Barbara Corcoran: If you feel like a fraud at work, ‘good for you’—why it ‘guarantees’ success

Wealth

Having imposter syndrome isn’t fun — but it can be the key to unlocking your potential, according to Barbara Corcoran.

In a recent TikTok video, the 74-year-old real estate millionaire said professionals should be grateful to have such self-doubt.

“If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, good for you,” she said. “Thank the Lord in heaven that you have imposter syndrome because what that guarantees is: You’re going to try harder than the next guy, and it’s in the trying that you find your confidence.”

Up to 82% of people experience self-doubt at some point in their lifetimes, says a 2020 meta-analysis published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

And people who put in more effort at work as a result tend to be more favored by their bosses than those that don’t, research shows: 29% of company executives worldwide say that employees who don’t go the extra mile won’t be successful and risk being fired, Payscale’s 2023 Compensation Best Practices Report found.

When you make it a habit to try harder than your peers, you’ll inadvertently build self-assurance, Corcoran said. You’ll tell yourself “I’m confident. I know it. I don’t feel it, but I know I am because I’ve tried 5 million times to build my confidence,” so it must be real, she added.

Corcoran, a co-star on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” even looks for imposter syndrome among the show’s contestants — so she can prioritize investing in their companies.

“The more successful someone is, the more self-doubt they have, because that’s what drives them,” Corcoran said during Fiverr’s Bridge the Gap webinar last year. “I’ve never met a secure person who was a stellar star.”

A little bit of imposter syndrome help

If you need a little reminder that you’re capable of carrying out tasks at work, affirmations can help. Dora Kamau, a mindfulness and meditation teacher at Headspace, recommends trying these four sayings to shift your mental state:

  1. “I am trusting the timing of my life.”
  2. “I trust in my purpose and in my innate power to be where I am.”
  3. “I am, on purpose.”
  4. “I’m doing the best that I can with what I have.”

“When I first became a teacher at Headspace, I had imposter syndrome a lot,” Kamau told CNBC Make It last year. “I had to challenge the different narratives and beliefs that I was holding about why I didn’t feel like I belonged. And that was really important for me, looking at the evidence, looking at the impact that I’ve made and reminding myself that I’m here for a purpose, and on purpose.”

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”

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