, they’ve chosen you for the right reasons”, “you’ll make it just hang in there”, “you’ve got no reason to feel like an impostor you’re talented, believe in yourself”. All great advice but this is not a bad haircut that will just grow out. Smart people tend to raise their expectations, work harder burning the candle at both ends trying to get to the stage of in control high performance as quickly as possible. While the advice is good, and the plan is sound, putting yourself under stress and pressure in the early stages of your new role while everyone is watching and deciding if you’re the right person, is not the best approach.

The problem is with all the excitement of gaining the new role you failed to prepare yourself for the transition and / or early days in the role. You immediately expected to hit the ground running like you were in your old role, with little allowance for what you need to learn and the time it takes to find your feet and bring yourself up to speed.

The one big thing that makes the difference between those who are confident and make a strong positive impact early on and those that don’t, is the stepping back and asking the tough questions relating to; old skills versus new, realistic expectations and targeted key successes in the new role.

In my experience this process is not done objectively, if at all. It needs to have unbiased detail and depth well in advance of starting the new role, and I suppose in today’s world, who has the time, right? You are also likely to have your confidence tied to expectations and performance in the new role. This makes no sense given you are new and learning and you have your horse hitched to the wrong wagon. Personal confidence is very different to role confidence.

You shouldn’t have to worry about early success in the new role, or what others are deciding about you when you are vulnerable and not at your strongest.

I take the people who I work with through the following practical steps before they begin in their new role;

  1. Identifying how you are likely to operate under stress and pressure
  2. Knowing internal drivers which are likely to clash with your new manager and team
  3. Developing a simple and clear learning plan
  4. Setting clear expectations of performance and confidence
  5. Defining quick wins to establish a strong reputation.

It is possible to start your new role with; planned confidence, early success, strong relationships and delivering on what you know is possible from day one.

How do you manage the feelings of doubt, low confidence and feeling like an impostor?

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