Imposter Syndrome isn’t just some new fad word of the year. It’s a real thing. A real shitty thing. And whether you are conscious of it or not, it can be completely destructive to your progress, success, and personal happiness.
As a part of my mission to help heart-centered badass women to up-level their success, when I have opportunities to share my real-life feet on the street learnings with you, I’m going to show up and do that. So… today, I literally started my day curled up in a self-pity ball of tears and left-over smooshy hair (short-haired ladies will understand)… but first… let me tell you how I got here, and then, let me tell you what you can do if you find yourself here too. I spent a LOT of energy during my first two years in business feeling frustrated and disappointed with myself and my “lack of progress.” I had my head down, I stayed heart-centered and focused on helping people, but no matter how much I was giving and doing, I was constantly aware of all that WAS NOT yet done. Of all that I was NOT accomplishing.
I saw other entrepreneurs who appeared to be making it so much further and more quickly than me, and I questioned why I wasn’t there yet. I had the vision for the life and business I wanted, but I hadn’t achieved it yet, and that left me in a state of frustration. Imposter syndrome reflects a belief (conscious or unconscious) that you are inadequate, or a failure, despite evidence that indicates that you are skilled and are successful. Many definitions of imposter syndrome describe someone feeling like a fraud, and that their accomplishments are a result of “luck.” While this particular statement never fit for me, I have not been immune to imposter syndrome. About a year ago, I recognized it showing up in myself in ways that for a long time I didn’t realize were unhealthy and destructive… until I took time to go deep with it and figure it out. From mid-2017 to mid-2018, I came to recognize a false belief system in myself: That anything worth having had to come hard. Every effort. Every. Damn. Dollar. Had to be painful, had to be “hard work.” If it wasn’t hard, I wasn’t worthy of it. Nothing I ever did was good enough. I never felt good enough or that anything was good enough or that I was making enough progress because I was focused on what could’ve been done better/faster/bigger. Even though, I really did know better. I knew from a previous sales career and from having worked with many businesses on their marketing, that playing the long game always wins; that it’s the small progress along the way that is so valuable and IS good enough. I knew from my heart-centeredness that staying true to my mission and purpose is what truly, deeply matters; not how big my business can become or how fast I get there.
So I knew from numerous experiences that creating a strong foundation by laying one brick at a time, is a winning strategy and would be good enough…. but that knowledge and real-live proof doesn’t always prevent the disappointment or comparisons or imposter syndrome that creeps in from time to time… How often do we do this to ourselves, where we feel disappointed or frustrated by a so-called, lack of progress, where nothing is good enough? And so, over that period in 2017-2018, I went through an amazing transformational time of changing my story and rooting out my belief that I was only worthy of success if it came hard. I finally started charging what I knew my services were worth, and what I wanted to charge in order to meet the strategy I had laid out for my life. I looked deeply inward at what I desire to do in the world and what my purpose is. When I had my answer, I looked outward to see what my ideal clients are really struggling with. And I got my answer: it’s the feelings of overwhelm, self-doubt, and questioning if any real progress is even being made. These are the pains that come up for my people over and over again. Huh, go figure, the same stuff that I had to work through are the same challenges that my clients face. It’s not the pains about not enough clients or not enough revenue: yes, those are 100% real pain points, and they have to get resolved or you’ll be out of business; but I’m talking about the pain that still sits beneath, even AFTER you’re bringing in clients, even after you’ve increased your rates and even after you have solid revenue coming in.
It’s the pain of feeling like you still aren’t enough.
Like your progress still isn’t enough.
That’s when there is a deeply rooted false belief… or imposter syndrome. I invested time, focus, and energy rewiring my thought process and story around this. I used to believe that everything worth having, had to come hard. Thankfully, through a series of events, I became conscious of that nasty belief pattern, and I did the work to root it out and re-wire my thinking. And about 99% of the time, I live in my purpose, in my flow so that I can create and fulfill my mission while living a life of joy and fun. But, sometimes… I.S. catches you completely off guard…. The past few days I’ve been in San Diego for a thrilling experience in the Arch Angel Masters Mastermind. Three days of masterminding, idea sharing, and creating meaningful connection in a room full of 100 amazing, purpose-driven, seven and eight-figure entrepreneurs from around the world… successful people who share a passion for making an impact in the world…. It was incredible and fulfilling…. And, we discovered that even we as a community of successful entrepreneurs are not immune to imposter syndrome… in fact, we had a raw discussion about it. When the comment was made about how the more money you make doesn’t take I.S. away, a knowing and sarcastic laugh rippled throughout the room… because here’s the thing, becoming more successful doesn’t make a person any less immune to struggle or self-doubt… we all face it.. but, those who do the inner work and become equipped with strategies to face it head-on, rebound from it so much more quickly. So… it shouldn’t have been to my surprise that I woke up this morning to a feeling of shitty glumness that came over me, like a deep hazy fog… like wax smeared across a window… How was I going to pull myself out of bed? I just wrapped up Arch Angel Masters the night before and that very day was supposed to go over to Traffic & Conversions with literally THOUSANDS of people in attendance, to go watch speakers like Rachel Hollis, and Brendan Burchard, and mother-freakin Sir Richard Branson… And here I was, balled in a bundle of self-pity around all the things I “haven’t done well enough,” … all the things I’m “less than,” as compared to others… Even me, with as enlightened as I think I’ve become on this subject, every now and then, can be afflicted… I’ve learned, it doesn’t matter who you are, or how far you come: This can happen to EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. US. No matter where you are in your journey. The self-comparison, the frustration, the “am I good enough.”
