I’m excited to share a very powerful weapon we all have available to beat imposter syndrome.
If you’re new here, Hi. 🙂 I’m LB. We try to do regular installments on beating the widespread disease I define as an ugly underlying and persistent belief that I don’t own nor deserve my own success.
Screw ups? You BET I own those, but the good stuff was probably luck…
Yeah, well, that’s just B.S!
This corner is devoted to small tactical tips we can put into place instantly (and consistently) to make strides against this limiting belief. Today’s tip? Well, it’s a doozy.
The powerful weapon that literally starves imposter syndrome? Authenticity.
How? By getting real. Authenticity is about pulling off a mask and being real about our faults, our fears, AND our fabulous strengths. When I quit trying to ACT like I’m awesome, I spend less time deflecting the awesome compliments I collect. In other words, when it’s fake, it’s easy to not really own the success. Get me?
My favorite definition of authenticity (a #GirlsClub watchword) is, “Authenticity requires a certain measure of vulnerability, transparency, and integrity” (Janet Louise Stevenson). Boom. I’m real. I’m honest. I let you in. I own it. Let’s look at authenticity in action.
Let’s say I’m a brand new sales leader doing my very first call coaching. I bluster and boast my way through it, and it goes well! I will probably have trouble really patting myself on the back afterward. Instead of authenticity, I used “Fake it till you make it” and although I came out unscathed, I didn’t come out improved or particularly proud. I felt like an imposter.
But if I admit I’m a little nervous (even if it’s just to myself) and I, therefore, do a bit more prep on my COACHN Model, give myself time to refer to my notes during the meeting, and maybe even ask for some feedback from my rep at the end, I’m being very authentic with my newness. I’m going to feel prouder about what I accomplished, and I’ll probably even believe it should I receive any positive feedback.
We can more easily internalize positive messages when it’s the “real me” who earns it.
So, where are you being less than authentic? Think about times you fake it, you bluster, you procrastinate, hide, or boast.
I faked experience & confidence by wearing reading glasses in my 20’s.
I hide from my mother-in-law because I think she’s judging how I parent and I’m failing.
I put off writing new training courses where I feel my personal sales skills aren’t as sharp.
So find a spot where you’re a little uncomfortable. And sit in it for a beat. Pick a nice chair, grab a nice notebook, pour a nice drink, listen to some nice music and be nice to yourself about your true measure of skill and comfort in this area. Where do you fall short? What can you do about it? What strengths do you have? How can you close a gap? Be real and then be nice to yourself about it. Decide how you can show up more authentically next time. Who would it be safe to be a little vulnerable with about this?
Simply writing it down is admitting it to yourself, and THAT ladies & gents is enough light and authenticity to break a shame spiral and make some massive progress. Take 20 minutes. It’s worth it.
My very proudest accomplishments and areas of most growth in this #GirlsClub confidence journey of mine are the ones where I thought I might fail and ADMITTED IT OUT LOUD. Don’t rob your future self of this wonderful moment by keeping a fear, fault, or challenge hidden. Frankly, it feels so good to have improved and “won” in these areas that I’m not sure if I’ve even gotten compliments from others. The praise I give myself is so much more powerful than the external gratification, and none of it feels fake or like I’m an imposter. Admit fear. Do the work. Praise the progress. Enjoy the pride. Authenticity starves imposter syndrome.
Here’s an example. That class I put off? It was on closing skills. I’ve never felt like I was great at it (that’s a confidence skill, am I right?) and it’s been a hole in my Factor 8 curriculum for years. FINALLY, when I said out loud to the content team that I was nervous about it, I felt better about tackling it. I didn’t have to hide anymore, I actually felt motivated to do some research.
A month later it’s one of my very favorite classes. I just wrapped a webinar with 2 incredible companies (and proud #GirlsClub sponsors), Gong and Proposify, about closing (check it out here). In other words, I went from being a closing skills imposter to feeling like I could hang with two of the biggest names in the business about this skill in under 2 months. It all started by admitting my fear out loud.
And just like that, my confidence grew just a little more.
Enjoy the journey.
P.S. When you find the skills you feel could use a sharper edge, Factor 8 would love to help! Take a peek at our Virtual Sales Training Masterclass offerings, they just might be the thing to help you break through that imposter feeling!