Do you ever suffer from negative voices inside your head? What about an overwhelming sense of self-doubt and insecurity? You’re not alone. All entrepreneurs face this challenge and you’ll find out why in this episode. So get out of your head, into your heart and let’s learn about Imposter Syndrome.
Hello and thanks for tuning in to this podcast, we are doing a special series right now dedicated to mindset and in this episode I want to talk specifically about Imposter syndrome.
Before we dive into our topic, I want to give a shout out to Erin and all the fabulous ladies in the Girly Book Club! I had the pleasure of attending their recent retreat in Muskoka and I got to facilitate a couple leadership workshops. What an incredible weekend. It’s always so great to get out of the city and escape into nature and what a gorgeous weekend we had.
Now I know I’ve talked about the Girly Book Club before, it’s run by my friend Erin and it’s a global Book Club with more than, wait for it, 60,000 members around the world. Seriously, 60,000 members. So even though Erin identifies herself as an accidental entrepreneur, she’s been pretty successful “by accident”, I must say.
Now this weekend retreat was specifically for the hosts of each chapter, and I love this concept for a retreat. Erin’s vision specifically was to help create community and let the chapter hosts know how much she appreciates all their hard work. It was an opportunity to collaborate, share ideas, best practices and of course develop their leadership… and that’s where I came in. Now you know that I love running retreats, right? I love every single part of it. I love bringing together a group of people who don’t necessarily know each other and creating a situation where they will completely open up and trust each other and really get to learn about themselves and grow.
And that is exactly what happened over the weekend. It was deep exploration, reflecting back on peak experiences, understand our core values, and most importantly expanding our range and stepping out of our comfort zone to expand our leadership ability.
I have to say it was an incredible weekend. I was blown away at how open everyone was and how easily they shared their experiences and jumped in to support each other. I was really blown away and am very grateful to Erin for this chance to work with her leaders AND meet more members of the Book club. I’m proud of how hard everyone worked and I consistently heard the feedback, Wow – I was not expecting that, from the girls… which I’m just going to go ahead and take as a compliment.
And if you are a female and a book lover, then you might want to check out the Girly Book club and see if there’s a chapter near you, at thegirlybookclub.com, and if there isn’t a chapter near you, then this just might be a great leadership opportunity and you could start a chapter in your city!
OK, so let’s jump back to our topic today on Imposter Syndrome.
Now it doesn’t matter where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, at the beginning, or 20 years in, I want you to understand one thing. Everyone has to face imposter syndrome. No one is immune to it. No matter who you are, where you are in life, or how successful you are. Chances are you’ve wrestled with this at some point.
So get out of your head and into your heart and let’s dive right in shall we.
Imposter Syndrome is, quite simply, an overwhelming sense of self-doubt and insecurity, that leads us to question our own capability and worthiness. We may feel paralyzed or worried that we have somehow mislead people to think that we’re more competent than we actually are, and this leaves us with fear that we’re going to be “found out” or exposed for our inferiority.
Quite often Imposter syndrome causes us to dismiss our success as just luck, or downplay our accomplishments.
As you know, I have created this podcast to curate some of the top themes that I see in my clients, and Imposter Syndrome has been coming up a LOT lately. Likely because everyone seems to be on the cusp of really stepping up with their businesses. So, that’s why I wanted to dedicate this entire episode to this topic, because it will likely apply to you at some point, if it hasn’t already.
In order to really understand Imposter syndrome, I want you to know that it happens most when we are on the cusp of growth. When we are expanding and doing something new and scary. We’ve talked about this before. Your ego wants you to stay safe inside your comfort zone, never taking any risks, never wanting to learn or grow. Because that way, you’re safest, and easiest to manage.
So if you’re never growing, or learning or doing anything new, then you’re likely immune to imposter syndrome. BUT, if you’ve managed to find yourself here, and you’re listening to this podcast and especially if you’re an entrepreneur, your reality is that you love growth, you love learning and being challenged. And here’s a little tough love for today. If you’re hungry for a life full of growth, learning and adventure, you’ve unknowingly ordered a side of self-doubt. That’s just part of the experience.
To understand Imposter syndrome a little deeper I want to share 4 truths about it:
Truth #1 – Everyone deals with Imposter Syndrome. Everyone. Trust me. It doesn’t matter how successful, accomplished, well respected or famous someone is, we all suffer from this to some degree. Imposter Syndrome is perfectly normal. I tell you this, because I want you to know you are not alone in this, everyone experiences this self doubt to some degree at some point in their life. There is one distinction however, and that is HOW we respond to it when it happens: some people allow it to become their reality and it holds them back and they get stuck, and some of us are conscious about it and have learned to live with the discomfort and somehow manage to lean into it.
Truth 2 – Sadly, it never ever goes away. And I’m not trying to be the bearer of bad news here, but, this this is something really important to point out, because often we think we can work really hard, to get to a destination and when we “get there” we’ll just naturally feel confident. There is a belief in our collective consciousness that when we arrive at the top of the mountain, or reach a certain altitude, that we’re going to rid ourselves of self doubt. And we’ll naturally feel worthy and proud all the time. But this isn’t the case. I tell you this, because I want you to feel comfort knowing this. The truth is that our challenges always uplevel relative to our ability to handle them. And that’s a great tweetable, so I’m going to say it again. our challenges always uplevel relative to our ability to handle them.
