在前不久的一次工作会议上，我意识到自己居然在说：“这个主意不怎么样，但如果我们尝试一下……”于是我打住了。我记得，刚进麦肯锡公司（McKinsey & Company）做咨询顾问时，我在最初的几次会议上用过这样的表达方式。今天，作为一名已成功创建公司并推动它不断成长的人，我认为自己肯定不会再无中生有地自我怀疑了。但这种念头确实又冒出来了，它意味着，我认为自己的想法并不值得讨论。
2011年《纽约客》（New Yorker）的一篇短文中，Facebook的首席运营官谢丽尔•桑德伯格表达的观点与冯芙丝汀宝不谋而合。在听完一个关于“感觉自己像骗子”这个话题的大学讲座后，她表示：“我这辈子对自己都是这种感觉。”她说自己在整个大学生涯中“把人们给骗了”。在2011年的巴纳德学院（Barnard College）毕业典礼上，她在致辞中称，直到如今有时都会觉得不自信：“一直以来，我经常——而不是偶尔——有这种感受；我得说，绝大多数时候我觉得自己并没有那么成功。”
麦肯锡公司资深总监、《杰出女性的领导之道》（How Remarkable Women Lead）一书的作者乔安娜•巴斯表示，自己职业道路上最大的挑战来自于如何解开心结，超越自我：“无论是过去还是现在，我都被一些画地为牢的担忧所困扰……由于愿意帮助我的人们并不了解我这种心理，他们会把我礼貌的婉拒‘不，多谢了’当真，转而把工作机会给下一个人——往往是个决心抓住这一机会的男人。所以，如何打破这种自我限制成了我所面临的最大难题。”
阿曼达•坡措特与卡洛琳•戈恩共同创办了The Levo League译者：清远
At a recent work meeting, I caught myself saying the following words: "Well, this isn't a great idea, but what if we did …" and then I stopped. I remember saying such things during my first few meetings as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, but I thought surely by now -- as someone who had created and developed a company -- I would not succumb to that kind of preemptive self-doubt. But there I was, suggesting that my thoughts weren't worthy of discussion.
At a women's conference in 2010, Diane von Furstenberg responded to an audience member's question about how to behave confidently when you are not quite there with the following advice: "Fake it 'til you make it."
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook (FB), echoed von Furstenberg's sentiment in a 2011 New Yorker profile. After listening to a college lecture on feeling like a fraud, she claimed, "I felt like that my whole life." Throughout her college years, Sandberg says, "I really fooled them." Addressing Barnard College graduates in 2011, she said that to this day she sometimes doesn't feel confident in herself: "All along the way, I've had all of those moments, not just some of the time; I would say most of the time, where I haven't felt that I owned my success."
Joanna Barsh, senior director at McKinsey & Company and author of How Remarkable Women Lead, says her biggest career challenge was getting out of her own way: "I was -- and am -- plagued by limiting fears … and because my sponsors were not versed in how to interact with such a creature, they took my 'no thank you' at face value and offered their opportunity to the next person -- a man who invariably grabbed it. It turns out that the challenge of getting out of my own way was the biggest one I ever faced."
At first I thought the concept of "faking it" was insincere, and that I would be lying to those around me. I was worried I'd be found out -- that they would discover that I don't have the skills to be doing what I am doing, or that I don't know what I am doing. I've come to recognize that these fears are irrational. But there are so many moments where I've let that little voice of doubt and insecurity take control.
Von Furstenberg, Sandberg, and Barsh make me feel less alone in falling prey to these negative thoughts. But just knowing that these powerful women had youthful moments of doubt is not enough: How did they actually learn to not listen to that feeling and get to where they are today?
Barsh suggests you should "remind yourself or find out what it is that you really want. Re-center yourself on possibilities ... Let go of non-mission critical tasks, accepting that you are not perfect and should not have that as a goal in mind." Sandberg's suggestion is similar: "Don't let your fears overwhelm your desire. Let the barriers you face -- and there will be barriers -- be external, not internal. Fortune does favor the bold, and I promise that you will never know what you're capable of unless you try," she told the Barnard audience.
I'm a dreamer. I have big ideas for my company and for myself, but when it comes to action, I often hesitate, or worse, after I do something, I beat myself up over how I could have done it better. What I've come to learn is that the terrified feeling is part of being a professional, and especially part of being a female professional. I have learned to focus on what I can do one day at a time, ignoring the fear of failure. The opportunity to grow comes from taking risks, stretch assignments, and speaking up when you aren't 100% confident. There may be a few bumps, but slight embarrassment only leads to learning.
When I begin to doubt myself, I think about my motivations for doing whatever it is I'm uncertain of. I train myself to focus on what is possible and try to silence that voice in the negative voice in the back of my head.
Amanda Pouchot co-founded The Levo League with Caroline Ghosn.