Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Jun 19, 2019

Imposter syndrome.

I could hardly wait to get there. I had been dreaming about it for months. Brandon surprised me with a hotel stay at a gorgeous spot in Dallas in celebration of our 13th anniversary. But I wasn't thinking about the hotel. I was much too wound up to even want to relax. The car was filled to the brim with signs, clothes, hangers, furniture, pictures, tables and chairs. Everything we needed to decorate our new showroom at the Dallas Market Center.

"1 hour. I promise that's all we'll spend, and then off to celebrate!"

One hour turned into 5. I could have stayed the night in the showroom. I was in my element! But I knew Brandon was looking forward to getting away with me, so I pretended I wanted to stop.

As the first market dates approached I could hardly contain myself! Then, the day finally arrived..

I walked into the market center feeling as if everyone was staring at me. Judging me. I didn't belong there. I hadn't done my time. I wasn't deserving. I wasn't worthy. I wasn't good enough. I didn't know the lingo, or any of the things I should know. I felt as if there was this secret and exclusive club and I wasn't invited.

THAT'S imposter syndrome. I felt as if I was a fraud. A fake. That I somehow didn't belong.

The essence of imposter syndrome is the fear that people are going to find us out. So we feel like we need to present ourselves in a different way to help hide the truth. We undervalue ourselves and our abilities in context with the situation or people we're surrounded with.

But the truth? The truth is that WE are the ones in our way. WE are the ones who are stopping ourselves and WE are the ones saying that we're not worthy.

When we're confident in who we are and in what we're trying to accomplish, we don't waste time worrying about what someone else is doing or what someone else is thinking about us.

We only have a finite amount of time, energy and resources. When we spend so much of it consumed in our fears and our questions and our self deprecating and diminishing thoughts, we paralyze ourselves from making true progress.

We have to believe that we are capable of more. We have to believe that we are worthy of more in order to tackle "more" with any degree of impact.

Our mindset needs to empower us, not cut us down to size.

We are really good at this as parents. Our kids have big scary dreams and we encourage them all day long. If they fall short of those dreams, we tell them how incredible their efforts were and we point out just how far they've come. We recognize the growth and learning they achieved and share with them a clear perspective.

Do we offer ourselves the same perspective?

I cannot use failure to reach my goal as validation for my feeling unworthy to achieve them. I refuse to validate my fears or my negative self deprecating thoughts. Instead, I will give a name and a reason to the underperformance along with a solution. 

For example: If I have a goal for my first million dollar month and at the end of the first month after speaking that goal, I've only done $600,000 I'm going to identify WHY I didn't make it to $1 million. "We didn't get enough traffic to the site to sustain $1 million with our average checkout conversion rate." Ok so now what? We can fix that a number of ways..

  1. We can improve our conversion rate through implementing a sense of urgency.
  2. We can increase our average purchase value through up-sells and cross-sells.
  3. We can increase traffic by increasing our ad spent on the channels that are working best.
  4. We can diversify where we're reaching our audience onto other channels.
  5. We can increase our organic reach efforts through email, text message, our APP, social media posts...

The list goes on! And THIS? This is ACTIONABLE! "I'm not good enough" accomplishes nothing.

It's not a personal problem that I manipulate into some distorted reflection of myself, but rather it becomes an issue in context which I can create a plan to overcome. If you give something context and take the emotion out of it, you can tackle it head on and put together a plan. We need to take imposter syndrome out of the equation and be able to look with unemotional, unbiased eyes. Take the disappointment out and look at it objectively. Look at the problem. Identify and give a name to the problem. Once you do you can clearly start to break down the solution and put together a plan to make the outcome better next week or next month or next year.

Impostor syndrome is a byproduct of ego. And when our ego dictates the choices we make, we almost always end up regretting them. So take your company and take yourself and separate them. Because when you tie your worthiness to your goals directly or to your company directly, you will be on that roller coaster of affirmation that's going to leave you wanting to get off every single time. Business has its ups and downs. We cannot tie our personal sense of worthiness or our personal sense of accomplishment to an ever changing variable.

Plan it. Don't personalize it.

One of the biggest ways that imposter syndrome rears it's ugly head is within the realms of social media. When you show up and put yourself out there in a way that is not comfortable for you, where you feel incredibly vulnerable, it's really easy to need the validation of other people. To need the likes, comments, and feedback.

When I get feedback, it means the world to me! I love to hear the stories. I love to see the reviews. I love to hear that my efforts are making a difference in helping to inspire someone to step into their fullest potential and to conquer the life of their dreams. BUT, I also need to be confident that I don't need it. I need to be believing enough in my vision and in my purpose that even if nobody ever says a word, if the sound of crickets is all I hear to break the silence, I am so confident in what I am doing that I can propel myself forward.

Engagement is not bad! But wanting it and needing it are two very different things. Do you want it because you want to be fully engaged with your community to serve them better or do you need it to validate your purpose because you don't fully believe in it yourself?

Whatever your situation, where you are right now in all of its reality and all of its imperfections will resonate more than any cookie cutter version of yourself ever could.

It will never be immediate. It will never be perfect. You are going to fall down flat, and when you do, you can't be so focused on your embarrassment of struggling to get back up that you end up choosing not to. You can get up! But that's a choice you have to make, and the quicker you choose to do it the quicker you will learn, and you grow, and you will move on, progress, reach your goals and even exceed those goals.


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