You are a leader. Confidence comes naturally to you. But there are days when you feel, when we all feel, like an imposter. It’s part of life. These days we frequently find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, assuming new roles, gaining new responsibilities, workplace shifts, technology enhancements, I could go on and on. Our challenge and our choice is to recognize what we are feeling, acknowledge it and then move forwards towards growth.
As leaders, we are called upon to set the vision, focus on the future and to solve the problems that keep our organizations from success. Often an impediment to that work is our own self-doubt.
And then we remind ourselves that we are resilient and adaptable.
During an important time in my life, I believed I couldn’t do what was asked of me. And a nurse shared a simple truth with me. “No one said this would be easy, they just said you could do it.” A phrase that comes back to me each time I resist a challenge and feel like an imposter.
In an interview with veteran actor Michael Caine, he shared another bit of truth from his career. Faced with an unexpected obstacle on stage, he yelled out he couldn’t do what was asked. His director advised him “to use the difficulty.” Don’t settle for being an imposter. Don’t ignore the thing you don’t know how to do, don’t be a martyr about it, and don’t quit because of it. Solve for the new need with the disruptive difficulty in mind.
Author Scott Peck, in his seminal work The Road Less Traveled shared a story about confronting the unfamiliar. When a patient’s car wouldn’t start, He said he didn’t know anything about cars. But it was getting dark, and so he took what he knew – using a methodical approach, defining and then correcting the problem. He found the truth that we often know more than we think.
Marie Forleo, accomplished author and entrepreneur, embraces her mother’s motto that everything is figureoutable.
As an emerging leader, you may find yourself feeling unprepared. You may see yourself as an imposter. This may cause you to step back into the familiarity of your old role rather than walking into the new role. In those times of self-doubt, it’s important to know you can do it. Use the difficulty. Methodically analyze the problem. And to have confidence that you will figure it out.
This week, where do you feel a bit like an imposter? What strengths and experiences will you use to gain confidence? Break down the problem, assess the requirements, and explore your options. Recognize progress. Give voice to your growth. Have the courage to face forward and begin. No one said it would be easy, they just said you could do it.