Do you struggle to accept compliments and praise?
Do you ever wonder why people think you’ve got it together?
Do you ever wonder how you’ve managed to build a business around the rag-tag skills you’ve amassed over the years?
Do you feel you’re still winging it?
Are you terrified people will learn the truth?
If so, you might be suffering from The Imposter Syndrome. If you are, then I bet you can’t even tell your closest friends you feel like a fake. You’re probably feeling isolated and trapped by this guilty secret of yours, but, guess what?
You Are Not Alone
It’s more common than you think.
Feeling like an imposter in your own life isn’t just an entrepreneurial problem. It’s a universal people problem.
Having said that, in Australia we have a cultural disease called the ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’. Yep, us happy-go-lucky Aussies can turn ugly if someone gets too big for their boots. We’ll try to cut them down, any way we can. So it’s in our cultural DNA to downplay our successes (unless it’s sport-related).
The problem with downplaying our successes is that it can seep deep into our psyche, and go straight to that part of our brain that controls all our doubts and fears. It feeds that self-doubt and the faker feelings grow, to the point you start to believe whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re achieving, isn’t all that special; that you don’t deserve praise, or money, or accolades. And every time you DO get praise, money or accolades, you feel worse.
This is a seriously shitty cycle to be in, but…
There Is a Way Out
Right now, you might feel like an imposter in your family life, your business, or your creative endeavours but there is a way out. There is a way to free yourself from the shackles of fear and insecurity. You don’t have to stay small, and, there is a way to be truly proud about your accomplishments… without being an arrogant dick.
Here’s Five Ways to Overcome The Imposter Syndrome.
- Grit Your Teeth And Accept The PraiseIf someone says something nice about you, smile and thank them. Do not, under any circumstances, brush them off. A brush off is a signal to them and to yourself that you don’t deserve it. It’s also a little offensive to the praise giver because you’re basically telling them that they have poor judgement. Accept the praise and maybe, just maybe, it will start to sink into that dunderhead of yours. 🙂
- Embrace The Pay Day Earning your first big cheque as an entrepreneur is an amazing day, but it can be full of mixed emotions. You don’t always feel worthy of the zeroes on that cheque. But here’s the thing, if people want to give you money, it’s not because you tricked them. They are giving you the money because they see it as a fair exchange for the value you give them. Money is one way of being thanked. So accept the money graciously, with zero guilt, because you definitely earned it. Oh and next time, up your charge rate 10% because you’re probably too cheap!
- Put Your Self-Doubt In PerspectiveA little self-doubt is normal. And you’ll never get rid of it completely, but you can sidestep it. Whenever you’re feeling the doubt, recognise it, look at it, accept it as a temporary feeling, and then put it on a shelf in the back of your mind and get on with life. It doesn’t have to rule your life if you don’t want it to.
- Understand Everyone Else Is (Probably) Winging it TooAs far as I know, life doesn’t come with a manual. Nor is there a map to running your business (unless you bought a franchise). Every day is new territory for you, but it’s also new territory for your competitors, for your clients… for everybody. Guess what that means? You’re all on the same playing field. They aren’t any better than you. Don’t assume anyone has it more together than you do, because it’s rarely true.
- Mix With Winners, Not LosersYou know who the sad sacks are in your life. You know the negative nellies. You know the poisonous ones too. You don’t need them. Life’s hard enough when you’re fighting to feel good about yourself. So be selective and only surround yourself with positive people and go getters, people who are already travelling on the road to success. That could be people in your mastermind groups or your friends and family. People with a positive mindset will help you stay on the path of confident self-worth.
And Here’s A Bonus Tip – Start A Brag Book
We can so easily forget all the good work we’ve done. So if you suffer from self-doubt and self-worth issues start a brag book. Inside you place all your best work, your great testimonials, all your accomplishments and milestones, basically all the good stuff. It’s documented proof to yourself when you’re having doubts. Let your brag book be your shield against your fears of not being good enough.
Do you struggle with fears of being an imposter? Or have you finally overcome it?
I’d love to know in the comments below.