If I’m being honest, this shirt cracks me up. One thing I have had a hard time embracing is the term boss, and I definitely don’t think of myself as a babe. But this company offered it to me at a discount and with an affiliate code, so I thought why not? However, wearing this shirt has me feeling a certain way.
Have you heard the term, Imposter Syndrome? It is a term used by entrepreneurs. It is loosely defined as “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.” It is when someone asks, “can you come speak about how to start your own business?” and you respond (whether spoken or not) with “what the heck do I know about that?” It is when you clearly have had success. You must, then, know something about something. However, you still feel like you are just making it up and fooling everyone around you.
Yes,I felt like this for a long time. Then I started getting to know people who were running successful businesses. I quickly realized I was surrounded by a large group of people who were all “just faking it.” Of course, people are not faking it, but entrepreneurship comes without an obvious playbook. There are experts that are in essence also entrepreneurs, selling their expert services, but we are all in this conglomerate of people that are making new roads for which maps do not exist. We don’t know what we are doing, but yet we do it. Then someone wants you to tell others how you are doing it and boom, you feel exposed as an Imposter.
Sound familiar? I hear this a lot. This is what I’ve done to overcome this syndrome. This was accomplished using three tools.
First, share that struggle with someone! When people started coming to me, talking about this Imposter idea, I was elated to know I was not alone. To find out this is a common inner struggle shared with fellow entrepreneurs…. I mean, everyone wants to feel normal, right?
Second, I sought out resources. Two of the resources that have been instrumental in embracing my special powers are John Maxwell’s “Law of Influence: Laws of Leadership, and the law itself. The Law doesn’t teach you how to have influence, but rather how to use the influence you already have at your disposal. You do have knowledge in areas others don’t, you do have connections and networks, and resources that others do not. Acknowledging this allows you to come out from being an Imposter and come into being someone with value to those around you.
Lastly, being a student of who I was created to be. I’ve spent endless hours discovering my strengths (Strength Finder 2.0, Personality Plus, etc.) and acknowledging my weaknesses (just poll your employees or family members if you’re unsure…yikes). Most recently, I’ve fallen in love with the Enneagram.
The Enneagram Institute was created in 1997 by the late Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson. It was formed to further research and development of the Enneagram, one of the most powerful and insightful tools for understanding ourselves and others. At its core, the Enneagram helps us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge.
I’ve come to understand this Imposter Syndrome is greatly shared by Enneagram Type 3. It was interesting, and literally freeing, to find out this Syndrome is characteristically shared by certain Enneagram Types.
If you haven’t explored the Enneagram, it is life-changing! I am, in fact, a 3 (with a 4 wing and a social subtype for all you ennea-nerds out there). There are so many great resources to explore in the form of books, podcasts, blogs, etc.
I want to hear from all of you Imposters out there! Do you know where I’m coming from? What has helped you feel comfortable in your own skin when it comes to being an expert in your field?
By, Stacy Orndorff