Do you ever hear a little voice in your head telling you that you’re not ready for this, you’re not smart enough, and maybe you’re not as good as the others? Does your inner ‘mean girl’ or ‘inner bully’ hold you back from taking the next step that would make an amazing impact on your business?
That, my friend, is Imposter Syndrome and EVERY ADVISOR experiences it… and often. And, it tends to creep up RIGHT when we’re about to do something really, really big.. Your inner mean girl starts to whisper in your ear at the worst possible moment. When you are right on the edge of your comfort zone about to jump out into that zone of greatness that lies JUST just beyond
Today, I am going to get you an exact road map to follow to finally put a muzzle on that bully. This way, when she shows up to sabotage your success – AND SHE WILL – you’ve got a tool you can use to shut her up for good.
Did you know that eighty-five percent of Harvard Business School students report that they consistently experience imposter syndrome. Crazy, right? When I think of Harvard Business School students, I think of the best of the best. People who know they could only get in because they are THE SMARTEST. Why in the world would they ever feel like an imposter? It's mind blowing and a little comforting at the same time because it means that if you experience imposter syndrome, like I have, then we're not alone.
Step One: GIVE HER/HIM A NAME
By naming our inner bully, we can start the process of separating her thoughts from our own. When we recognize she is talking we can start to observe her and get to know her voice. You can come up with a fun name for her OR you can think of someone VERY specific from middle school or high school. You decide!
My inner mean girl is named Becky. She LOVES to come out at specific times… and I know her voice. She’s the one that pokes her head out just when I’m about to do something that is pushing me to the next-level in my business.
Or, when I’m on pinterest. She hangs out there A LOT–especially in the kids’ birthday party and charcuterie board sections. And I know you know what I mean. When you see the fabulous 4-year-old petting zoo extravaganza with cake pops and balloon arches… and you start to feel really crappy about your plastic table cloth and store bought cake. That’s when Becky shows up to wreak havoc!
So by naming her, I can say to myself “Oh look. Becky’s here.” (insert sarcasm and eye roll here)
Once I know she’s here and ready to squash my business dreams I can… jump to step #2.
Step Two: WRITE OUT ON PAPER WHAT SHE SAYS
When we write out what our inner mean girl thoughts are we can then look at them more objectively.
When I’m coaching advisors, I hear them say things like “I’m not pretty enough to do more video marketing.” Or, “I want to specialize in Divorce Planning, but there are already so many other advisors out there doing that and they are way ahead of me.
When I actually write that out on paper…. It actually sounds kind of stupid. And, we can look at the statement more objectively when it’s on a piece of paper.
So mine might look like this: when I’m invited to give a keynote speech or host a workshop for Advisors, I might hear Becky say “Libby, You are not a professionally trained TedEx speaker. No one will take what you say seriously.”
Or she might say, “Girl, you need to lost 10 lbs before you record any videos for social media. The camera actually adds 10 lbs so maybe it’s more like 20! Let’s lose weight FIRST before you start mmmmm kay?”
Step 3: FACT OR OPINION
When the statement is separated out from us, we can then determine if it’s a fact or if it’s a misguided opinion.
So step three is to break down those statements that Becky says and really actually evaluate them.
So in my example, when I’m invited to give a keynote speech or host a workshop for Advisors, I might hear Becky say “Libby, you are not a professionally trained TedEx speaker. No one will take what you say seriously.”
I can take a minute and really evaluate if that’s true… or just Becky’s misguided opinion.
So let’s break that thought down.
True, I have not been invited to do a TedTalk (yet!). But is it true that I’m not a good speaker? I can slow down and analyze that. ACTUALLY, I do work with a speaking coach and have given tons of keynotes and hosted workshops that had rave reviews. I have some evidence that I can technically give a talk and do a good job.
Then I can address the second part. “People won’t take you seriously.” Now, I can slow my brain down and address this. You’re right - some people might not. And if they don’t…. Then what? What’s the worst case scenario? I look like an idiot. Well I’ve done that many times and survived! I still woke up the next day! I’ll ruin my reputation? Well, there are 6 billion people on this planet and if 150 of them think I’m a goober, that still leaves 5,999,999,850 people who might like what I have to say. And, it’s subjective.
Let’s talk FACTS and EVIDENCE: People won’t take you seriously… Do I have any proof of this? Do I have any proof that the opposite is true and that people WILL take me seriously? Well, I can’t PROVE what people will think of me in the future, but I can look back at evidence that shows me that I have spoken in the past and that people have definitely taken me seriously and have LOVED what I’ve had to say!
Let’s look for Evidence that creates facts. What experiences or proof do I have that people have taken me seriously!?!
Well, #1 I’ve spoken at events and have been asked to come back! The crowd gave me a standing ovation. I had a line of people waiting to talk to me when I was doing. Event planners have PAID me to talk. I have been referred or recommended. My breakout was the highest rated breakout at the NAIFIC conference…. These are examples of evidence that determines if Becky’s comment was a fact or an opinion.
And let’s say you feel that there is evidence that backs your inner mean girl’s comments. Let’s say I talked at an event and it went terrible. Maybe I forgot my presentation and I cried on stage. Maybe the event planner asked for their fee back. Pretty terrible right. If we have those types of facts, we can then look at that and say… BUT IS THAT TRUE IF I DO IT AGAIN?
