The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: And Men: Why Capable People Suffer from Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive In Spite of It (Hardcover)
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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 with this award-winning book by Valerie Young.
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.
About the Author
Valerie Young is co-founder of Impostor Syndrome Institute. An internationally recognized expert for four decades, she has delivered her Rethinking Impostor Syndrome™ program to over half a million people at such diverse organizations as Pfizer, Google, NASA, Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford. Young earned her doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she helped found the Social Justice Education program, a forerunner to today’s DE&I training. Although her early research focused on professional women—over half of whom were women of color—much of the original findings have proven applicable to anyone with impostor feelings. Her book has been reprinted in five languages.
“[Valerie] Young’s extremely perceptive and action-oriented solutions shine. . . . A can’t-miss primer for businesswomen everywhere.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“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
“Dr. Young is a mapmaker. She inspires us to go for it by providing guidelines to make success a choice based on our values rather than on our fear of incompetence. This book is a gift to the millions who want to replace fear and suffering with excitement and joy in their achievements. I am recommending it to all my clients and students who suffer with impostor feelings.”—Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., co-coiner of the impostor phenomenon
“Valerie Young’s book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, provides important insights into the impostor experience of very competent women. She provides important knowledge that can help women begin to truly appreciate and acclaim their success.”—Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D., ABPP, co-coiner of the impostor phenomenon
“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 impostor 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
“The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women is as important as The Feminine Mystique. Quite simply, if you are a woman—or love one—this book belongs in your library.”—Barbara J. Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job