Synopses & Reviews
It’s only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don’t deserve this. It’s just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake.
If you are a working woman, chances are this internal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you’re not alone. From the high-achieving Ph.D. candidate convinced she’s only been admitted to the program because of a clerical error to the senior executive who worries others will find out she’s in way over her head, a shocking number of accomplished women in all career paths and at every level feel as though they are faking it — impostors in their own lives and careers.
While the impostor syndrome is not unique to women, women are more apt to agonize over tiny mistakes, see even constructive criticism as evidence of their shortcomings, and chalk up their accomplishments to luck rather than skill. They often unconsciously overcompensate with crippling perfectionism, overpreparation, maintaining a lower profile, withholding their talents and opinions, or never finishing important projects. When they do succeed, they think, Phew, I fooled ’em again.
An internationally known speaker, Valerie Young has devoted her career to understanding women’s most deeply held beliefs about themselves and their success. In her decades of in-the-trenches research, she has uncovered the often surprising reasons why so many accomplished women experience this crushing self-doubt.
In The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Young gives these women the solution they have been seeking. Combining insightful analysis with effective advice and anecdotes, she explains what the impostor syndrome is, why fraud fears are more common in women, and how you can recognize the way it manifests in your life. With her empowering, step-by-step plan, you will learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel — and act — as bright and capable as others already know you are.
"Career coach Young explores the 'imposter syndrome' why accomplished women are consumed with insecurity and the fear that they don't deserve their success and that it's just a matter of time before they're found out. She cites Dr. Sheila Widnall, an MIT professor of aeronautics, who observes, 'Treat a male student badly and he will think you're a jerk. Treat a female student badly and she will think you have finally discovered that she doesn't belong in engineering.' Though this is primarily female behavior, frequent quotes from celebrities of both genders provide a comforting counterpoint. It's not, as the author wryly points out, all in our heads; men are able to go further by doing significantly less, and 'striving while female' is still held to be a crime and female ambition frequently punished. How to triumph? Young presents the reasons why many women feel like imposters and how to get past these reasons; she also describes self-sabotaging behaviors and how to stop them in their tracks. Though there's been much written on this difficult topic, Young's extremely perceptive and action-oriented solutions shine; she urges women to focus on their actual, measurable achievements without editorializing ('just the facts, ma'am!') and to take their cue from men and to fake it till they make it. A can't-miss primer for businesswomen everywhere." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women examines a common affliction and offers tools, insight, scientific evidence, and numerous examples that aim to banish the impostor for good. Valerie Young's diligence, passion for the subject, and belief that anyone can overcome feelings of inadequacy, duplicity, and unworthiness rings loudly throughout The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women." New York Journal of Books
"Young's extremely perceptive and action-oriented solutions shine; she urges women to focus on their actual, measurable achievements without editorializing ('just the facts, ma'am!') and to take their cue from men and to fake it till they make it. A can't-miss primer for businesswomen everywhere."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Self-doubt is common, but when it impedes you from attaining your goals it's time to take action. This book shows you how to move beyond feeling like an imposter so that you can achieve your full personal and professional potential."
Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D., author of Nice Girls Just Don't Get It and Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office
"Valerie Young introduces us to the 'Impostor Syndrome,' a fascinating pattern of thinking that many successful women feel today. If you, in any way, feel you don't deserve your success, this is the book that will help you embrace the richness of the person you truly are."
Susan Jeffers, Ph. D., author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway® and Embracing Uncertainty
"Valerie Young's The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women is going to help a lot of talented women break free of self-doubt. The book is profound and practical, full of insights that will show you who you really are. You'll like what you see."
Barbara Sher, New York Times bestselling author of I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was
"A calm, measured book that quells that nagging inner voice that says you're not good enough, smart enough, or prepared enough to succeed. Women who second-guess themselves need to hear Valerie Young's message."
Susan Pinker, Psychologist, Author of The Sexual Paradox: Men, Women and the Real Gender Gap
About the Author
Valerie Young is an internationally known workshop leader and public speaker and the former marketing manager at a Fortune 200 company. Her work has been cited in such publications as Women’s Day, Redbook, Fitness, Self, Cosmopolitan, Inc., and the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Globe and Mail. She lives in Montague, Massachusetts. Visit the author online at www.impostorsyndrome.com.