If you feel that imposter syndrome – that sneaking, insecurity-provoking suspicion that you’re not actually good enough to do what you’re doing – is holding you back, you’re not alone. NBC reported the results of a 2017 study: a whopping 70 percent of Americans have experienced imposter syndrome at one time or another in their lives. With so much competition in the online space nowadays, it’s easy to look at others doing what you want to do and feel like you’re falling short of the qualifications. But here’s your sign: start anyway.
Angie Lee is the founder of the Angie Lee Show Podcast and she encourages her 100K strong audience of Instagram followers daily to push through imposter syndrome and just get started. In fact, Lee’s entire M.O. is that “Ready is a lie.” There isn’t a single person on this Earth who didn’t feel a hint of fear, trepidation, insecurity, or imposter syndrome when they were just getting started. The more you can view it as a “we” issue (in other words, the majority of us will feel this way) as opposed to a “me” issue (in other words, you’re the only one feeling this way and therefore it’s true that you’re an imposter), the more you can take real and radical action.
Lee shared her three recommendations to stop letting imposter syndrome hold you back.
- Messy action is better than no action at all.
You’ve heard some variation of this before – like, “Messy is better than perfect.” This sentiment is so widely shared because it’s true. Perfection is an impossible ideal that we’re never going to reach. How much movement could be brought into your life if you decided to call 80-90 percent perfect “good enough”?
“What stops us from showing up messy is imposter syndrome,” Lee explained. “Imposter syndrome gives us this unrealistic ideal of what our work, our follower count, or our qualifications need to be in order to be ‘good enough’ for what we’re starting on. So, we seek to get to 100 percent perfect before we have the confidence to begin.”
A not-so-secret secret of Lee’s: she dealt with exactly this when she first started… But showed up messy time and time again. “I recorded my first podcast episode totally clueless! But I kept committing to the process, and now, 100K followers later, I realize how much I could’ve missed out on if I let my previous need to be ‘perfect’ get in the way of real action.” Consistent, messy action is actually more than most people commit to, so you have a leg-up if you continue to put yourself out there.
- Reframe your perception of your qualifications.
As aforementioned, it’s never been easier to survey social media role models and perceived ‘competition’ and think, “Agh! He or she is so much further along than I am!” This, invariably, leads to imposter syndrome at its worst. Imposter syndrome can disguise itself as comparison, as we’re constantly measuring ourselves up against others. Lee says that the way we view our qualifications has to change.
“I always tell beginners this: if you’re putting in the work and providing value, you deserve to be there,” Lee said. “It doesn’t matter how many followers you have, how much press you’ve received, or how long you’ve been in your industry. Your work is good enough. Your value is good enough.”
To really feel this recommendation and step into it, think back over the hard work you’ve put into your own social media page, business, or product. Then, think about how you’ve helped people – whether it’s been one person or 1,000. Or, how you’re intending to help people. Believe in your value.
- Redefine fear.
It’s natural that getting started is going to throw your entire nervous system into a panic. It’s something you’ve never done before, which can be perceived as “unsafe,” especially since we all feel the primal need to belong. This can intensify the negative emotions associated with imposter syndrome. But, what if you played a little mental trick?
“Fear is just energy in the body,” Lee explained. “Just energy! This means you can define the energy on your own terms. Anxiety and excitement are very similar emotions – decide that you’re excited to share your value and your hard work with the world.”
It may take some practice, but even affirming to yourself, “I’m excited!” can start to trick your brain into believing it. Excitement revs the gas on your ventures. Fear can halt the brakes. Keep going!