Ever felt like a fraud? That you’re not really good at what you do? That people are going to find out that you’re really incompetent? Welcome to the club of impostor syndrome!
Yes, the impostor syndrome – the phenomenon where you feel that you are not as good as what you are trying to portray or that you’re not as good as what others think of you. It’s a real syndrome, topped with the fear that you’re going to be exposed as a fraud anytime soon.
Recognize this? Me too! I anytime fraud in me coming up every single time I go on stage to speak, every time I start work with a new client, & right now, in the middle of writing a new book… I’ve done these things countless times with success (and joy!), but every time a new opportunity where I can excel knocks at my door, the syndrome of the impostor rears its ugly head.
Not to worry, though, we’re in good company. Solid research has shown that while high achievers suffer most from the impostor syndrome,[i] 70 percent of all people feel like impostors at one time or another. And the fear of being thought of as incompetent is even the biggest fear found in CEOs.[ii]
While the impostor syndrome is merely a figment of our own imagination, the consequences are real. The impostor syndrome undermines our confidence so much that it limits our creativity. It undercuts our courage to explore new opportunities & follow through. Low self-esteem, procrastination & rumination, anxiety, endless researching, hoarding information & stalling until you’re ready… need I go on?
Imposter syndrome is a devastating trap for entrepreneurs & high-achievers like us as our whole existence revolves around being creative, stepping out of our comfort zone & following through to succeed – every single day.
I know from firsthand experience how self-sabotaging the impostor syndrome can be. Do I let this fiction of my mind stop me? No way! I’ve found my way to break through the syndrome & so can you. Here are my 2 top tips to expose the imposter in you:
1. Acknowledge Your Accomplishments
Every time you start something new, remember you’re standing on solid ground. You’ve built your foundation by doing the work. Acknowledge your accomplishments. If needed, list them out – all of the things you’ve achieved so far in life & in business.
Now your accomplishments until date it might now be exactly in the line of what you’re going to start, but it’s not hard to see your unique personality, strength, knowledge, experience, challenges faced & obstacles overcome in life & business, everything that makes you stand out & so ready for the task you’re going to conquer next.
So list your accomplishments & acknowledge them. Acknowledge all that makes you unique & feel the self-doubt melt away.
2. Focus On Value
Remember why you started your business in the first place. Remember what you wanted to achieve. You wanted to deliver an incredible experience & service to others. To have a serious impact on others. To give value beyond belief & to make a real difference with your business… Focus on that!
Focus on the people you want to serve instead of focusing on yourself. Focus on the value you want to create instead of focusing on the daunting task ahead.
You see, the impostor syndrome is a total ego tripper – it puts the spotlight on you & highlights your fears, your doubts & your ego’s precious image. Direct that spotlight & highlight what you want to achieve, the people you want to serve & the value you want create for them.
Shift the focus & ask yourself how you can deliver your unique contribution to make a real difference in the lives of the people you want to serve – right now. This shift in focus from your ego to serving value to others will strengthen your determination & support you to follow through.
Two top tips – seems so simple & it is! Next time the charlatan is knocking on your door, expose the impostor for what he really is… just a figment of your rich imagination.
Apply these tips & turn that great mind of yours to what really matters – making an impact beyond belief with your business – successfully & joyously.
Elles Lohuis PhD is Business Consultant & Coach, collaborating with entrepreneurs & SME to achieve fast & sustainable results by capitalizing on their core-business & maximizing their personal potential.
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