Most of the people I have spoken to in business have, at some point, had this belief that they aren’t worthy of something – including myself. It doesn’t matter what that something is, it always creeps up on you.
This is how I define “imposter syndrome”, and we all encounter it at various points in our lives.
I have been running a successful business now for over 20 years in one format or another, but I still have my own beliefs about what I am capable of and what is possible, even though so many of the goals I have set in my life have come true.
Feeling worthy of your successes
If I look back on my life, I’m in a very different place from where I was 15–20 years ago, and I’ve got so much to be thankful for, but there’s still always that internal struggle of whether I deserve it, and why me?
I remember how my life changed with one phone call that opened up the door to achieve a very serious goal I had set.
I had slowly been working my way up my income goals to the point where I was aiming for £500,000 when I got a call from my current network offering me a huge opportunity to join a round of different providers. One of the new providers offered me a deal that made me sit up and take notice!
After doing the maths, I realised that I would easily hit that £500,000 if I accepted their proposal. Now, at this stage, my imposter syndrome could have kicked in big-time, telling me things like:
“Who the hell do you think you are to get a deal like this?”
“What makes you think you deserve this?”
“This is too big for you right now.”
“You aren’t ready for it.”
But I decided to shrug off the voices, and I ended up hitting that figure not once but twice on either side of Christmas 2019!
Starting off with baby steps
Now, the important thing to note here is that, as I mentioned earlier, I had been working my way up to this figure over a long period of time.
That’s how you can deal with the imposter syndrome when it creeps up and starts to nag at you.
If I had jumped straight in with a goal of £500,000 when I was only making £30,000, my brain would have agreed with every single one of those statements above! As a result, nothing would have happened.
You’ve got to build up your strength and your mindset to help you feel like you are capable and deserving of what you get, for the most part.
Expect your imposter syndrome to show up
The important thing to know about imposter syndrome is that it is very common, so you need to expect it to happen and, if you need to, get someone to help you with it. Sometimes we get stuck in the middle of everything and can’t really see the wood for the trees, so it can be really helpful to have someone come in and give you a new perspective and a bit of a mental reset.
This perspective is also useful because we often don’t even know our imposter syndrome is kicking in and taking over our thoughts and decisions. It’s a natural response to a lot of things that may be outside of our comfort zone, so we tell ourselves things like:
“That can’t happen to someone like me.”
“I can’t become wealthy, it’s only for the lucky few.”
“I can’t do that now, it’s not the right time for me.”
In order to spot the imposter syndrome before it fully takes over, we need to start by reframing the way we think.
Reframing your mind
We need to start with the mindset that anything is possible if you really want it. We all have something called Unique Ability®, which Dan Sullivan has developed at Strategic Coach®.
It’s a method of finding out what you are really good at and what you enjoy most, and it allows us to accomplish some truly amazing things when we live our lives around this Unique Ability®.
This is your starting point to believing that anything is possible.
Think about the thing you really love to do that you are good at and that doesn’t feel like work. Simply put, that is your Unique Ability®.
Vocalising your thoughts
Once you have worked out what your Unique Ability® is, the next step is to start verbalising those negative thought patterns that tell you that you can’t do something. Take a moment to really think about your thinking, and ask yourself if these thoughts are going to take you forward or not. If not, then you can address them before they start to dictate your actions.
A simple way to eliminate these negative thinking patterns is to highlight any sentence with the word “can’t” and lose the apostrophe and the “t”. Change the “can’t” into “can”, and you will start off on the right track to dealing with anything your imposter syndrome throws at you.
So remember, imposter syndrome is something we all face in our lives and, unfortunately, it never really leaves you. It just mutates into something different as you set bigger and bigger goals.
The key is knowing when it’s there so you can identify and deal with it before it fully takes over and makes you run back to the safe zone.
If you’re keen to learn more about goal setting, seizing on opportunities or just getting the most out of life, I’d love to hear from you.
You can also learn how other people have achieved their goals by tuning in to my weekly podcast Goals Do Come True.
Or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.