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imposter syndrome

How to Leverage Imposter Syndrome for Growth


Sasha Lewis

October 23, 2023

When imposter syndrome arises, as it does for almost all entrepreneurs at some time or another, it can rattle your self-confidence, self-worth and passion for what you do. That self-deprecating voice in your head starts to feed you lies and and preys on your insecurities instigating feelings of incapability and lack of talent and skill. 

If you are a high-achieving individual, you are more likely to be affected by imposter syndrome. As a high-achieving entrepreneur, you are more likely to see more success and that success is usually derived from being strategic, success-driven, self-aware, devoted and analytical. While these factors all create this magic recipe for accomplishments, the analytical element is the one that drives a lot of this psychological circumstance forward. 

Being an analytical entrepreneur is an amazing quality, but it comes with being a perfectionist. That need for perfectionism is a blessing and a curse that will feed into imposter syndrome. 

As a perfectionist, you immediately zone in on any flaw, mistake or mishap and instead of being able to look at the 99.9% that is successful, you harp on the 0.1% that may not be perfect and ultimately see failure. Everything is very black and white and the 0.1% becomes an internal dialogue of lack of competency, lack of ability and lack of worth.

Sounds almost impossible to utilize imposter syndrome for personal development but it’s possible and will save you a lot of time spiraling into the abyss of inadequacy and negativity. 

Identify the Triggers Immediately

A large part of overcoming imposter syndrome is reframing and rewiring your mind. In order to do this, you need to identify the trigger the moment it happens. Maybe you got a critique, maybe you missed a mistake, regardless of what happened, we need to locate the trigger so we can understand the feelings that came about after. 

When you identify the trigger, you slow down your thoughts to give yourself time to understand if your thought is valid and justified or if there is a deep seated insecurity that hasn’t been addressed and worked through. 

Keep a notebook of your triggers and start to find the patterns. This will help you reframe your thought process to avoid these feelings. 

Become More Aware

If you are a high-achiever, you likely are very self-aware of your shortcomings and capabilities, or lack-there-of. Instead of focusing on the negatives, we need to focus on the positives. 

After you have identified your triggers, you need to rationally uncover the insecurity and how the negative self-talk is a lie. It’s a self-defense mechanism. 

So, instead of just acknowledging the trigger and moving through it, rewire your brain immediately through making a list of your accomplishments, successes, and your skills and talents. 

For instance, you get a critique on your work. Instead of acknowledging the critique as what it is, an opportunity for better communication, you take it personally and let it dictate your ability to perform. 

In order to use this as a moment to rewire the brain, we need to locate the trigger: the critique felt personal instead of subjective. 

Now, since it felt personal, we can outline it as: there was a lack of communication to allow for the project to be delivered as desired. As a capable entrepreneur, you are able to make the correction to better please the client and make an adjustment to your process to require better communication at the top of a job. 

Seems more justified than immediately spiraling into lack of ability, lack of skill, and lack of talent, right? 

Operate as a Detective

Turn imposter syndrome into a game. If you are feeling some type of way, start to find the solution instead of immediately shutting down. 

If you are feeling like you are unable to meet a clients’ desires, what can you outsource to complete the project and move on?

If you are feeling like you don’t have an adequate amount of knowledge to successfully pitch to a new client, who can you reach out to in order to get added value?

If you are feeling like you can’t grow your business because it is requiring you to work outside your zone of genius, who or what can you invest in to get the education you need? 

The insecurities that arise when imposter syndrome surfaces are merely little lights highlighting areas that need some tender loving care. It is not indicative of your ability to be successful, nor is it indicative of your worthiness of that success. It is merely an opportunity for growth. 

Become obsessed with finding the clues to what areas your psyche is wanting to develop further and learn to love being a student again.

Create a Daily Routine for Gratitude

Adding more structure with mindfulness and gratitude at the root of your routine will give you less time to dwell on the negativity that arises within. 

The goal in life is to become unshakable. To be so committed to self, that we no longer seek validation, acceptance or worth from outside opinion. 

To do this, creating a daily routine that includes meditation, journaling about small wins, things you are grateful for and also setting smart goals will allow you to stay in a winning mindset. You will be so focused on what is going right and the areas in which you have hit your accomplishments, that you won’t have time or room to then dive into the part of your psyche trying to keep you shielded from the outside world. 

Take time out each day, or even multiple times if needed, to write down what you are grateful for, what you are proud of, and what you have accomplished for the day. This will keep your mind looking for wins instead of losses. 

Like anything in life, imposter syndrome is just another facet of self-improvement and self-growth. It is an opportunity to become soft and to relinquish control. It is an opportunity to calm your nervous system to no longer operate in fight or flight mode. 

By focusing on your mindset you ultimately focus on your legacy and that is where your intentions should be. 

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