I deal with a lot of leaders who have imposter syndrome. I certainly have it at times. The sense that I’m not qualified, that I’m going to be found out.
The sense that, despite my 30 years of experience, I’m a fraud.
When I talk to people about this, it seems like for most, imposter syndrome is most acute when we get asked a question about ourselves. When we get put on the spot somehow.
Our minds go blank! Our moment to shine, and we have nothing to say! We panic! What now?
I used to be convinced that this was evidence of social anxiety, or some other deep psychological flaw. That I could overcome it with an elevator pitch, with 30 seconds that I could trot out anytime, that would show how powerful my work was.
“I help leaders be more impactful by finding and coming from their innate sense of ease.”
Or something like that. (Actually, I just came up with that, and I kinda like it. But as you will see, that just proves my point.)
What I have found instead is that clearing of the mind is a sign that our psychological system is working perfectly.
When my mind is clear, it is perfectly prepared to listen. It is perfectly open to new thought. It is perfectly ready to say what will be most impactful for my audience in that moment.
Experiment with this. Try it for yourself.
Notice when your mind goes blank.
See if you can wait a few seconds (without panic).
See what pops into your head. Sometimes it will be a question to clarify.
At some point you will know what to say. Say it. Notice the impact.
See if it is way better than any elevator pitch you could have memorized.
After you do this a few times, you will look forward to your mind clearing. Your mind will tend to clear more often. You will have access to more fresh, new thinking than ever before.
You might just find that your imposter syndrome has gone away, too. And you might be amazed by how often you know exactly the right thing to say.
Because we aren’t our history. We’re our innate ability to respond to our present and create our future.
Everyone has this. We are made of it.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!