We all inevitably face it. But, the key to being a total badass superstar and continuing on your path to massive impact + income, is knowing how to recognize it, and move through it, because imposter syndrome (or whatever you choose to call it) is destructive. And you sweetie, have a mission to fulfill so we need to keep you out of the chaos of your mind, and into the flow of creating your impact. And so, I spent my morning acknowledging what was there, I skipped a morning convention session and instead allowed myself space to work through it, and now I’m feeling better, and I wanted to share this raw truth with you so I’m sharing here exactly the strategies I used to get over the imposter head-junk game. As creators, givers, and healers: we can’t create from a state of frustration, we create from flow. And I want to help you learn how to stay in your flow so that you can create, and be fulfilled, and make your impact on the world. So, if you wake up one day, after the highest high, and find yourself looking out through the foggy lens of your mind that is telling you, you are not good enough, remember these 3 simple steps to find your way back to greater ease and flow:
Step 1: Breathe. Yes, just breathe in and out. 8 deep, slow breathes.
Then, give yourself space. Give yourself permission to be still. The breath pulls you back into your body, and out of your head. Sometimes, especially if you are coming out of an extended period of time, or intense experience with energy being exchanged with others, the best solution is to gently provide yourself some space, to be in your body and get your balance back. If you are an empath (which is likely; there’s a reason you were drawn here in the first place), you are very aware of the energetic and emotional rebounding period that occurs after being around others. And especially if you were just around 100+ amazing others, all in one room in a jam-packed non-stop 3-day emotional, spiritual, and physical experience. Offer yourself some time to be in-breath, and to come into your body, and out of your mind.
Step 2: Reflection Journaling: Revisiting your path.
When you reflect on your entrepreneurial journey, where does it begin for you? Does it start with childhood, and your personal development and looking back on all of who you are and how you’ve grown as a person? Or do you strictly look at the time you opened your business to now? For this Reflection Journaling exercise, you are going to do a look back for BOTH. YOU as the entrepreneur and your BUSINESS results. You can create them like a timeline chart(s) or make lists, whatever works for you. As you reflect back, note the key milestones year over year. Write them down on your chart/list. What big key learnings have happened along the way? What wins have you had? What revenues were achieved? What clients did you help to have success? What projects were particularly successful, or lead to the evolution of something greater? Note company growth, key hires, note losses, and invaluable learnings you acquired because of it. We often cannot see our progress in the moment… Or even when we look back over days or weeks… but, how about when you look back over months, years, or even decades? WOAH. The growth and success becomes so much clearer at that point. Each connection, each lesson, weaving together to tell the story of your one-of-a-kind life. Your one of a kind mission. When you question if you are good enough, or if you’ve accomplished enough, look back on your reflection journal and see the magnitude of how much you actually have grown, and how far you have come.
Step 3: Lean Into Your Purpose
When you’re unexpectedly thrown off track, and find yourself feeling cruddy, in a foggy haze… allow your heart to bring you back to center. Remember your purpose, your mission. Why do you do what you do anyway? Likely, it’s to help others or contribute to society in some way. And if it does involve people, you only need to have an effect on one single person to make a difference. Allow your mission to recenter your heart and mind. Focus on helping just one single person. Focus on taking one single action that moves you forward in your mission. For me, there is a particular client that comes to mind, and when I think about the progress that she has made and how it’s positively impacting her life, it brings joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. I have made a difference for her. Alternatively, if you don’t yet know your mission, you can reflect on your values. What do you value and why? How do you live those values? How can you lean into them even further, allowing the comfort of that guiding force to center you and guide you forward? Imposter syndrome is just a false belief that tells us we aren’t good enough. And you know, it’s silly when you think about it, and pare it down to the question: good enough by whose standards? Who sets the rules anyway? (hint hint, we set these rules for ourselves, which also means, we can un-set the rules for ourselves) We are each here to walk our individual paths and to make our own impacts on the world. So, when you find that you’re unnecessarily comparing yourself to others, just know that you aren’t alone, and also know that you can choose to shift out of that place. Even the “top” of the “top” in your field experience this. Think about who you look up to…. got that person? Guess what, even they experience this from time to time. So don’t feel crappy about it. Instead, offer yourself pause. Offer yourself peace. You don’t have to eat the whole cake at once, just one bite at a time. Even though the whole cake might look good… it could leave you feeling worse… One step forward. One person, one day, one impact at a time. And now, since I’m feeling better, I’m off to see Richard Branson speak. Have I accomplished what he has with his multiple billion-dollar industries? Err no. But did I just help you with this message? Maybe! And right now, that’s enough for me! If so, please do let me know 🙂 P.S. Shout out to Laura Belgray whose workshop I did make it to this morning. If you don’t know Laura, she is the ever-hilarious writer over at The Talking Shrimp. So, after managing to crawl out of bed, I made it over to T & C to catch her talk where she reminded us to just be real with our audiences, speak directly to you, and do it regularly. She inspired me to head back to my room, and get it out there. I’m being real, and I’m talking to you, babe. With love.
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