The Art of Mastery
Hey guys! I hope your week is fabulous! I want to get pretty real this week and share with you something that I occasionally battle and many entrepreneurs battle. It’s called IMPOSTER SYNDROME.
I first heard the term “imposter syndrome” on the “Art of Charm” podcast and immediately identified with it. I think some of you might as well. Let me read this definition of “imposter syndrome” from fastcompany.com’s website.
Many high achievers share a dirty little secret: Deep down they feel like complete frauds–their accomplishments the result of serendipitous luck. This psychological phenomenon, known as impostor syndrome, reflects a belief that you’re an inadequate and incompetent failure, despite evidence that indicates you’re skilled and quite successful. Valerie Young, who has researched it extensively and written about it in her book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From the Imposter Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, has divided it into 5 groups of people:
1. The Perfectionist
2. The Superwoman/man are those that will overwork because they feel they never measure up.
3. The Natural Geniuses are those who judge their success by their abilities not by their efforts. If a natural genius has to work hard, he will assume he’s bad at it. One stand out mindset with these is that if you don’t get it right the first try, you judge yourself harshly.
4. The Rugged Individualists are those who feel phony if they have to ask for help.
5. The Experts feels they tricked their bosses into hiring them and will be found out that they are not as expert as their bosses believed.
I think another aspect of imposter syndrome is comparing yourself to others. For example, recently I met with an entrepreneur and walked away feeling like a complete fake after hearing her illustrious career, academic achievements, and really how put together she was. I have NONE of that. I’m from humble beginnings, didn’t go to college for business, haven’t had an illustrious career, and I was proud of my academics until after that meeting! LOL! So I came home and looked at my life, my business, my home and finances, and even my church and thought, “I can’t see anywhere that I’ve been successful at all. I basically suck at everything!”
Now don’t get me wrong, I am very confident of my skill level and ability to help my clients. But when I look at the overall picture, I kind of wonder what the heck I’ve been doing for almost 45 years. Am I really going to have an impact before I die? Is my destiny really going to matter?
I’m going to get “pastoral” on you now. As I sat there and discussed with God my thoughts, I heard the faintest reminder of this scripture.
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many might, not many noble are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
Regardless of your faith if you watching this, know that everyone is important and has something in them that only they can bring into the world.
The Process of Mastery
I want to share something with you that blessed me a lot when I first heard it years ago by Dr. Lance Wallnau. He calls it the 4 stages of mastery.
The first stage is UNCONSCOUS INCOMPETENT meaning you have no idea that you have no idea what you’re doing. LOL! You’re very confident when you start your journey toward your dreams but you’re not aware that you don’t have the skill level needed to get you there.
Then you enter into CONSCIOUS INCOMPETENT. Now you know you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re advancing some in your skills but realize you don’t know what you need to know to achieve your dream. He suggests a mentor at this point to speed up the process.
The third part of this mastery journey is CONSCIOUS COMPENTENT. Now you’ve acquired what you need, improved your skill level drastically, and are on an upward trajectory. And then in fulfillment, you enter the final stage called UNCONSCIOUS COMPENTENT or MASTERY. You’re now living in your dream and making money doing it.
It’s in that CONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE that many quit. I believe it’s in this stage that some of us feel like imposters. His suggestion: MASTER THE ART OF FULFILLMENT NOT THE SCIENCE OF ACHIEVEMENT. LEARN TO ENJOY THE PROCESS.
I hope you saw that this syndrome hits HIGH ACHIEVERS. If that’s you, identify what stage of mastery are you at in your journey and take appropriate action to get you to that next stage whether it’s learning a skill you need, improving on one, getting a mentor, etc.
Also, avoid the comparison trap. Everyone falls into it. We all meet someone we think is smarter, better at what they do, more education, etc. I guarantee that they cannot do what you do like you.
To help with this, get to know your personality in depth, discover your fascination advantage, which I’ve taught on, and ponder when you’re in the zone and feel alive. That’s who you are. The more you know who you are and you’re confident in that, the more you can flow in your uniqueness and not try to be someone else.
1. Imposter syndrome is feeling like a fraud.
2. It hits high achievers most.
3. There are 5 categories: perfectionist, superwoman/man, natural geniuses, the rugged individualist, and expert.
4. It often hits us hard when we start comparing ourselves with others.
5. Identify where you’re at on the mastery process.
6. Take appropriate action based on where you’re at.
I hope this helps you guys. It helped me thinking about it and writing about it for you. There’s a dark side of entrepreneurship that sometimes no one talks about because we don’t want to appear INCOMPETENT! LOL. But we need to talk about these things. If you want to share or add how you’ve struggled, please feel free to comment or even post a video. If you have found ways to help yourself with that, please share. We’re a community and that’s what community’s do.