You’re Not Alone Battling Imposter Syndrome

Jake Thompson, speaker

You’re Not Alone Battling Imposter Syndrome

I originally sat down and wrote this to you about two hours before I took the stage for 350 insurance industry leaders at a conference in Nebraska. Odd time to write an article, right?

Then Covid-19 hit the nation and changed everything, so I decided to shelf this post. I had planned to keep it in the drafts until I received a few messages from some of you about not feeling qualified enough to start *that* project. It was the perfect reminder of the one thing high-achievers all face:

Feeling like you’re about to be “found out” and kicked out.

Here’s a moment of transparency for me that I wanted you to know what I mentally deal with prior to a keynote presentation.

I had given that specific keynote presentation at least thirty times in the last two years. I actually got this specific gig because someone saw me give this talk in October and referred me to the client. It’s my second most popular talk, which means I should be 100% confident in it, right?

I wasn’t.

You see, every time I’m preparing to speak I face imposter syndrome. Yes, even a few years into this business I hear the whispers that say “you don’t belong.” I spent this morning rehearsing my gig for the 20th time in the past few weeks. I know my content. I know I’ve practiced. I know I’m ready – but that still doesn’t stop the voices.

  • What if my content isn’t actually that good and I’m a fraud?
  • What if this is the audience that doesn’t laugh at any of your jokes?
  • What if…what if…what if…

That (evil little) voice will try to convince you that you don’t belong. Here’s the thing – every single high achiever hears that voice.

They just refuse to let that voice stop them.

Imposter syndrome isn’t common among people who settle. The ones who are content to keep things “as is” don’t hear it, nor do those who give a crap effort.

It’s only people who are stepping outside of their comfort zone to try and do something bigger or new that hear it. Which means that every time you hear the voice of Imposter Syndrome it should signal to you that YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT PATH.

That voice’s appearance means you’re growing.

Right now, many of you have more time on your hands than you’re used to. You keep toying with that idea of starting a blog, building a side hustle, or even just using this time to step up and encourage others with videos or short posts. But then you stop.

You hear the whispers that “other people are more qualified to do it, so why would anyone want to hear from you” and you listen to them. So you do nothing.

You let the voices win when you do nothing, but in reality, they’re wrong.

The sound of that voice should remind you that you’re preparing to step outside of your comfort zone – and to embrace this moment as the chance to get better.

Average people would hear that voice and let it talk them out of doing anything of value. Competitors hear that voice, acknowledge they’re on the right path, and then get to work.

When I hear that voice, I immediately:

  • Start my positive self-talk (audibly).
  • Remind myself of the intentional rehearsal work I’ve put in for hours for this. I know I’m ready.
  • Control my breathing.
  • Talk back to that voice. I remind it that I’ve done this talk before and when I step on the stage, it’s my opportunity to help others and improve my work.

If I can remind myself that I’m prepared for the moment and that the talk isn’t actually about how good I look (but how much can I help the audience), that voice tends to shut itself up.

It’ll work the same for you, too.

More than anything, right now this world needs people to step up and use their voice. We need more encouragement, more helping hands, and more art/business/music/things created. We need imposter syndromes silenced so leaders – leaders just like you – can step up and lead.

Don’t let the voice of Imposter Syndrome stop you. Let it signal that you’re on the right path and then put your head down and get to work.

I’m cheering for you.

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