When Sheryl Sandberg talked about the “impostor syndrome” in Lean In, she brought into mainstream discourse a condition most of us have experienced even if we didn’t previously have a name for it.
In the last 5 years since Sandberg’s book, there have been hundreds of articles, books, podcasts, training programs, etc. discussing the prevalence of high achieving women (and men) who worry that they are not deserving of the opportunities they have been afforded – and that at any moment they might be “found out” and declared frauds.
The word impostor means, “a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others.” And the truth is most if not all of us are guilty of this.
Most of us DO NOT want anyone knowing how we talk to ourselves when only we are listening.
We go to great ends to perform a version of ourselves that DOES NOT allow our clients, companies, communities and so forth know that we can second-guess our abilities. That we worry we are not worthy of our successes.
Most women’s leadership experts say that women suffer disproportionately higher from the imposter syndrome—although communication expert and TED speaker Amy Cuddy’s research presented in her book, Presence, suggests men suffer just as acutely as women.
What I know for sure is that the problem is not the impostor syndrome itself—rather it’s our tendency to delude ourselves into thinking we are the only one experiencing it. Equally, it’s our not knowing how to recover when it strikes us that’s so damaging individually and societally.
The imposter syndrome is killing too many great leaders’ potential!
When we suffer with a case of imposter syndrome and don’t address it productively, it starts to metastasize and infect our ability to make decisions, take calculated risks, rise in the wake of setbacks, emotionally connect with others and drive innovation.
The most selfless and socially conscious thing we can do when we feel ourselves coming down with or relapsing into impostor-like stories, beliefs or thoughts is to a) diagnose what is going on, b) remind ourselves that like the common cold this is something we all suffer from and c) get the training and support we need to get back on track and play to our edge.
I definitely don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I’ve contracted imposter syndrome. Fortunately, it runs its course MUCH faster these days. It usually hits when I’m about to launch a new program, when I’ve just inked a sexy speaking or training opportunity or when I’m relishing in a success and become seduced into thinking I’ve just peaked.
Coaching and training I’ve received that has shown me how to create a nutritious mindset, robust community of fellow high achievers and world changers, and how to unhook my identity from my work – while still pursuing and achieving big speaking and thought goals has been invaluable.
It’s rare to be able to find mentors and programs who/that are masterful at leading people through equally rigorous and effective inner work, business and speaking development.
THIS MONDAY I’M OPENING APPLICATIONS FOR A NEW PROGRAM I’VE CREATED, THE SPOTLIGHT SPEAKERS COLLECTIVE, THAT DOES EXACTLY THIS.
Designed for entrepreneurs and change agents who want to use speaking to create massive profit and impact, the 10-month program (fusing individual speaker coaching, intimate and customized group training and masterminding, live and practical MasterTreat weekends, and heaps more I’ll be sharing over the coming weeks) is holistic in design.
Meaning…I’ll be working with up to 10 women to cultivate and sustain the thinking, behaviors, relationships, resources and opportunities to do good, earn well and feel divine.
More profit. Less busywork.
More time for spirituality, self-care, self-growth and social impact.
Be sure to check your inbox this Monday, May 16th, for more details and a time-sensitive invitation to apply.
Until then, remember, we all are refining our performance of the best version of ourselves. And it’s through our day-to-day rehearsals that ultimately we are stage ready!