If you’re at all familiar with psychology, you’ve probably heard the term ‘imposter syndrome’. If you haven’t, here’s a quick definition: a pervasive feeling of self-doubt, insecurity, or fraudulence despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Imposter syndrome is quite common in the entrepreneurial sphere, especially as you begin building your business. You may have attacks of low self-confidence and thoughts of “Why would anyone listen to me?” or “No one will trust me with their money or investments”, even if you have a proven track record of client success. If you don’t take steps to overcome your imposter syndrome and feelings of inadequacy, it can easily spiral into more and more negative thinking and eventually kill your career. Do you struggle with imposter syndrome and are ready to do something about it? Here are three pieces of advice that can help.
Realize You’re in Good Company
Did you know that, before every concert, super star singer Adele has to go backstage and throw up because she feels so unqualified entertaining an auditorium full of fans? That’s right, even Adele, arguably the greatest voice of our time, has imposter syndrome. When you realize that even the very top professionals, athletes, and entertainers in the world suffer from the same feelings of inadequacy, it often helps to ease your own anxiety. The thing about imposter syndrome is that it’s based on a ‘story’ you’re telling yourself and not on facts. The story is woven from past failures, perceived criticism, and a lot of other negativity that has little to no basis in reality. It can happen to anyone in any position, no matter how successful or talented you might be.
Shift Your Mindset
When it comes to imposter syndrome, your biggest ally (or your worst enemy) is your own thoughts. It’s absolutely critical that you focus only on your past successes, positive things others have said about you, and your own rock-solid belief that you are good enough. If you let yourself start thinking about the negatives or past mistakes (which of course we all have), you can easily spiral into a mindset that will set the stage for failure. Tell yourself you can do it and that even if you make a mistake or fail, you will be gaining knowledge and learning lessons that will help you do better the next time. This growth mindset will help you roll with any punches that may occur along the way and help you get back up if (and when) you’re knocked down.
Take a Leap of Faith
If you let imposter syndrome take hold, you’ll find yourself procrastinating on important tasks, avoiding steps to take your business to the next level, and generally making the type of mistakes that lead to business failure. At the end of the day, the only way to really break out of this limiting mindset is to take a leap of faith and do whatever it is your scared of. Go to that networking event. Write that blog post. Call up that big potential client. It doesn’t matter if you feel prepared because when do any of us feel fully prepared to do anything? Sometimes, you just need to take that step to prove to yourself that you can and each time you do so, you’re weakening that voice that tells you you can’t.
As independent financial advisors, we must believe in ourselves and in our ability to be mentors and fiduciaries to our clients. It’s normal to have doubts and insecurities, but when these blossom into imposter syndrome, we must take steps to overcome or it could spell the end of our business. If you’d like chat more about what could be holding back your success, please reach out so we can talk more!