The MedMan Corporate Team adopted a new habit – each month someone does a book report. I recently gave my book report on Brendon Burchard’s, High Performance Habits. Brendon identified three performance killers. The first of the three is Beware Superiority. It is really a warning about the need to be humble. I am quite certain that each of us has had our moments when we may have been overconfident, whether taunting someone on the basketball court, or slipping out of an MGMA presentation that was just not at our level. So, you can’t be cocky, but our culture reinforces being strong and confident. I’ll bet that you have noticed that too much bravado - an air of superiority - is sometimes a symptom of lack of confidence, inner self doubt - a fear of being judged or wrong.
As it turns out, highly successful people suffer from a new syndrome - people who engage in negative self-talk… the Imposter Syndrome. Harvard Business Review describes it as “chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success…’’.
More often than we may want to admit, we doubt ourselves and our abilities, while giving the impression of cool and confident. Elizabeth Lessor writes on one of her favorite characters Wavy Gravy – a 1960s activist who coined the term, “we are all just Bozos on the Bus”. We are all dumped on planet earth with no training, and end up as the Surgeon General, Bank President, or Medical Practice Administrator, part of the same human experience, who all make mistakes.
Give yourself a break. I was upset with myself for being sarcastic recently in a meeting – big mistake – of all things – I warn against sarcasm in my presentations and in coaching managers. I have decided to take the advice of therapist Linda Carroll who suggests that we substitute “doing my best today” for “being perfect”, and “learn as I go” for “making mistakes”.