Several years ago, Chris and I were given a gift card to a swanky restaurant in Denver.
Normally, we would drive past places like this because surely, we didn’t belong. This time, the gift card helped us believe we could dine with the finest people in the city.
Reservations were made and we were going to get fancy.
Except I couldn’t.
At this point in our marriage, we were young (and broke), and going out for a new outfit or shoes was not feasible. Heck, Hamburger Helper felt like a gourmet meal to us! Plus, I needed to make sure I had enough money to tip our waiter!
I settled on wearing a pair of high heels that looked like something Julia Roberts would wear in Pretty Woman. I knew 100%, I would NOT fit in with these people.
I was certain that as soon as I walked through the door everyone would stop, turn, and ask who let us in. Shortly after making a spectacle of myself, the host would kindly as us to leave because we made “the regulars” feel uncomfortable. I played that scene repeatedly in my head as I got ready, and anxiety set in.
All because I didn’t have the right shoes.
My imagination can go to some pretty dark places.
After a quiet car ride to the restaurant and a timid walk inside, we were met with the kindest Maitre D who treated us like royalty. (Clearly, I thought, he’d been tipped off that this was our first time ever being in a 5 star restaurant). He took our coats, led us to our table, and good news…. I didn’t die!
In fact, our evening turned out to be one of my favorite date nights ever! We ate like kings, laughed, and enjoyed an atmosphere that to us, was a treat.
Looking back, I wish I would have enjoyed the entire day.
I wish I wouldn’t have let my fear of how people would perceive me consume my entire day.
I wish I would have enjoyed the kid-free car ride to the restaurant.
Instead, I let doubt and fear come crashing in.
How often do we do this in our businesses?
Anytime we try something new, something outside of our comfort zone, fear coats these opportunities. Instead of taking the new experience head on, we stop and ask ourselves if we have the right shoes.
For me, I over analyze opportunities.
Can I do it?
Am I smart enough?
Should someone else do it?
And Lord help us when I say yes! It becomes a battle in my head. A battle I know will surely end in my defeat. The truth is, most of the time, the battle IS in my head. That’s the funny thing with imposter syndrome. Even the most qualified feel like they don’t belong.
Do you struggle with imposter syndrome? It’s an easy trap to fall into, second-guessing yourself and your qualifications. All the while, missing out on the journey because you’re too wrapped up in what can go wrong and what is wrong with YOU.
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I’m still a work in progress, but I’m making a conscious effort to believe I’m capable. What has helped me?
Believe that you have a seat at the table
The only person who thought I didn’t belong in that restaurant was me. We all have a seat at the table. And if you don’t see one for yourself…pull up a chair. You belong on stage, in the conference room and on the webinar. You have a unique contribution (yes, even if you’re wearing clothes from Goodwill).
Write a ‘badass list’
My dear friend Rachel Luna one told me, “Trivinia, you have liars living your in your head.” Why do we accept every thought about ourselves as objective fact? When imposter syndrome creeps in and suggests “I’m not worthy,” I open this list of all the badass things I’ve accomplished. Have you made one yet?
Related Content: Imposter Syndrome: The Accidental Entrepreneur
Stop finding comfort in filters
Appearing more put together doesn’t make it so. I believe living and leading authentically is the only way to confront the lie in our head that says we’re a fraud. How are you showing up in your leadership? How can you be more authentic this week?
Do you struggle with imposter syndrome? It happens to the best of us! If you don’t have a support system and are struggling to move to the next stage of business because you’re holding yourself back, I’d love to chat with you. Together we can make your business everything you’ve hoped and more!