Back in 2015 Dr Steve Peters, famous author of The Chimp Paradox, gave a keynote speech during a lecture at the Emmanuel Centre in London, hosted by The School of Life. Peters addressed an auditorium of ‘imposters with confidence crippling insecurities’ about peak performance and how to achieve this.
In his down to earth style he was very open, albeit teetering on the tightrope of political correctness, but ultimately incredibly inspiring in his discussion about differences between men and women and their ability to succeed. He confirmed what the buzz of Sheryl Sanberg’s book and TedTalk Lean In had taught us - that there is a common theme in business when it comes to women being held back and holding themselves back.
There are still very obvious societal barriers preventing women from achieving career goals but perhaps more worryingly are the barriers that women create for themselves through internalising these external barriers. Women are crippling themselves through imposter syndrome; believing that they could never be good enough to be taken seriously in business or successful enough to further their careers.
During Dr Peters’ Q&A session, Esther Stanhope (The Impact Guru and self confessed previous sufferer of ‘imposter syndrome’) asked “Can you give us some practical advice?”
The professor paused and replied “Women are terrible…. you keep beating yourself up. You never think you’re good enough when you are brilliant … Become your biggest fan….. be your own cheer leader….stop blaming yourself for everything….give yourself a big hug, start loving yourself… yes love yourself” (Dr Steve Peters)
He has a point. Think of your work and the women you know - the majority of women don’t like to step into the spotlight. Many women avoid it and point blank refuse to put themselves through the ordeal of public speaking for fear of it resulting in public humiliation.
Women are defaulting to feeling not good enough and this, ironically, is not good enough. If we take Dr Steve Peters’ advice to start loving ourselves and giving ourselves a little bit more credit every day then we can transform our businesses, careers and future.
This is obviously much easier said than done for those of us that lack inner confidence and feel as if at any moment someone is going to tap you on the shoulder and whisper in your ear “you’re not good enough”. But we must not let these thoughts win as they will hold us back in our career and prevent us from speaking up when we have great ideas.
As Dr Peters said, women must find a way to work with their strengths and have the confidence to place themselves into the spotlight. This isn’t always easy and even people who come across as confidence will have struggled in the past to be confident and relaxed enough to be themselves.
We can find our help and confidence through mentors in our workplace, inspirational speakers such as Dr Peters and Sheryl Sandberg or through Confidence Gurus like Esther Stanhope. All you need to do is pluck up the courage to take the first step, STOP giving yourself a hard time and START loving yourself.
Stanhope has created a 7 point masterclass on the most effective tips for women to shut out the voice of doubt and hack into their inner confidence available to all. Click here to sign up for this lunchtime webinar on Tuesday July 17th.
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A former 'Live' BBC Producer, Esther's helped big personalities, international celebrities, and politicians radiate charisma & quickly engage with an audience (She's interviewed the likes of Madonna, George Clooney, and Alistair Campbell). She now helps global organisations win new business by bringing personality to their pitches and presentations. Clients include Deloitte, HSBC, Barclays, International law firm Squire Patton Boggs, FirstGroup and Mumsnet.

Esther also speaks at company away days, conferences and Women's Networking events. about personal impact, confidence and charisma. She's a regular at Mumsnet Workfest - helping women get their Mojo back when they want to get back to work and she's inspired 100's of women in business to raise their profile by speaking in front of audiences.
Check her out on Ch4's Celebrity Wife Swap