Emperor's New Clothes

Posted by: Jo Banks

Date: 01-07-2016

Feeling insecure in your new role?

One of the most recurring issues that my clients bring to our sessions is what one of my workshop delegates coined, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes Effect'.  Having an intense feeling of not being worthy or good enough to do their job .  Thinking that at some point, they will be ‘found out’. Having these unhelpful thought patterns is incredibly common with managers at all levels.  However, it is especially so, once the six-figure salary mark has been met/exceeded.


On a conscious level, clients know without a shred of doubt that they are the right person for the job.  After all, they will have gone through a (often lengthy) selection process and will have been chosen as the right person according to their skills, experience, values, personal skills, etc. However, on a subconscious level, it can bring out all kinds of insecurities.


If we trace those insecurities back, we typically find that they almost always come from experiences during childhood or adolescence.  It could be a comment made by a teacher, parent or peer such as ‘You’ll never amount to anything’ or ‘People like us don’t do things like that’ or ‘Don’t get above your station’, ‘People who earn big salaries are corrupt’, etc.  As a result, it can create internal conflict, which left unresolved, can negatively affect confidence and performance.


The same negative thought patterns can occur where an individual finally finds themselves the right job for them.  Although the role may be challenging, they find it relatively easy, enjoyable and rewarding.  This can also create insecurities.  Many of us are brought up to believe that work is hard, taxing, and not meant to be enjoyable.  So it's not surprising that when we find ourselves doing something that we love, or that comes naturally to us, we feel like we are ‘stealing a living’ and that at some point, we are going to get ‘found out’ as being a fraud.


So how do we stop these negative thoughts from getting out of control?


  1. Remember that it's YOU who creates your thoughts.  They aren't plopped into your head by a supernatural being; they are entirely made up by you, generated by your internal programming and filters.  Therefore, take control of your negative thoughts, changing them to something more positive the moment you notice them (we can't have two thoughts at once) or simply wave them away!  By doing this consistently, you'll start to reprogramme yourself, becoming more positive and more resourceful.
  2. Change the tone of your internal voice.  As soon as you notice that you're talking to yourself negatively, alter the tone of the voice to that of a whiny 12-year-old or even Micky Mouse.  Changing the pitch and tone will instantly take the threat away and is likely to appear quite comical.
  3. Write down why those unhelpful thoughts are untrue.  Give yourself as much evidence as possible that you’re just running old programming.  You may also wish to write down where you are/what’s going on around you when those thoughts are triggered.  It’s likely that you’ll notice a pattern to your thinking i.e. those thoughts come up in response to certain stimuli.  Once you’re aware of that, and what the triggers are, you can manage those scenarios more effectively.


Gaining control of your thoughts is not as complicated as it seems.  It's noticing the negative ones early, before they take a hold and create more ('like attracts like'), that's the tricky part.  However, the more you practise these techniques, the easier it will be.  Once we gain control over our thoughts, everything can change.  Remember, 'Thoughts Become Things!'


JO's FIRST BOOK: Thoughts Become Things

Visit the website for Jo Banks' first book, Thoughts Become Things now available in paperback and Kindle formats.