Remember those 1980s Gillette TV commercials for Dry Idea antiperspirant with the tagline: "Never let them see you sweat."
Turns out, that thinking is about as archaic as the advertisements themselves. These days, lots of successful people admit they do sweat-a lot. Letting others know you're only human is an admired trait now among our leaders.
That doesn't mean we don't suffer from what's known as "imposter syndrome." That's the gut-wrenching feeling in your stomach that someone is going to find out you don't deserve to be in the position you're in. You think to yourself you're not that smart. You're not that capable. Soon, someone will find out just how inadequate you really are. You're an "imposter."
Many high-achieving people have this syndrome. It can be paralyzing and lead to many personal issues. It makes people question every action that they make. Worse still, when the time comes for decisiveness, this mind-trap can hold people back.
Almost everyone has felt this way at some point--even these top CEOs on Radiate.
"I would tell you that entrepreneur minds are active minds and a lot of the action is self-defeating" says Brad Keywell the Co-founder and CEO of Uptake Technologies. He recommends practicing positive thought or to use his words: "What you say to yourself can change how you act and how you present yourself in the world."
Despite being a COO and Group President of Focus Brands, Kat Cole has experienced these doubts. "I've definitely had these moments where I pause and say who am I to question this person? Especially someone who's got decades more experience in business than me." Kat snaps herself out of this self-assessment by asserting herself and her role of responsibility. "The answer is you're the freaking president! And so, if you don't question them, who will? So, if you are the leader, it is your role to question, respectfully, to get to the best outcome for your company."
Andrew Yang, on the other hand, sees this self-criticism as a positive. The Venture for America Founder describes how a recent encounter changed his self-perception. "Something happened to me last year where a 20-something-year-old called me middle-aged. And then I was like, 'I'm not middle aged, what are they talking about?' So I whipped out my phone and looked up the definition...turns out I am. Like that transition, it made me realize, oh my gosh, I'm actually not just the energetic upstart, up-and-comer. I'm actually the middle-aged guy that people are, you know, are looking at as someone who's done a few things. I think everyone has imposter syndrome some of the time. It's healthy in some ways, because it keeps you striving and sharp."
Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? Have your say in the comments below, I love reading the reader feedback!