Joe Leech

What if Imposter Syndrome is a Feature not a Bug?

🙉 The one time I didn’t listen to my internal imposter was a disaster.

I’ve spoken 100s of  times and before every keynote, be it to 12 people in a local pub to thousands at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco  I’ve been terrified. Except once.   

It was a smallish event, about 100 people in Croatia. I was on the bill with some fantastic, seasoned speakers. People I looked up to and respected. They were cool, calm and collected. “Right” I thought, “its time to shut up the imposter for good”. I pushed it down deep and distracted myself before I went on stage. I didn’t do my usual last minute run-through, I didn’t tweak and improve in the run up and I when I stepped out on stage… …I was dreadful, I stuttered, lost my place, I didn’t do a ⅓ of my talk, jokes were flat. I could see the looks of the awkward audiences, they were squirming because I was squirming.  I ended up finishing 20 minutes early. It took me a long time to get over it, in fact I almost quit for good. 

But then I realised it was my Imposter Syndrome that was driving me to be better, it’s questioning of me is what drove me to be better. And what if imposter syndrome is what makes great people do the amazing things that do? 

Now I’ve learnt to listen and respect my imposter. It even has a name, Imp.  🧚‍♂️

Imp tells me “You’re not good enough” “Everyone knows more than you do” “Why are you even here? Someone will realise and kick you out any minute” 

Now I know what Imp is doing, I think how can I use Imp to help me be better? What is Imp protecting me from? I’ve learn to reframe what Imp tells me: “How can I make this better?” “What could I do in this moment that no-one would know or expect?” “Why would someone kick me out and how can I prepare so that doesn’t happen?”

When I started doing this I realised that Imp was my superpower. My talks, my work relationships, the work I did was better when I listened to Imp, but listening on my terms. 

Then I started to look around for and listen to the other parts of me. How could I use my Internal Board of Directors (thanks Erin for this term!) to my advantage rather than letting them harangue me into inaction? 

So you may not have an Imp, but which of your internal board of directors is giving you a hard time? What can you learn from them? How can you reframe what your directors say to give you superpowers? 

I’ve love to know what your superpower is. Who sits on your Internal Board of Directors? Leave a comment or drop me a line

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I’m mr Joe and I help CEOs and their businesses thrive.

Success isn't incremental. It's a game of chutes / snakes and ladders; it's time to climb the ladders. I bring 15 years in tech, $20b in added revenue, experience with 30+ startups and FTSE / NASDAQ / Fortune 100 giants. Together we can do great things.

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