You’ve probably heard of Imposter Syndrome. It’s a well-known phenomenon that gets talked about a lot. You might think you suffer from it – and you’re not alone.
One of the best-loved actors in America, Tom Hanks told the audience of podcast Fresh Air in 2016, "No matter what we've done, there comes a point where you think, 'How did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?'"
Ryan Reynolds once told Men’s Health that “you get into the tux and try and look like a grown-up. But, to be honest, I still feel like a freckle-faced kid, faking it until I make it.”
And if they can feel it, it’s no wonder many of the rest of us feel the impact of Imposter Syndrome from time to time.
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Imposter Syndrome and the fear of comparison
What is this Imposter Syndrome and where does it come from?
Well, it’s partly a ‘safety feature’ built into our natural human responses. We’re programmed to stay safe and survive. As a business owner you are in a position of responsibility and trust, and it’s threatening to think that you might not be as good as you’ve claimed.
It’s also partly cultural conditioning. In our society we are told not to show off. Don’t brag and boast. No one likes a smart arse.
There are many reasons for Imposter Syndrome – but there is often one particular cause that underlies it all.
The fear of comparison.
- Am I as good as other providers?
- Do they have more experience than me?
- Do they have a bigger audience than me?
Do you compare yourself to others and find yourself lacking?
We are often told by marketeers that we should look at our competitors to see what they are doing. This naturally means that we are setting ourselves up in comparison to them.
When you are offering your services the most important question is not whether you are better or worse than someone else; it’s whether you can be and are useful and helpful to your client.
Consider what happens if you believe you are not useful to your clients. You’ll suffer from self-doubt – and you’ll charge less. To make your monthly target you’ll need to persuade more people to work with you, which means you’ll need to work more.
The solution to Imposter Syndrome
Okay – it might not be the entire solution. But, here’re some sure-fire actions you can take that will start you feeling less like an imposter in your own business.
- Shift your focus to your client or your audience, rather than on yourself. Think about helping them – because they have a need for your help.
Helping someone else is ‘outward energy’ and not about being good enough. You’re just – helping them.
- Acknowledge that you ‘know some stuff’ that’s useful to them.
Do you need to know everything? Of course not. No one does. But what you do know is something that is helpful to them.
Are you the expert in your field?
Are you the expert in your field? Honestly, there are very few people in this world who would be regarded as the foremost expert in anything. Even world-renowned scientists like Stephen Hawking were regarded as influential, creative, brilliant – but not the only expert in their field.
Do other people know more than you – or are better than you – or more experienced that you?
Of course. But you don’t have to be the biggest, the best or the most experienced to be able to help people who need your help. You just need to be able to help them.
Overcoming self-doubt is a work in progress
A client said to me recently “overcoming this self-doubt will be a life-long process”.
If the solution to self-doubt is to believe I’m better than someone else, then there’ll always be someone else we can find who’s ahead of us! So yes, it’ll be a lifelong process.
But that’s a different game – and one we don’t need to play.
What you need to do right now is stop comparing yourself to other’s Just acknowledge that you ‘know some stuff that’s useful’. Then – focus on being useful to that client you want to help. That doesn’t mean you’ll win every client. They might decide to get help elsewhere – and that’s their choice. But there are always other people with a problem that you can help with.
And when you do this – you’ll find this releases the brakes! You’ll overcome your internal resistance and move into positive action. And that means higher earnings.
Not after weeks, months or years … but literally overnight.
If you want help with this, we know some stuff that’ll help. Get in touch today.