On Mental Wealth #4: Are you the imposter in the room? 😎

On Mental Wealth is a weekly publication created by Anthony Ware, Principal of AWare Catalysts. It's the fusion of mental health, culture, and business based on his experiences working with Black, People of Color, Women, and LGBTQ+ startup founders from around the world. 

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Imposter syndrome is real

Have you ever been sitting in a meeting or preparing to give speech, and thought to yourself, "I don't belong here". 

If you have, you're not alone. That feeling like you're a fraud or an imposter is more common than you may think. 

As much as, 70% of the population experience imposter syndrome. This number might be low due to the population researched and the changing tech landscape. 

This is different from someone else saying that you don't belong. 

Imposter syndrome is self-doubt that can manifest is ways that undermine your growth. For example, you don't accept a speaking gig because you don't qualify. 

Not only do you discount your current success, you also diminish the work you've done to get there. Ultimately, if left unchecked, your version of imposter syndrome can delay or totally block the life you aspire to live.

Mental Wealth Deposit of the Week

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Let Your History Help You

Now, time for the work.

Make time this week to map your life on paper. You can use pens, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, or a combo of these to write and draw.

Give yourself 2-4 hours. Yes, I know this is a commitment, but better this than dealing with another bout of imposter syndrome. Play some of your favorite music and/or have things that inspire you sitting near you.

Here's the work:

  1. List of high points in your life: job promotions, kids, marriage, started a business, learned to cook, etc.

  2. List of the low points in your life: fired from a job, divorce/breakup, death of family, bankruptcy, etc.

  3. List people or causes for which you've taken a stand: social, environment, etc.

  4. Include as many major and minor points as you can

  5. Map these lists on timeline of your life from birth until today. 

What you'll see is that the lows are needed for the highs, and no one has the same story as you. It's because of your imperfect story that you're the only person qualified to be you. You can't be an imposter of yourself :) 

Keep this map with you. When you feel imposter syndrome creep on you, take out your map to remind you about your greatness.

Let me know how it goes for you.

This will may bring up some emotions and memories that you haven't thought about in a long time.

Deeper Dive

Imposter syndrome: When you feel like you're faking it by Rose O. Sherman, EdD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN: I dig how this article dives into the history of imposter syndrome and more solutions that you can implement today.

Here's a recent live video I did on Twitter (9 min 15 sec): Talking about the impact of imposter syndrome on the #mentalwealth of founders and how to overcome when it hits us… https://t.co/39Bj7RIZZ4

Who is Anthony?

I help underestimated startup founders who are struggling with imposter syndrome, or mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion, create their Mental Wealth Toolkits, so they can: get out of their own way, regain confidence, hire the right people, accept the right investors money, create generational wealth for their families, and find joy in the journey.

You can find out more about my life here.

What is Mental Wealth? Mental wealth is a key part of the foundation of the next evolution of humanity. It's the collection of intentional thoughts, behaviors, and experiences —mental wealth deposits—someone uses to make a positive impact on their mental health. These deposits have a cumulative positive effect, especially useful during times when you’re challenged with mental illnesses and external events.


This post originally appeared in On Mental Wealth, a weekly creation by Anthony Ware, Principal, AWare Catalysts.