In today’s digitally connected world, it has never been easier to create, connect, and grow a community.
Whether it’s to find like-minded people, build a business, or just share your thoughts and ideas; all you need is a connection to the internet, a platform to share your content, and the willingness to hit, “Publish”.
So why do you struggle?
Working with clients, the refrain I hear regularly revolves around some form of Imposter Syndrome and the fear of being “found out.”
I helped them to overcome feelings of unworthiness by using 5 simple strategies and I’m here to do the same for you.
Get Out of Your Head and Come from Your H.E.A.R.T
Quite simply, Imposter Syndrome stems from being more concerned with how you look instead of how you can help. You’re listening to your ego rather than your heart.
This pops up is in numerous ways;
- Perfectionism and the voice that tells you you’re not good enough
- Endless editing of content
- Staring at a black screen, not knowing what to say
- Dozens, dare I say hundreds, of drafts. Very few, if any, actually are published
The cycle becomes a vicious emotional roller-coaster.
It can be dizzying, the emotional highs and excitement of wanting to share something that you feel is important followed by the scary plunge of thinking you’re not good enough.
Fearing and feeling the pain of rejection believing no one cares about what you have to say in the first place.
The HEART formula is simple and once it becomes a habit. You will forever say goodbye to Imposter Syndrome.
- Help those behind you
- Every day do something to learn, grow, and share
- Assist others by being of service
- Remember your own ignorance, passion, and excitement when you were getting started
- Team up with other like-minded people
Don’t Try to be The Expert, Instead be a Sensei
Imposter Syndrome stems from the expectation that to have something to say, you need to be an expert.
This error in thinking puts you on a see-saw going up and down.
Sometimes you’re feeling up and on top when people know less about a topic than you do, but then you can come crashing down when you meet someone who knows more than you.
How about this, instead of the see-saw up-down dichotomy of being or not being The Expert, think of being somewhere amidst a long line of people? Some ahead of you, and some behind you.
[On a side note, I think of this every time I finish a ride on my Peloton exercise bike and see my ranking on the leaderboard. There are those riders who are in better shape than me and who are ahead of me in the rankings. Then, there are those people alongside and behind me who, like me, are working hard to get into better shape. Reach out to connect and do some PZP rides, #WTF_Chuck.]
When you hear the Japanese word, sensei, what images go through your head?
Or maybe, from one of my favorite silly martial art films, Sho’nuff from The Last Dragon.
But I digress.
The kanji word for sensei is made of the two kana characters that mean “born before.”
A sensei literally is someone who is on the path of training before someone else. It has been glamorized in Western society as a teacher, expert, or master but that is not entirely accurate.
Instead of the see-saw or roller-coaster, picture a long line of people and somewhere in the middle, there you are. The people ahead of you in the line started on the path before you and those behind you started after you.
Granted the standings in the line are not static. Some people devote more time and energy to learn and grow, jumping ahead of others, while others, due to their life situation, pause or stop their learning and “fall” behind.
Before the internet and the digital community, this line consisted of only the people in your local geographic area, whether that was your school, town, or state. But now with social media, websites, and forums, the line can literally span the globe.
When there is something you want to share and you’re afraid to speak up or hit publish, focus on the people behind you in line. Those who know less than you and who would be very grateful for the help that you can offer.
HELP those behind you.
“Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life’s hard” — John Bytheway
Do you notice that the things you do occasionally, or rarely, seem to stand out bigger and brighter than the everyday mundane activities?
It’s a mechanism in our brain that the familiar loses significance while the new, novel, and different stands out and grabs our attention and gets greater scrutiny.
What if each and every day, you took a few minutes out of your day to learn something and shared it?
It could be something as simple as a snippet, a summary of the latest book, or an article you’re reading.
The funny thing about sharing small things, they inevitably lead to big things when done consistently.
Have you heard of the 1% Compounding Effect?
It is one of the reasons why Einstein called compounding interest the 8th wonder of the modern world.
The principle behind the 1% Compounding Effect is that if you do just a little bit every day consistently, you will reap huge rewards. The progress would compound to be so great that you would literally be 37 times better than you were a year earlier.
Here’s an example, for many people, doing a pull-up is a difficult exercise to do. For some, it’s is almost impossible to do even one. Using the principle of the compounding effect, you would be working to improve yourself by only 1% each day, which means you would be doing your best to do 1 pull-up for 41 days. Over one month!
After those 41 days, you would then progress to working on doing 2 pull-ups, that portion of effort would occupy your time for 52 days! So for the first 3 months of the year-long exercise program, you’ve only done 2 pull-ups.
For the third pull-up, that would take another 33 days, spending a whole month just doing 3 pull-ups.
But something amazing happens after the 4th month, you’ve now developed the habit as well as the small muscle strength of the ligaments and tendons to start increasing the pace of your training.
5 pull-ups by day 153.
6 at 173 days.
7 at 190 days; half the year, and you’re only at 7 pull-ups!
But keep at it and 175 days later you will be at 37 pull-ups in one set!
That’s the power of the 1% Compounding Effect and it will have the same impact as you consistently learn and share your ideas, opinions, and content.
Can you imagine yourself sharing content each day for a year?
In the beginning, it might be a simple blurb on social media. But over time and with more confidence and comfort, you could begin sharing short and eventually long-form articles that allow you to highlight your expertise.
I Don’t Care How Much You Know Until I Know How Much You Care
Maybe the simplest and easiest way to overcome Imposter Syndrome is to just be helpful.
Find people who have a problem that you can help with and do your best to help them overcome their problem.
It takes the focus off of you and on to how you’re making other people’s lives easier, better, and happier.
Doing this one simple step will hijack the brain in the best possible way. It will get you out of the ego and instead focus on being helpful and of service to others.
At the very least, you can remember what it was like for you a few years ago or when you were first getting started.
What did you wish you knew then that you know now? Would have it made the journey easier?
It’s not about being an expert or master, it’s simply sharing the process and steps that you went through to get to where you are now. And what’s ahead for you as you continue making progress.
The wonderful thing about this strategy is that you are not only seen as a valuable resource to those you help, you are also seen as an individual to connect with by other people because you are someone who is genuinely helpful.
Everybody likes having kind and helpful people in their circle and social network.
Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People
Frank Shamrock, one of the pioneers of mixed-martial competition and one of the first UFC champions, had a very specific way of training his students.
He called it +/-/= (plus, minus, equal) where each student would consistently train with students that were further ahead of him (+), those junior to him (-), and his peer group (=).
In this way, each student would get a more complete picture of their ability, where their weaknesses still lay, and what expertise they were developing and honing.
The senior students would be able to inspire and excite the student for how much there was to still learn and develop. The junior students would highlight how far the student has come and the capabilities that he has already acquired. And with his peers, the student would be able to test, hone, and perfect skill sets.
In this context, a student is neither up nor down, expert nor beginner, capable or not. The student is in a diverse, ever-changing environment where everybody is growing, learning, and helping one another.
What is your area of expertise?
Who are the leaders in that field? Which social media channels, websites, or forums are they making a presence?
Where else are people who share your interest congregating? Both in-person and digitally?
How can you become more involved in these communities?
How can you take advantage of these communities, learning from those who know more, sharing what you are learning with those who know less, and debating and discussing your ideas with your peers?
Imposter Syndrome is a symptom of focusing on how you look instead of how can you help and once you make the shift, it will disappear forever.
Come from your heart, not just your head.
- Help those who know less than you
- Do something every day to learn, grow, and share.
- Come from a place of service and helpfulness.
- Remember how hard it was when you got started and help your “younger self”
- Be part of a team where the rising tide raises all ships.