Step Beyond Your Limitations
by Suzanne Mercier

ISBN: N/A (it is a CD Rom release), Publisher: Filmstretch, 2009
Reviewed by: Julie Garland McLellan*


Have you ever heard a successful person attribute their success to luck or being in the right place at the right time? Have you ever felt uneasy with praise; as if you didn't really deserve it? Have you ever ignored positive feedback to focus almost entirely upon the one or two negative remarks? There is a possibility that these occurrences are evidence of the 'imposter syndrome'

Apparently up to 70% of successful people feel uncomfortable with their level of success. They exhibit a range of coping behaviours designed to distract people from noticing their shortcomings. These behaviours ultimately can become sabotaging and, even in mild forms, are counter-productive. Company directors cannot afford such behaviours and they cannot stand by if they see executives exhibiting similar unproductive reactions to events and situations within the companies they govern.

This programme describes the symptoms, explains the underlying causes and then, most important, gives positive strategies for building emotional resilience and dealing effectively with success and set-backs. There are workbooks with simple text and exercises to assist in increasing awareness of 'what is really going on'. These are supported by videos and sound recordings that enrich and enliven the programme.

The whole programme is delivered in plain English and is lucidly useful. The author, Suzanne Mercier, is a former sufferer and speaks clearly from a position of deep personal experience. She avoids the descent into auto-biographical writing/recording as personal therapy and keeps the focus firmly upon the user (reader, listener or viewer). This is refreshing and energising.

Is it time for a personal confession from the reviewer? Okay; I will admit that I do, according to the diagnostics, suffer from the potential for mild imposter syndrome. It is not incapacitating although I will get an insane urge to giggle whenever I am applauded and I usually feel as if I have somehow stood in front of the person that the audience are applauding. Having diagnosed myself as socially and economically functional in chapters one and two, I was still able to get insights from the following chapters and enjoyed looking at the world with a slightly different focus.

This book enhances your ability to perceive your own motivations and those of the people around you. For a company director that is, in itself, a useful development. For a board grappling with a talented executive team that inexplicably shoots itself in the foot at inopportune moments this is a simple and cost effective source of information. The discretion of home study, on your own computer and in your own time, will appeal to anyone who is hesitant about attracting attention to their efforts to increase and enhance their potential.

Above all, this is a programme that is alive with possibility. It is well worth the (considerable) investment in time and effort to complete the exercises and enhance your awareness.

* Julie Garland McLellan is a professional non-executive director, board and governance consultant and mentor. She is the author of "Dilemmas, Dilemmas: practical case studies for company directors", "The Director's Dilemma", "All Above Board: Great Governance for the Government Sector" and numerous articles on corporate strategy and governance.

Julie Garland McLellan to judge 2011 Global eBook Awards