Whenever a big and bold opportunity came along that I was mildly interested in, the internal voice would kick in. This is how it sounded.
"Who do you think you are?"
"What will they think?"
I don't know where the self doubt came from but I do know that for the first 50 years of my life, I would give in to that internal message. Now it no longer matters where it came from - what matters is what I do about it.
Putting myself out there as a business owner was tough; claiming the space of business coach who could help entrepreneurs to fast-track revenue took a lot of courage. Understanding what I was up against was key.
Imposter syndrome can derail the most talented person.
They say it inflicts more than 70% of people and an even higher percentage when it comes to women. I was so miserable living a hard life that I decided to do something about it. Imposter syndrome was not going to keep me from building the life I dreamed of. Does this resonate with you?
Are you picking up what I'm laying down? Do you dream of a big dream but fall short of achieving that dream? That was my story.
I can't tell you what imposter syndrome looks like in your life but I can tell you what it looked like in me. It looked like perfectionism and people pleasing. People pleasing caused me to sabotage opportunities and to let people take advantage of me. It cost me thousands in lost revenue in the early days because I couldn't charge what I was worth.
These voices of insecurity came from within me. No one was telling me to play small. I was telling myself.
I was building a business where I was teaching people with amazing skills how to over-come shit. There was an urgent and pressing need that I over-come my own shit. So I took the bull by the horns and looked imposter syndrome in the eye.
Honestly, I can track the events where I rolled up my sleeves and tackled that imposter. For example, I was once invited to provide a quote for a Lunch and Learn. I did the market research and found out what others in my industry were charging for that type of gig. I knew my content was as good as their content. I felt that I was worth it.
As soon as I thought about pricing my services at that rate the voices started. "Who do you think you are?" So I quickly erased the price from the quote and I quoted them....25% higher and I got the gig.
I felt this overwhelming need to affirm my value by charging market value for my services. I haven't looked back. I still experience insecurity on occasion, but I don't let it stop me anymore. Someone contacted me after that Lunch and Learn and told me that he made an additional $6K as a result of what I shared that day. My content was worth it.
When I was young and I saw someone with self-confidence, I would automatically judge them, "Oh they're so arrogant!" because that's how we appease ourselves when we have low self esteem and when we're sabotaging success. Confidence is not arrogance - confidence knows what it does well and doesn't shy away from putting the right value on it.
Do you feel called to do the work you do? I know that I do - it isn't a little side hustle - it's my life's work. I help people create better lives by monetizing something that they do well and I come alongside to help them develop the confidence to understand their value and charge accordingly. I couldn't do this work if I didn't understand how tough it is to get through this.
If I had let the imposter win, I would have been miserable. Nipping it in the bud made all the difference in the world.
Sometimes when I'm tired or feeling down, I hear that voice - but it's more like a distant echo now. No more holding me back. I have work to do. I am no longer a perfectionist and I advocate for "DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT". I struggle with depression on occasion and I don't let that hold me back. But I do realize that when I'm feeling blue, I can feel more insecure about my work.
Here are my tips for those who are struggling with the demon in their business:
Call it out. Imposter syndrome is real for all of us. Once you know what it is then you can take away it's power over you. Acknowledge it. There are many days when I feel like an imposter but I still take on the task.
Stop sabotaging yourself. When those opportunities show up that cause you to feel uncertain and scared, take them on. You're in good company - successful people are afraid to try new things but they don't let it stop them. Don't sabotage your business by not charging what you're worth or not bidding on the job. Excuses be gone. You've got this!
Build the right team around you. Now when I am scared of an opportunity, my support system reminds me of the other times when I looked fear in the eye. Not only have I gotten rid of the internal voices, I don't associate with the people who are playing so small in their own lives that they want to bring anyone down who is doing well.
Are you going to let some bullshit internal voice control how far you take your business? Or are you going to call it out today and get out there and make it happen. The world is waiting for you.
Join us in June for our monthly Pan-Atlantic Network Event where we will be discussing self-sabotage.
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