As a high performer who is addicted to achieving, you most likely have at one point in another felt like an impostor. It's a widely popular term. I've experienced it in numerous avenues in life ranging from writing, speaking, and athletics.
In fact, seventy percent of people will experience at least one episode of the impostor syndrome in their lives. It's safe to say that no one is immune to this.
However, I looked up impostor one day and the dictionary states that an impostor is someone "who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others, especially for fraudulent gain."
I'm no con man and I'm sure you're not as well. Therefore, are we really impostors or has the world gotten this impostor thing mixed up? I tend to favor the latter.
However, I get it though.
I don't feel like an "entrepreneur" often times because when I think of that term, I think of a certain amount of success that I don't have yet.
Here's the thing, often times when we're feeling like an "impostor," it's nothing more than us comparing ourselves and measuring ourselves against preconceived standards and definitions in the world.
With that said, impostor syndrome is actually a much-needed asset and benefit to your life. Here are two big reasons why the impostor syndrome is actually a benefit.
1. It keeps you operating with an edge.
Hall of Fame and Super Bowl winning coach Bill Parcels is famous for telling his players "Don't eat the cheese."
We're not talking about food here. Instead, we're talking about avoiding complacency after experiencing a little success.
He didn't want them to read and relish in their success for fear of it affecting their upcoming play. In essence, he didn't want them to lose their competitive edge and stop striving for improvement.
As Robert Greene states in the 50th Law, "the greatest danger you face is your mind growing soft and your eyes getting dull."
I realized that in my moments of worry or times of feeling fraudulent, what was really happening was a signal that I had more growing and evolving to do. This is not a time for rest and to lay off the gas pedal. Instead, this feeling of being an impostor keeps you competitive and hungry for more success and growth.
This feeling is much needed because it doesn't allow you to rest on your current and past accomplishments because you know that isn't enough to stay relevant and tops in your specific endeavors.
Lastly, operating with an edge due to this phenomenon is key because it brings a sense of urgency and added pressure to your life which is your best friend.
Whatever it is you feel an impostor about, lean into it, relish it, and use it for energy to continuously improve upon.
2. It keeps your ego in check.
When it comes to ego, American physicist Richard Feynman says it best, "the first principle is that you must not fool yourself--and you are the easiest person to fool."
Feeling like an impostor can serve as a benefit because it won't allow your ego to become overinflated. When your ego is in command, growth stagnates because comfort becomes the driving force which leads you to play it safe and avoiding any potential unknowns.
Even as I improve in my athletic feats along with being published at top publications such as this one, I still feel a daily sense of being an impostor which helps me not take these opportunities and moments for granted.
It helps me to never mail my efforts in and to stay relentless with my craft because I'm constantly reminded of the gap between where I want to be and where I currently am.
Embrace those uncomfortable feelings of an impostor because this will make you a better leader, manager, entrepreneur, and consultant down the road because you're going to operate with a life-long student mentality. A student is open to learning as opposed to being shut off from the potential new knowledge that would help you move and evolve at a faster pace in life.
Next time feelings of an impostor bubble up inside of you, don't wish it wasn't there. Instead, smile and be thankful it's there because this is a signal that you're getting uncomfortable which is a necessity for growth and expansion in any facet of life.