As agents we feel compelled to be what our clients expect us to be. We lose who we are in the process and fail to show our authentic selves. We also forget to give ourselves credit and celebrate the victories.
We fall into something labelled the “imposter syndrome.”
What is imposter syndrome?
As Time notes, impostor syndrome is “the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications.”
First identified by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978, approximately 70 percent of people from all walks of life experience it at some point, according to an International Journal of Behavioral Science review article.
It might manifest as:
- Lack of self-confidence
- Feeling inadequate
- Comparing yourself to others and feeling inferior
- Second-guessing yourself
- Not believing in yourself
- Dwelling on failures
- Disregarding achievements and attributing them to luck
At one time or another, we have all had some of these feelings. It’s important to recognize them. In fact, it’s the primary way the Time article experts suggest overcoming it.
We must discuss these feelings, especially not owning and celebrating your accomplishments, to overcome them. We write things off to luck to take the pressure away from achieving the results next time. We even feel that we don’t deserve the success.
Here are some ways to overcome these thoughts and own them until you make it.
1. Embrace the person you are
Build up your confidence by preparing to succeed. Knowledge builds confidence. When something works, improve it, and add that to your toolbox for next time.
2. See the value in yourself
Remind yourself that you are bringing something important to the table. You have something of value to offer in each situation. Present that value.
3. Remind yourself of past successes
Close your eyes, and recall that time that everything worked out exactly as you had planned. Use that energy to build you up. Don’t be afraid to fail.
4. Stop second-guessing yourself
When we lack knowledge or information, it’s easy to have doubts or lack confidence. Know your subject well. Research your subject, and be prepared. Seek advice if needed. Walk into any situation armed with knowledge.
5. Visualize things working out exactly the way you expect
Listen to a song or a podcast, read a quote, or speak to someone who inspires you and motivates you before entering your presentation or meeting. Change your mental state. Think about something that made you happy and truly content. Now walk in with those feelings, and feed off that energy.
6. Do not dwell on failures
Think of them as learning opportunities. Be grateful for the lessons and knowledge you gained.
When you don’t know something or find yourself losing your audience, winging it or faking it is not the answer. Show your realness. People relate to genuine people. Even if you failed in one situation, you have earned respect for owning it, and more importantly, you remained true to yourself.
Be kind to yourself. It’s OK to fail, and it’s OK to lose. All of this is part of our journey. Most of all remember to celebrate your success, big or small.
Luck might play a role, but you are the integral component. Even more important than “mindset” is your “heartset.” Don’t overthink it! You are sure to thrive when you come from a genuine place.