“Who are you to say that?”
“Who are you to lead this meeting?”
“Who are you to start that business?”
Sound familiar? You’re not the only one who occasionally has these thoughts. The term impostor syndrome refers to a set of beliefs that imply that you don’t really belong in the room, in your role, in leadership, writing that book, giving that client pitch. If allowed to infest your mindset, these beliefs can cause you to shrink back from opportunities that you are perfectly suited for but have convinced yourself simply aren’t for you.
Here’s the thing: I’ve rarely encountered someone who—in their most honest moments—hasn’t had these thoughts. I’ve sat with people at the absolute top of their game, running large companies or influencing huge movements, who confess that they sometimes don’t really feel like they belong in the room. It always surprises me. That’s how strong impostor syndrome can be. We all have areas of vulnerability, and impostor syndrome tends to know exactly which notes to play to make us dance.
You belong in the room. You belong in the conversation. You have every right to attempt to write that book, give that speech, make that pitch, interview for that job. Sure, you might fall short. But it’s far easier to live with a temporary failure than it is to live with never knowing what you might have been capable of accomplishing if you’d only tried.
If you’re willing to be in the room, doing the work, then you belong there.
Is there any place where impostor syndrome is preventing you from trying something new?