3 Steps For Multipassionate Entrepreneurs To Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Do you remember the last time you got excited about a new hobby, or an interesting topic? You have a light-bulb moment with insight and you feel on top of the world. Maybe you dove into the crypto world, just discovered yoga, or a new creative hobby.
It’s what happened to me with self-development. I read 2 self-help books and felt like I was enlightened. This whole new world opened up to me and I wanted to share it with everyone who wanted to hear (and frankly everyone who didn’t want to hear too).
I hired my first coach and felt on top of the world. I realized that everyone should have a coach.
So why not become one myself?
But as I started to read more, work with more clients, and work with more coaches myself, I started realizing how little I really knew. I just had dipped my toe into this whole new world where I was just a newbie.
What was I thinking? That I could just become a coach?
What on earth can I teach people that they don’t know yet?
What is this inexperienced, 20-something who didn’t go through any hardship or trauma going to help people with?
I started feeling too inexperienced and too young for this thing called coaching. I even started wishing I went through something traumatizing so at least I had something to show for.
I was finding myself in the depths of Imposter Syndrome.
What is imposter syndrome?
Imposter Syndrome (IS) refers to a psychological ‘condition’ where you don’t believe you deserve your success. You feel like a fraud and think that other people see you as more competent than you actually are.
IS is really common among entrepreneurs, because starting your own business requires a different kind of confidence.
You are selling your own creations, which feels a lot more vulnerable than selling someone else’s. If nobody buys from you, it feels like someone is rejecting a part of your soul. All your traumas of ‘not being good enough’ are triggered.
6 signs you are suffering from imposter syndrome:
- Never feeling ‘good enough’ or ‘ready’ to monetize or use your skills to help other people
- Focus on what you don’t know instead of what you do
- Being more critical of your own work than other people’s work
- Feeling like you’re cheating, or not deserving what you sell
- Worrying that one day, people will discover how incompetent you are
- Self-sabotaging behaviour like procrastination, perfectionism, and shiny object syndrome (distracting yourself with more courses, free webinars, and other business ideas)
The Dunning Kruger Effect
The graph below shows why Imposter Syndrome usually creeps in after the first enthusiasm and confidence fades away, like it did for me:
Like many entrepreneurs, I probably started my business on the top of Mount Stupid. And that’s probably best because you don’t throw yourself into entrepreneurship without a certain amount of naivety. You can’t start a business from the depths of feeling inadequate.
Just know that when you’re in the valley of despair, it means you actually know a lot more than you think. You’re just realizing how much there still is to learn, and that is a beautiful thing.
What isn’t beautiful though, is that many people give up in the Valley of Despair, not realizing that the best is yet to come, and that there is a way out.
The Dunning-Kruger effect is helpful in understanding the course of Imposter Syndrome. But to help climb your way up, you also have to know what causes Imposter Syndrome, and how you can navigate it.
What causes Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter Syndrome is always a matter of perception, and who or what you compare yourself with.
The following image explains what happens:
The moment you really dive into a field of knowledge, you realize how much there still is to learn. There are probably hundreds of books, courses, and other resources that talk about the kind of product or skill you are selling. But instead of realizing that any of those resources come from one, or maybe just 2 experts, you see this mountain of knowledge as a whole. And you feel small and inadequate with what you, as an individual, know.
In reality, you have a specific combination of skills and knowledge that nobody else has, and that is complementary to what other people know: which means you can always help other people.
When I feel inadequate I always ask myself this:
Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day, how many people do you know that spend as much time working on/developing/learning about this particular topic as you do?
The answer is always: no one. I know other coaches that spend a lot of time on self-development, even coaches for multipassionates, but I don’t know any coach that focuses on the exact combination of things as I do. So how could I be inadequate?
Multipassionates and Imposter Syndrome
I think IS is especially tricky with Multipassionates and Multipotentialites and I will explain why.
Contrary to our specialist friends who find one or two things they specialize in, we have been jumping from one thing to the other. We can be the jack of all trades (but feel like the master of none). And this is a great way to be… Until you start your own business and you start comparing yourself to specialists.
Secondly, there is a possibility that you are self-sabotaging to avoid Imposter Syndrome. You blame your flakiness to being a multipassionate, but actually you’re just not brave enough to go past a certain level of experience.
Let me explain:
I bet you are a very quick learner. Because you have experienced many things, you develop a varied set of skills, and you automatically become a great beginner.
‘You are good at everything’. I remember my friends telling me that, not always from an admiring place.
In fact, that wasn’t really true. Yes, I was a quick learner so it never took me long to master the basics. But when things became hard, or scary, I just jumped to the next thing.
It’s just so much more fun to be a good beginner than a struggling professional!
You know, talent is worth nothing without discipline.
What I want to say is that sometimes we use our Multipassionate tendencies as a coping strategy to avoid feelings of inadequacy a.k.a. Imposter Syndrome. Instead of pushing through the discomfort of being average, it’s easier to jump to another project so you can be a great beginner again.
If you recognize this in yourself, challenge yourself when you feel IS creeping in. Are you going to use your flakiness as an excuse, or are you going to do the work and get more confident?
To me, being a multipassionate means that I am ambitious in multiple areas of life. Personally and professionally I want to grow and develop myself multidisciplinary. It doesn’t mean I cannot hold a job, switch hobbies every 3 months and never finish a project.
How to overcome Imposter Syndrome
There is no magic cure to suddenly feel confident, but there are some things you can do to crawl out of the valley of despair a bit faster.
Step 1 – Notice & Understand
Congrats, if you’ve read this blog until here, I bet you recognize IS in yourself, and now you have an understanding of how it works.
The first step in overcoming any mental obstacle is recognizing it in yourself, and knowing why you are experiencing it.
Remember to ask yourself this question: How many people do you know in your surroundings that know as much as I do about this specific topic? If you think you can sell your skills to the people you know, you can start your business.
Step 2 – Practice, Practice, Practice
Freezing and procrastinating are not going to give you more experience. Yet another course isn’t either. Get out there and start doing what you came here to do. And if you don’t get paid clients, you can give your skills away for free. Let them experience your value, maybe they will pay you later, or spread the word.
Step 3 – Improve your mindset
Even the best actors are nervous before they get on stage. Meaning: you’ll never feel 100% confident or ‘ready’.
You can practice your ass off, but if your Imposter Syndrome is based on general feelings of unworthiness and old traumas, you will give your skills away for free forever. Starting a business will trigger all your traumas and the stories you have about yourself, and it’s really hard to get through them without doing the necessary work on yourself.
A mindset coach or a mentor can help you navigate this process, and change the way you look at yourself.
Are you struggling with Imposter Syndrome? Schedule your free discovery call and we can dive into what causes your IS, the stories you’re telling yourself, and how to change them moving forward.