HOW MIGHT YOU BE HOLDING YOURSELF BACK?
“Imposter syndrome” can render us useless. Reaching one goal, then another, then another and then a whisper “what are you doing here… you do not belong here?” Here is an example of how “Imposter Syndrome” can sabotage your path forward. I had finally convinced a venture capitalist—who happened to suggest I should design a product out of what we called the ‘wall of technology” (technology ideas outlined on a whiteboard-thus our wall)—to fund the development team and me. The first product I designed was one of the first web and email-server appliances to ever run on Linux. Our startup was founded nearly the same time that Red Hat Software was also becoming popular—but more on this later.
The venture capitalist had confidence I could figure out how to make a go of this very early stage startup. He had confidence I could lead the technology founder forward and that I could also get the company to revenue growth. I knew this from many conversations we’d had together. This was the early ‘90s when VC’s did not fund women especially women in tech. I felt incredibly fortunate. And you must also know, even though he encouraged me, believed in me, I still had to nearly choke him to get him to write a check!
Before he put pen to paper, he asked me one (killer) question, “Who will lead the company?” My answer (the KILLER ANSWER) “I don’t know! We will have to find a CEO.” Deep down, I knew he was asking me to step up yet I felt “Imposter Syndrome” take over every mental brain cell and body part I had. I did not just step back, I stepped down. I was immediately disappointed in myself. It was a fleeting moment of feeling it was the biggest mistake of my life. Did the world change immediately at that moment? No, the relationship stayed the same, the funds were provided. I had a wonderful experience, but I always look back at that moment and wonder what if I’d said ME! I can lead this company.
What could you do to shield your brain from suffering from “Imposter Syndrome”? Exercising our minds to be strong when your gut is churning and burning with anxiety and you think you may throw up? What are these feelings that potentially sabotage your own success?
Throughout the book, I will share some exercises I have created over the years to help me build mental confidence and a more trusting gut instinct! One of the most important components of these exercises is writing. You’ve heard it over and over again. There is a reason! Writing provides clarity if you write enough. I’ll share a lot about this later in the book, but for now, know there is no exercise without these five components:
3. Meditation (slowing down your mind however you want to achieve this, yoga, hiking, sitting by the fire…)
5. Repeat—as often as you want but no less than every six months. As this provides a check in with yourself.
Let’s get started with the first very important exercise; DREAMING!
DREAMING BIG Exercise 2: Growing Your Dream Bank