Every Monday afternoon I meet with my Red Edge business team.
Last week’s meeting went really well. I shared my big vision, we explored ideas and discussed our progress. But later on that evening my mind went to work against me.
You’re no good.
You can’t do this.
You are an impostor.
Yep. I am a fraud. A fake. I’m not good at what I say I’m good at.
But at times I feel like I am.
When these moments happen I’m experiencing what the experts call Imposter Syndrome.
Gill Corkindale, a London-based executive coach writing in Harvard Business Review, defines imposter syndrome “as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.”
It’s natural to feel inadequate at times.
- We cringe when someone says we are a good parent because we know how far we fall short.
- We worry others will think our positive outlook is just a facade.
- We doubt our abilities even though we have felt confident in the past.
Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D., writing in Psychology Today, defines three types of Impostor syndrome. I’ll focus on the first she shares.
Type #1: “I’m a fraud”
The root fear here is that you will be revealed or unmasked. You often feel as if this is the day your true self will be dug up and exposed.
Building a business takes a lot of hard work. And sacrifice, skills, knowledge, grit, stamina, luck, and money! And a million other things, and sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes to do it.
TALKING ABOUT IT
It is not easy for me to talk about my challenges.
I bet it’s not so easy for you either.
While most people struggle with these feelings at one point or another, the feelings can easily be magnified when we start a new adventure.
Like starting a business.
Sometimes I feel I’m letting my family down, or disappointing them because I’m not growing at the level I need to.
Rationally I know they are not disappointed in me. In fact, they are my most ardent supporters continually encouraging and supporting me.
But the feelings I occasionally experience can still be very real.
I have learned talking about struggles gives me the strength to not let them be so overwhelming. And learning to talk about the little things helps them not turn into bigger things.
Sometimes we need someone who can reach out and help us.
Such was a gift my daughter Leslie gave me that night after our Red Edge meeting.
Leslie could tell I was feeling anxious. As I was preparing to run an errand, she asked if she could go with me. As we rode she reached out with a simple but to-the-point conversation that helped me open up and feel better.
It was exactly what I needed at the moment.
Dr. Hendrickson explores three reasons why we experience Imposter Syndrome. One of those reasons is comparing ourselves to others.
We see what others have accomplished and may not feel like we fit in or measure up.
I’ve experienced a little of this when I compare myself to other successful business coaches, marketing consultants, and professional speakers.
Dr. Hendrickson’s offers 9 suggestions “phony-feeling high achievers” can do to combat Impostor Syndrome. Check out her post for more details.
I really like #5.
- Know that the feeling is normal.
- Remind yourself of all that you’ve accomplished.
- Tell a fan.
- Seek out a mentor.
- Remember it’s OK not to know what you’re doing.
- For children, praise effort.
- Expect initial failure.
- Keep a little Impostor Syndrome in your pocket.
There you go. Nine tangible steps you can take to change how you think and act when you’re feeling the effects of Impostor Syndrome.
Most importantly, “always remember, you’re not alone.”
A BETTER STORY
I leave you with my personal mantra. The more I teach it, the more I internalize it.
Tell yourself a better story because the story you most consistently tell yourself will be the story which will most consistently come true in your life.
That’s how your Gain the Red Edge!
Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to focus on telling yourself a better story of how awesome you are!
Feature Photo Credit Errant Science
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