01 Oct The Imposter Syndrome
Feel like you’re out of your league and faking it? So do most entrepreneurs.
No matter how many courses you take or how much time you’ve put into your career, at some point, you run into those times when you feel like you are a fake. That others can clearly see that you know less than them, that you aren’t the success or the expert or even the entrepreneur you claim to be.
Imposter syndrome. You’re not alone. Do a google search and you’ll see it’s a problem at least as old as internet time.
Recognizing it is the first step to finding your way out. Borrowing the idea of three circles to who we are from the book “The Energy of Money,” by Maria Nemeth, PhD., will help you find your authenticity.
Outer Circle: Who you pretend you are. This is who we show the outside world we are. I’m a successful entrepreneur who has a business that is on a high-growth trajectory as evidenced by my social media posts showing me at fancy client lunches and sitting on panels at the latest business conference.
Think of this as our Instagram self. That self that goes on the best vacations, is always having fun, handles hardships with a smile and get-back-up attitude.
Inner Circle: Who you are that you don’t like. This is the part of us we hide, from others, from ourselves. The shadow of our Instagram selves. The part of us that still hasn’t heard back from that client at the meeting or seen an uptick in business since our time on the panel. It’s the side of us that maybe isn’t good at listening, that doesn’t always get along well with others, that doesn’t know how to negotiate well, etc.
We don’t post pictures of this self, we rarely share this self.
Innermost Circle: Who you really are. Who we really are is vulnerable and imperfect. It’s the part of us that lives in the gray area of life.
I have broken through barriers with my business, but I’m still learning how to negotiate deals and connect to the ideal clients that will take it to the next level…My idea is good, but I haven’t yet learned how to translate it to others who might actually benefit from it.
It takes a certain level of self awareness to know this self, let alone share it with others. But this is also where our authenticity lies. These are the types of Instagram posts that are so relatable, people not only respond, but they feel connected.
When we’re in imposter syndrome, we’re living in that outer circle and rejecting that second circle.
We can begin to step out of first and second circle by recognizing when we’re feeling fake, or like we’re not enough. Sometimes, the trick is simply acknowledging our humanity, that everyone feels this way at some point.
After you’ve taken that first step, ask yourself what you have learned. Sharing what you have learned is a simple way to share our real selves without oversharing our insecurities.
Being part of a group like EO can help you connect to this real self and learn how to share it with larger audiences. In EO, we have a process in our Forum which we call “Gestalt”. We don’t share our ideas or unsolicited feedback – we share our experiences (all the things we’ve learned). It’s a much more effective way to connect within a group of type A entrepreneurs who don’t like being told what to do!
We also share the top 5% and the bottom 5% of things that have happened for our businesses. This helps us connect to both the struggles of being an entrepreneur without forgetting the good things that also come with being an entrepreneur.
It connects us to our real selves, it allows us to connect with others without having to know it all or have lives that look perfect.