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Impostor Syndrome and Fear

02/17/20 | Dana LaRieal Morales

How many times have you allowed your fear of failure to hold you back from your purpose?  Often times we allow our lack of confidence to make us feel like we aren't good enough.  You feel like an Impostor playing the role of a entrepreneur.  Listen, Impostor Syndrome is a real thing and it is something that I want to talk about today.  I don't want you dimming your light because you are afraid of failure or looking like someone else.  Let's be real with ourselves and talk about what's really going on.  

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Impostor Syndrome

How to Conquer Impostor Syndrome

Today we are talking all about real-life situations. I want to talk about something that recently happened and I want to share my thoughts with you on the topic.  I'd also love to hear from you regarding your experiences and thoughts around this topic as well. 

A couple of weeks ago in "The Circle", I did our February Coaching Hour. During that coaching hour, I talked about superpowers. I was talking about how we all need to really hone into what our superpower is.  Just for the record, your superpower is basically your purpose, what you are put on this earth to do.

So I was talking about how we should all really hone into that and figure out what that thing is.  So we can allow that "superpower" to guide us through everything that we are doing in our lives.

The Moment When Impostor Syndrome Sets In

Then last night, I was listening to Oprah's 2020 Vision interview with Michelle Obama (sorry I misspoke and gave the wrong title in the episode). 

First, let me say, it was a fabulous conversation. You can get it on podcast or youtube depending on what is most convenient to you.  I definitely recommend you checking it out.

So during the conversation Oprah asked Michelle Obama what her superpower was and I was floored.  I was thinking wait a second, I just made that up!  How did she...?!?!?  

Seriously, when I came up with "superpowers" I was just thinking one day.  I was processing the fact that organizing and process really are my thing.  They are what I feel is special about me that allows me to help other people. So, in that moment I just called it my superpower off the top of my head and I shared it with you guys in "The Circle".  Well, to hear Oprah say the exact same phrase and then refer to it in the exact same way completely and totally floored me.  

Creating an Impostor Out of A Coincidence

Well the first thing I did, if I'm being honest is I laughed...REALLY hard.  I was like I can't believe Oprah is stealing stuff from me! 

After I stopped laughing and really got serious about it I began to think about you.  Would you let something like this completely stop everything that you are doing?  Would you immediately think of yourself as an impostor? For many of you, the answer is yes, you would.  

I know there are many people, who would completely abort their goals and plans if this were to happen to them.  They would immediately stop doing anything and everything that they were doing, thinking and feeling that they were an impostor. "I can't do that now because people are going to think that I stole this idea." 

Be honest right now, have you said this yourself or been in this situation?


Impostor Syndrome Makes You Second Guess Yourself

I see this happen all the time when people are thinking about doing something in their business or in their life and someone close to them or someone that they know has started doing "the thing" themselves.  You begin to question whether the other person is going to think you are copying them.  Or you think you can't do it now because they've already done it.   They beat you to the punch.

Listen guys, unless you are trying to get a copyright on a specific thing or someone beats you to filing a trademark with the federal government...Do You.  (Note: I'm not suggesting you blantantly go out and copy other people!)

Stop worrying about what other people are doing so much and focus on what you're doing. I am not the only organizer or process strategist in the world.  People are going to do similar types of work.  Business is business.  People are going to say or do some of the same things you're saying and doing, because it's good. 


The Problem with Comparisons

So let me give you an example. I have a Client who was feeling just that way in her business.  She came to me one day and said that there was another person who had the same type of business and she just started doing what my Client was wanting to do.  She informed me that she now felt funny doing it in hers because it would look like she was copying.  

My response was, so what.  Who cares if the other person is doing it in their business.  There are tons of people who do what she does every day.


Competitor, Ally or Both?

Ultimately, you can look or handle a situation like this in several ways.  First, you can look at the other person's business process as an example.  You can learn what is going well with their way of doing it and what is not.  You can try to make adjustments or tweaks to your plan based on what you learn from your competitors.  We do this all the time it's called market and competitor research.

You could also choose to talk with that individual and ask them if they would be willing to share some lessons learned with you because you were planning to do a similar thing in your business. Some business owners will be willing to sit down with you and have that conversation and some will not.  Regardless of their response, don't feel slighted if they don't want to share information.  Ultimately, you are their competition and some people don't want to help you. 

Other business owners will look at you as an ally.  Ultimately, seeing you as somebody else who finally understands what they are going through.  They may want to get together to talk and in many cases that's how collaborations are born.  It's all about mutual support to them. I support you and you support me and Kumbaya we can have a moment.

You Are Your Own Worst Enemy

The key that I'm trying to get across to you is that you are your biggest worst enemy. We tend to stop things because of our fear and because of our impostor syndrome. 

You are a bully to yourself with your thoughts.  "I shouldn't be teaching this course, what do I know about this?", "XYZ person has this course and they are so successful. Mine isn't going to go very well."

Well here's the deal.  You can't and shouldn't think of it that way.  Instead you can analyze the situation and determine what they have done that you haven't done.  Are you putting in the necessary work to make it successful or are you wanting instant success.  

There's no way for you to know what somebody is doing in comparison to what you are doing.  All you can do is look at your playing field and figure out how to play your game.

An Impostor Syndrome Lesson Using Football

Okay y'all know me by now.  I throw out all these crazy analogies that make no sense.  For some reason football came into my head again. I'm thinking about all the different NFL teams in the league. They all have the same number of players and they all are running the ball to the goal.  

It is the same for each player and each team. The main difference is how they run their plays and the the physical and mental ability of their players.  That's the only difference. 

Players get swapped from team to team all the time, so they know the Playbook and the team dynamic.  So the thing that makes one team better than another is the teamwork.  It's the way everyone works together and synergizes.  It's the coaching and the players physicality and mental aptitude on game day.  There are so many variables that fall into play to make a team great.

Develop Your Business Playbook

The same thing happens with your business. There are so many variables that come into play to identify your business as a successful business. So stop worrying about what Susie Jane did that was similar to yours and vice versa.  You are going to have to play your own game. 

You need to look at your business independent of anybody else.  Ask yourself, "What is it that I need to do? How do I accomplish what I'm trying to do? Did I define the requirements for my business? What is my purpose? Do I have S.M.A.R.T goals?" Then just dig your heels in and get to work.

 Once you've done that, when you run across a situation like I did were something that I have been putting out into the universe was actually repeated by somebody else.  You will realize that they just had the same idea or if they picked it up and ran with it, it doesn't really matter. That to me is a compliment and a sign that I am on the right track.  I am teaching people appropriately the information that I am trying to relay.

Realize that ideas can be tweaked and they come to others just like they come to you.  Ultimately, use it as a sign that you are on the right track and stop worrying. Take it as a sign that you aren't leading people down the wrong road.