Truth #3 – The feelings are real but the thoughts are not. And what I mean by this is, although the feeling of self doubt is real, the emotions are real, they’re not accurate or true. Everyone goes through this and it happens when we are growing. And I know this feeling of being a fraud, or not worthy or deserving of your success might be an intense emotion, but remember that it’s not the truth. It simply comes from the expansion of your capability. You’re expanding your blueprint, or your range of capability. Think of it like growing pains. As kids our bodies were growing at such a quick rate, and not everything always grows to scale, leaving us a little awkward at times. Well that’s kind of what is going on with imposter syndrome. We’re growing into a new capability, but our ability to recognize this or see ourselves as an expert hasn’t quite shown up yet, we’re not comfortable yet, so we feel a little awkward. A little unsure of ourselves. But we must not doubt ourselves or slow down. Keep going forward and remember that You are always exactly where you need to be.
Truth #4. It’s a sign of continuous growth. In my research for this episode I read something interesting, I read that Imposter Syndrome mostly affects high achievers, and this makes sense, because it shows up mostly when we are growing. So for people who are doing the same thing day in, day out and never really challenging themselves, then they’re likely not going to be affected by this. Imposter Syndrome is essentially a sign that you are on the cusp of growth, so do yourself a favour and recognize it as a good thing.
In this segment I want to give you a few tips to deal with imposter syndrome.
Tip #1: Remember that experiencing I.S. is perfectly normal and part of the journey. Everyone goes through it. It’s a sign that you are on the right path. It is a sign that you are normal, and human and you are not alone. Recognize it for what it is and don’t let it paralyze you. I would even go so far as challenging you to start seeing your imposter syndrome as a good thing, because when it shows up it is a sign that you are stepping out of your comfort zone, and THAT is exactly where I want you to be.
Tip #2: Take perspective. Often when we’re experiencing it, it is because we are completely immersed in doing so much that is new that we’ve lost perspective about how much we’ve learned and grown along the way. So, if you can take a little time out and think back to a year ago, or a few years ago and compare how much you know now, compared to then, this will help you to feel grounded. Or the other thing you can do is to reconnect with your purpose and where you are heading, and who you are serving, and this will help you get perspective on why you are going through what you’re going through right now. Remember, success rarely happens on a straight trajectory, there are lots of peaks and valleys along the way. Remember this and be patient with yourself.
Tip #3: Ground yourself with your expertise. Often when we’re overwhelmed with imposter syndrome it’s because we’re doing so much that is new. So find a way to take a break from the New and come back to something that you’re really good at. Remember doing tasks that we know how to do always take less energy and effort than doing something new that we’re learning for the first time. So take a time out Superhero and go back to what you know and what you’re really good at, immerse yourself in that to get your mojo and your confidence back.
Tip #4: Presence it. You know this is one of my favourite soft skills, to name what is going on to others. So if you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, and you’re feeling like you’re a fraud, or that you’re not good enough, then I want you to presence it and tell someone else about it. You’ll be surprised that instantly all the charge is instantly taken out of it. It’s like letting all the air out of the balloon. Because the horrible feeling of shame, fear and insecurity can only exist when you keep it inside to yourself. When you keep it unconscious. But as soon as you speak it out loud, to someone who you feel really safe with, then it starts to dissolve. And a couple other great things might happen too, either the person you share this with will likely have a great story of when they’ve experienced it too, or you’ll have the opportunity to teach them about it, and make them aware of what these feelings are too. This takes courage and is pure leadership.
Tip #5: Focus on your Big Why and connect to WHO you are helping. Part of the reason Imposter Syndrome can be so paralyzing is because we get stuck in our head and make it all about US. What are people going to think about me, what if someone finds out I actually don’t know what I’m doing, or if I’m not as smart as they think I am. When our ego takes over and we start having all these thoughts we can get completely consumed. BUT, if you can get out of your head and connect to your heart and really think about the people out there who need your help and really need to hear your message and focus on how to best reach and best serve THEM, then this takes you out of your head and helps move you to action. You stop thinking and worrying and start taking action. So focus on the WHAT you need to do and WHY you are going to impact. As Simon Sinek says, focus on your Big WHY.
So let’s recap those 5 tips of what you can do the next time you’re faced with imposter syndrome:
1 – Remember that its normal and everyone goes through it
2 – Take perspective by stepping back and looking at the big picture
3 – Ground yourself with your expertise
4 – Presence it, and tell someone what you’re going though
5 – Focus on your Big WHY
So try out of one those tips and in the last segment I want to leave you with a few words of inspiration.
Now, I want you to know that whatever you’re facing right now, maybe you feel like you’re not ready yet, or you’re not smart enough yet, or you worry that other people know more than you do. I’m here to give you some tough love.
YES there may be some people out there who actually DO have more experience or expertise than you do, BUT there are way more people who don’t know more than you. And guess what, these people are waiting for you to step up and share what you do know.
They’re waiting for you to inspire them.
They’re waiting for you to step up, so they can step up too.
You don’t HAVE to know everything right now.
You don’t have to have all the answers, you don’t have to be smarter than everyone else. But you do need to Step up and show up at 100% of the capacity that you have TODAY.
Remember, there’s no such thing as the confidence fairy, confidence comes from taking action. From doing the things that we’re kinda sort scared to do, that we’re not able to do perfectly just yet….. but we will always figure it out as we go along.
So instead of worrying that people will think you’re a fraud I want you to focus on what you DO know, and WHO you can help and HOW you are going to help them.
And as you focus on your big why and the impact you’re going to have on others, remember that fear, is just your greatness in disguise.