Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

At 20:80e we’re big believers in knowing your own worth… 

We encourage everyone that works with us to be confident and consistent with how they value themselves. To be confident and consistent about how they add value to others, too.  

The trouble with this though, is that it’s a hell of a lot easier said than done.  

The dreaded ‘imposter syndrome’ can be a factor in the lives of all of us from one time to another, with business owners regularly experiencing the doubt and uncertainty that come with it.  

Imposter syndrome is that feeling that lurks in the back of your mind, the one that makes you question whether you’re really worth what you say you’re worth.  

The feeling that leaves you wondering whether you’re actually as good at what you do as you like to think you are.  

You’ve probably encountered this feeling several times... 

In fact, you’ve probably been in meetings with a room full of people who are all feeling the same sense of ‘being an imposter’ as you are.  

Chances are that none of them are actually true imposters, by the way... 

We’re not talking about blagging it here 

‘Blagging it’ is another thing entirely, and we all have to blag it every now and then.  

Being a true imposter involves lacking the experience and the skills necessary, to be able to provide the service that you’re supposed to provide.  

That isn’t you.  

The fact that you doubt yourself from time to time could actually be a sign that you’re anything but an imposter.  

Firstly, having these feelings shows that you’re human. You don’t have to be a ‘show off’ to be confident. 

It also signals that you are humble, something that will take you a long way in the world of business.  

To be humble is to accept the opinions and advice of others, for the benefit of your own personal and professional development.  

Accepting advice and opinions is a strength.  

You’re here listening to this, aren’t you?  

Mike CannonBrookes, the Australian billionaire, founder and co-CEO of Atlassian, admits to still going to work and feeling like he doesn’t know what he’s doing 

In his recent TED talk he tells us to embrace imposter syndrome for the good stuff that comes with it. 

Another good thing that imposter syndrome can lead to is learning.  

And then more learning.  

A commitment to lifelong learning shows that you’re not satisfied with settling. You’re not content with stagnation or playing it safe.  

It could be that this learning is sparked by feeling like an imposter. You want to stay ahead of the game and feel like a master in your field.  

If learning is a side effect of imposter syndrome, is it all that bad? 

Listen, we’d be lying if we said that imposter syndrome was all good.  

We know that feeling self-assured and quietly confident would be the way forward in a perfect world.  

But this isn’t a perfect world.  

Use imposter syndrome as a motivation. Let it push you forward and if you’re the type of person that likes to prove people wrong, go ahead and prove yourself wrong!  

Imagine imposter syndrome as a little devil on your shoulder.  

Whenever it appears, telling you that you’re not good enough, that you’re not worthy of the success you’re striving for, grit your teeth, pull your socks up and dust it off by proving it wrong.  

Knowing your worth can be empowering, but it isn’t easy and it doesn’t always come quickly.  

Speaking to someone with experience in your line of work could help, but at 20:80e we would urge caution when considering a ‘one size fits all’ approach.  

There are so many things to consider when working out what you’re worth… 

How much do you need to be secure?  

How much do you need to be comfortable?  

How much do you need to be more than comfortable?  

So many people focus on achieving just what they need to be secure, that they’ll work themselves into the ground to make ends meet. They undervalue themselves to the detriment of their business and to the detriment of their lives away from the business.  

Again, we’re not advocating arrogance here, and we’re not telling you to whack another zero on the end of that invoice either. Overvaluing your worth can be a big mistake too, but it’s not what we’re addressing here.  

We need to build our inner confidence to be able to build better businesses, and that’s exactly what we do. 

Building inner confidence is virtually impossible when we undersell ourselves, and we undersell ourselves by allowing imposter syndrome to lead the narrative.  

So, don’t try and ignore imposter syndrome altogether, it’ll only creep back in at a later date.  

Instead, see it as something that can help your development.  

An anchor, a motivation to learn and a devil on your shoulder to prove wrong.  

Cannon-Brookes thinks that if you’re not even occasionally confronted with imposter syndrome, you’re probably operating well within your comfort zone. One thing about the comfort zone – it’s rarely a place of innovation or great success. 

We could bombard you with captions like ‘think outside of the box’, or, ‘if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you’, but instead, we’d just ask you to do the following… 

When you’re next blighted by imposter syndrome, simply think of this blog and remember what we’ve talked about.  

You’re worth exactly what you believe you’re worth.  

So, you might as well start believing you’re worth a hell of a lot.