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The Imposter in Imposter Syndrome

I had a good friend and fellow entrepreneur ask me the other day, “have you ever had imposter syndrome when things started taking off business-wise?” His business has been stepping up in such amazing ways these past few months, finally getting recognized on a bigger scale. Funny enough, he seemed to think it all came out of the blue, forgetting that it's been 5 years of hard work and determination to make it happen.

My answer to his question was that EVERYONE has imposter syndrome at some point or another. When we're taking on new things or stepping up on a new level, it's totally normal to think to ourselves..."uhhhh, I don't really know what I'm doing!" And even if we've been working hard towards something and we finally get it, we often question if we're worthy or skilled enough to pull it off, much like my friend. We dismiss our years of experience that have led to this point where all the hard work we've put in is finally showing a high ROI.

As defined by Wikipedia, imposter syndrome is, "a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.”

Doubt and fear. Two things that every single person on the face of this planet feels regardless of who they are and how successful they’ve become. If that’s true though, why do some people move ahead towards their goals despite those feelings, while others subconsciously sabotage themselves instead?

It comes down to 3 things:

1. Confidence. Believing that you can get through whatever comes your way. That even if you end up failing, you know it'll just add to your experience and make you stronger on the other side. Everything is viewed as something you can persevere through because you have confidence in your ability to persevere through all obstacles and challenges.

2. Desire for success being greater than fear of failure. It doesn’t mean the fear isn’t there, it’s just worth taking the risk because of the benefits you stand to gain if you succeed.

3. Mindset shift to focus on your wins. The whole “imposter” notion is that you’re not good enough and doubt your skills, how far you’ve come or what you have to offer. If you focus on giving 100% in everything you do, that’s way more empowering than wasting your energy ruminating over your perceived shortfalls.

Chances are, you won’t always feel like an imposter, but the fact that there’s an actual syndrome named after it tells you just how many people go through it! You are not alone! Remember though...

Fear is an illusion and doubt is a trap – both meant to hold you back. It’s your choice whether you let it hold you back, or whether you choose to acknowledge it & move forward anyway!

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