NO! There is no empirical evidence that proves that if I cried at one presentation I will cry at the next one. So…. that brings it back to it being just an opinion of Becky’s.
And, let’s take it one step further… even if you are the one person that finds that you can back up Becky’s claims with FACTS & EVIDENCE… great. Those are good things to know and that means you know EXACTLY what to do for next time to determine a different outcome.
If I forgot my speech and cried… I can work 3x as hard to practice practice practice. I can ask for a teleprompter. I can bring notes. How can I adjust to change the outcome?
Practice addressing at least one of Becky’s thoughts from Step 2 and break it down - is it a fact or is it just her opinion? What evidence do I have to show her that she’s way off base?
Step Four: BUILD A PILE OF HARD EVIDENCE
If you’re anything like me… You’ve got Advisor Onset ADD. It’s a thing. I made it up. It’s not in medical journals, but having started, run, and sold a practice… and having coached HUNDRED of advisors… I know deep down in my bones that it’s a REAL THING.
But when you have Advisor ADD you so quickly forget things because you are so busy moving onto the next thing. And it’s not your fault. It’s actually your superpower! It’s how you bounce from meeting to meeting, and file prep, to planning, to recommendations, to compliance concerns, to training, to goal-setting, and back to meetings… all in a single day—WHILE making sure the kids’ sports uniforms are washed and they’ve got their water bottles.
It’s an adaptive strategy we develop to deal with the 5,764,000 hats we wear as advisors.
But how does that apply to imposter syndrome? We often forget what total rock stars we ACTUALLY are! So we have to have a SYSTEM (there’s that word again!) to remind ourselves how much we really have on the world around us!
Enter the: Compliments Binder/Brag Book/Feel Good Folder…. It’s a concept that goes by many names but has one goal: to give you the evidence that you are freaking amazing and you should go do the thing that you want to do to build the business and life that you deserve. And it tells Becky to go to H E Double Hockey Sticks.
So what is it? Regardless of what you call it… it’s essentially a binder FULL of emails, thank you cards, notes, articles, etc… anything that says thank you, you are awesome, I appreciate you, etc.
Your feel-good folder–or whatever you want to call it– could be an actual folder full of printed emails, cards, and letters, or a folder in your email inbox. Mine is an actual old school binder. It’s purple and I love it. I chose a binder because I like physical things… I’m an elder millennial. But I’ve received a lot of physical cards over the years from advisors expressing gratitude for the coaching we’ve done or notes telling me how the workshop impacted their business. Those, in their original form are so near and dear to me. I’ve also got emails printed out. I’ve printed out screen shots of social media comments. In fact, I have a video of my compliments binder on my website if you need a visual!
But, it doesn’t have to be a physical thing like a binder. Instead, it could be an album on your phone under the photos section where you save screenshots of emails, text messages and pictures of thank you cards! Or it could be an email folder!
What form you choose doesn’t really matter. The idea is that when Becky is whispering in your ear…. You can break out this myth buster and pull actual EVIDENCE that you are indeed a rock star.
So your action item for this step is to dig out any of these pieces of encouragement that you have tucked away somewhere and organize them! So schedule the time right now on your calendar to create a Compliments Binder!
So we’ve called out your inner mean girl and we’ve given her a name. We’ve put her comments on actual paper and wrote them out. We’ve identified if they are facts or just Becky’s annoying and unjustified opinion and we’ve reviewed our hard evidence.
But, I want to leave you with one more tool in your toolbox today.
Step Five: SAY “NO, BUT I’M ABOUT TO!”
So for those moments that Becky is whispering to you… and you feel like she might be right… this is a great trick. She’s reminding you that thing you’re about to go do is new. You don’t have hard evidence. You recognize that it sounds kind of silly when you put it down on paper… but you just can’t shake her truth… this IS something you’ve never done before! This is your line. “No, but I’m about to!”
So let’s say your version of Becky says “You have NEVER landed a $2 million dollar account before.” Or “You’ve NEVER delivered a keynote presentation before.” Or maybe another advisor in your mastermind says “Have you ever hired an advisor before?”
You can simply answer, “No, but I’m about to!”
Acknowledging that you haven’t done it before and declaring that you’re about to own that thing is POWER! Tell Becky what’s up. Tell her your about to do exactly what it is that she’s questioning. And go do it. Fail forward if you have too. OR, you might be pleasantly surprised that you knocked it out of the park and are now adding something new to your big ‘ol pile of hard evidence.
I definitely got more worked up on this topic than I expected, but I think the reason is because I see so much potential in you. I know you. I get you. I am you!!!
And I know that you've got this and are the ONLY you… and there is someone out there PRAYING for you to do what you do in the way that only YOU can do it!
So when you hear your Becky… follow this system that I created for you and just move forward. And when she shows up, now you know how to put her in her place. Say “no, I'm not going there.” Imposter syndrome is going to show up. There is NO avoiding it. But, you’ll now have the tools to smack it down super quick.
So go, dream big. Get out of your comfort zone and give your inner mean girl a serious “Z of snaps” as you move forward in building a business and a life that you love!