“Why would anyone listen to what I have to say?” she asked me during one of our sessions. I couldn’t believe my ears! As a new business owner, my client hadn’t yet achieved the outward success she wanted, even though she appeared strong and accomplished on the outside.
I get it, this has happened to me before too. Sadly, I’ve heard the following doubtful questions numerous times from my clients when it comes to their business, speaking engagements, promotions, awards, etc.:
- “Why would anyone listen to me?”
- “Am I ready for that?”
- “Why do I deserve this?”
Last weekend at a women’s leadership panel, I brought up “Imposter Syndrome”—which is feeling inadequate, undeserving and/or unqualified despite evident success. This rang true for many in the audience. One woman shared that she understood feeling like an imposter when she recently won an award and during her acceptance speech, she admitted she didn’t believe she had done anything great or groundbreaking to deserve the award.
I’ve seen this scenario play out with even my most successful clients. One client was part of a women’s empowerment event and happened to be the most distinguished speaker there by far. Rather than share tips on how she became successful, she came armed with tons of statistics she thought the audience wanted to hear. Although a few stats are certainly helpful, the audience (including me!) really CRAVED to hear more of her inspiring success story.
So how can you banish imposter syndrome forever? When most afraid, this trick has worked well with myself and with my clients—be proactive! Here are 3 ways you can proactively step up and position yourself as a leader instead of dimming your light:
- Ask to speak at an upcoming industry event – even if you think you aren’t qualified/credible enough to speak. When you DO get accepted as a speaker, graciously accept it.
- Apply for an Award/Nomination – even if you think you aren’t qualified/worthy to win. When you DO win, graciously accept it.
- Pitch an Article or expert media quote – even if you think you aren’t qualified/“expert” enough. When you DO get published, graciously accept it.
And here’s one more special bonus tip:
4. BONUS: Share your story – even if you think you have nothing to offer or no one will care. BE a leader by example, and authenticity and vulnerability are all part of being a true leader. Chances are that someone WILL be inspired by your personal story and how far you’ve come no matter where you are now.
When in doubt, be and do it anyway! And it should go without saying that when friends, colleagues and clients express their own “imposter” symptoms, that we empower them to apply for that position/talk/award anyway.
Have you ever felt like an “imposter?” What is one thing you can do today to proactively step up as the leader you are?
If you need extra help breaking through the fears and saboteurs holding you back or developing your story/identity, sign up for a complimentary Strategy Session (valued at $350) to help you create a clear vision, discover obstacles in your way and feel more energized in your journey.