Every end of the month is usually a perfect time for reflection and future planning. During this time I like to advise my clients to look back on their past actions. And from there, start claiming new opportunities through expansion. That's ideally the case but it doesn't always go as smoothly. In this article, I’ll share with you how to overcome imposter syndrome in leadership.
There’s an invisible force that keeps showing up for most - if not all - leaders. It's an invisible phenomenon that chooses no time and no one. Worse, it stops you from claiming what could accomplish as a leader.
It's called the imposter syndrome. And it’s worse on leaders and people in high status. Aside from that, it can get especially difficult during unprecedented times like these.
Even the most confident, successful, and experienced business owners go through it plenty of times. Take my experience for example. Sometimes I still feel like a fraud who just got lucky. I worry that I can't live up to people's expectations and frankly, it can get quite terrifying. Ever experienced it?
Over the years of going through this thing, I've learned to accept and love the experience. When you're under this unpleasant feeling of anxiety and despair it can only be a sign that you're about to step out of your comfort zone to achieve greater things.
In other words, it's a sign of the immense growth you're about to experience. All you have to do is get through it.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in Leadership
Overcoming it is easier said than done but that's why I have these tips that can help you correct those unhelpful thoughts that are clouding up your head:
1. Recognize Where The Doubts Are Coming From
The first step is to ask yourself, "Why am I thinking this thought?" and then keep digging for the real reason. Keep asking yourself the question until you find the root of the thought. It will often stem from something you might be subconsciously avoiding or delaying. So take your time and dig deep.
Most of the time, once you identify where the thought is coming from, you’ll be able to think of solutions to address it. You’re often bogged down by your emotions because it keeps playing in your mind. It’s unnatural for people to pinpoint the cause of their emotion. That’s the reason why recognizing where your doubts are coming from is so powerful.
2. Acknowledge Your Own Talents And Strengths
You're not lucky. You're smart and hardworking and you earned the skills your internal and external clients value so much. And you are capable of great things and you already have all the tools you need inside you to succeed. After all, you have the knowledge, experience, expertise, education, and talent. Use them at your disposal.
It’s easy for people who are smart to feel like they’re an imposter. They either feel like what they do is easy for all people and everyone else can do it. Or they feel like they’re just extremely lucky to be given opportunities.
In reality, luck alone doesn’t get things done. It’s your competence that helped you achieve what you have right now. Sure, luck may have opened the door. But you were the one who worked hard for it and delivered results, that’s why you’re a leader.
3. Review Your Accomplishments
Sometimes you forget just how far you've come. You also need to remind yourself of what you've been through to see just what you're capable of. This is a powerful activity that can help you be more confident to conquer new fields. Make sure to include the things you've achieved for your clients as well.
If you’ve done something once, then you can consider yourself lucky. But doing it twice or more and getting results, that’s the result of your smarts. Reminding yourself of what you’ve achieved thus far helps stop undermining your results. It helps you build your confidence, too!
4. Accept New Challenges
Don't say no just because you've never done it before. This is the perfect opportunity to get unstuck and get your gears going. Richard Branson, the founder of the Billion Dollar empire, Virgin companies once said:
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”
There was a time when your previous accomplishments were things you’ve never done before. By reviewing your previous achievements, it will boost your confidence to open yourself up to new opportunities.
5. Get Validation From The Right Source
When it feels too overwhelming a good way to counter it is by having the right source of validation. It has to come from someone you trust and from someone who can talk you out of your doubts. Someone like a mentor, coach, partner, or even a mastermind group.
For me, the best source of my validation comes from God. My confidence not only in my leadership, but in everything I do, comes from him. It wasn’t easy developing such an extraordinary confidence that can’t be taken away by my circumstances. But anchoring my confidence in God helps me overcome imposter syndrome in leadership.
Final Thoughts On Overcoming Imposter Syndrome In Leadership
The imposter syndrome often comes from our deepest fears and insecurities, that’s why it can be hard to face them. But follow these steps and surround yourself with the right people and you should be able to snap out of it. Soon, you’ll be back into your usual productive self.