Imposter Syndrome

Frustrated laptop computer user, top view mock up copy space. Hands spread in disbelief and frustration.

Many years ago, Nelson Mandela was speaking to a hostile crowd. He spoke for hours, without notes, or cue cards and by the end of the discussion, Mandela had turned the room, and they were supportive of his movement to end Apartheid. Following the speech, Desmond Tutu, a dear friend of Mandela’s was interviewed by the press. Tutu was questioned on how Mandela could speak for so long without notes or a written speech. Desmond Tutu’s response was profound. He said that Nelson Mandela was completely congruent in what he said, thought and did. Mandela didn’t need notes to remember what to say, he was his message in every way possible. Nelson Mandela knew at the level of his DNA, how he was called to serve, who he was serving and why it mattered. Are you that congruent? Are you clear about who you are, what you have to offer and to whom you serve in your business?

Many Entrepreneurs deal with Imposter Syndrome which is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments or talents and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.  (Wikipedia) This syndrome can not only rob you of a lot of joy in your business, it can significantly impact your results. Perhaps you undercharge for your goods or services, or don’t ask for the sale, maybe you don’t market or promote your offerings for fear of being found out.

Valerie Young, PhD, a foremost expert on imposter syndrome, says there are actually five sub-types of impostor syndrome:

  • The Perfectionist: Someone who feels they need to do everything perfectly or else they’ve failed. If they aren’t perfect, they have an overwhelming feeling of self-doubt.
  • The Superhero: Someone who feels they’re a fraud, either at work or in a relationship, and so they work extra hard to hide their supposed inadequacy. Often, the overload in work or stress of not measuring up is damaging to their mental health.
  • The Natural Genius: Someone who judges their worth by how easily something comes to them. If they need to work to master a task or to make a friend, they feel ashamed.
  • The Soloist: Someone who feels that they need to do everything themselves. If they need to ask for help, they feel incompetent or weak.
  • The Expert: Someone who judges their worth by how much they know. They constantly feel as if they’re not smart enough, and fear being exposed as unknowledgeable.

The truth of the matter is that regardless of how this plays out in your life, Imposter Syndrome is all in your mind.  Some of the actions you can take to give up feeling like a fraud are; shifting your mindset through repeating positive affirmations, asking for feedback from friends and family, or hiring a coach to hold you accountable to how awesome you are, until you can see it for yourself. Whatever actions you take, know that you have something unique and valuable to offer your clients and customers and you likely started your business out of a desire to be of service and make a difference. Keeping present your commitment to be of service is a great way to continually take actions towards your goals, even if you experience fear and anxiety.

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Imposter Syndrome

Many years ago, Nelson Mandela was speaking to a hostile crowd. He spoke for hours, without notes, or cue cards and by the end of

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