September 9th, I had the pleasure of speaking at the hashtag#Face of the CEO” workshop that was organized by Infinite People & Culture Solutions on the topic “Imposter Syndrome”.
This was an interesting opportunity, as it is something I have struggled with in the past. The brief from the event convener Eve Mutio, was to authentically share my experiences and offer insights on how to overcome imposter syndrome.
So here is a brief summary of some of the things I shared.
What is imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome happens when you feel inadequate, are not good enough or feel like a fraud. This can be caused by a variety of reasons such as a) lack of preparedness, b) lack of competency/knowledge, c) feeling out of depth or feeling inferior due to comparison.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”Eleanor Roosevelt
So how do you overcome imposter syndrome?
1. Know and own yourself- Self-awareness is the greatest skill that you can master as it empowers you with knowledge of who you are, what you are good at, the motivations fuelling your goals and what your areas of weaknesses are. When you know and own yourself in totality, you will rarely feel the need to compare but will be focused on building your goals.
2. Build your capacities: The world is evolving, and we must be agile enough to build our competencies in ways that provide value to the market. Each of us has 24 hours, assume we sleep for eight and work for eight, how we spend the other eight is what sets us apart. So, it is imperative that even in the business of life, we are deliberate about being available to seek knowledge and sharpen our saws.
3. Actively seeking feedback and mentorship: The bible says that “Iron sharpens Iron”. Every great leader is the sum of what they “produce.” Production is a process that requires one to identify a goal and implement a plan of execution. Consequently, those who are keen to seek feedback and engage with mentors are more likely to enrich their work and grow creatively
Finally, none of us is perfect and as such, we must acknowledge that there are areas we shall continue to struggle in. Here is a formula that one can use to effectively manage their weaknesses:
1. Build capacity- Invest in acquiring the knowledge or skills that you need.
2. Manage- Find ways to manage your emotions, by understanding your triggers and how to avoid or overcome them.
3. Outsource- If you can’t master a skill, outsource it. Focusing on your strengths will enable you to do more, faster and with ease.
So here is something to remember every time you feel like a fraud, or you are not good enough: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt