Yesterday, I spoke at a conference called Create Good, which focuses on sharing innovative ideas in the non-profit communications space. Attendees are the creative minds behind your favorite local charities, agencies, and advocacy groups who strive to make a difference in the world. The event was delightful and inspiring.
A Candid Conversation with a Friend
I called my friend Jennifer McClure to share my experience after the conference. When asked how I thought it went, I confidently responded, “I give myself an A+.” This statement sparked laughter and underscored a fundamental shift in my confidence. I used to be self-critical and pessimistic about my personal brand, presentation skills, and overall performance. Now, I assume that everything I do is top-notch, and if I exceed my expectations, I earn that A+.
Jennifer wondered if I would have done anything differently with this presentation. My answer was — no way. The reasoning is simple: if I could have done better, I would have. But I did my best by showing up and giving it my all.
Embracing Unapologetic Confidence
Jennifer and I laughed about how many men in the speaking industry exude extreme confidence, unapologetically proud of their performance despite potential flaws. They don’t stress over their appearance, humor, or even the occasional slip of the tongue. Instead, they show up and passionately share their ideas, aiming to change the world. So, why should I do anything differently?
During our conversation, I jokingly mentioned that I think I have “reverse imposter syndrome.”
Understanding Reverse Imposter Syndrome
Reverse imposter syndrome starts with believing you are inherently exceptional in your field. Assuming you are already a top performer gives you the confidence to tackle challenges head-on and strive for continuous improvement. It’s not narcissism. It’s the quiet belief that you are the living, breathing embodiment of expertise.
The Benefits of Reverse Imposter Syndrome
Embracing reverse imposter syndrome as a strategy can be beneficial because it promotes self-confidence and a growth mindset. It allows you to take on challenges without being hindered by self-doubt, leading to better performance and increased success. And if you don’t feel this way, you can fake it. The best moments of my professional life can be traced back to the points when I took a calculated risk and decided to see myself as others might, could, and probably do already see me.
The Power of Positive Self-Perception
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent, and no one can make you feel worthy except you. You can choose to think that you’re a disaster or a superstar. Why choose something that serves no purpose and doesn’t bring you closer to your personal and professional goals? The path of reverse imposter syndrome is the best.
It’s essential to note that this mindset doesn’t imply egotism or selfishness. My work is in service of others. I teach well-reasoned and evidence-based lessons about work. The reverse imposter syndrome approach makes me kind, helpful, and inherently awesome because I’m not thinking about my stupid outfit or how people might hate me. I’m focused on solving problems.
I might be delusional, but I’m happier this way. I feel unstoppable and more effective at my job when I feel good. I’m fixing work for other people by fixing myself first.
Applying Reverse Imposter Syndrome in Your Professional Life
To implement this concept in your professional life:
• Begin by assuming you are already a high achiever in your field. It’s probably true.
• Use this belief to fuel your ambition and drive to improve. Set a stretch goal. Terrify yourself.
• Be open to feedback that helps you grow but maintain unapologetic confidence in your abilities. Plenty of other dorks do what you want to do. Why not you?
Does it sound stupid? Okay, sure. But you should still try it. Let me know how it goes!
Reverse imposter syndrome is a mindset that may seem arrogant, but it genuinely works. It goes beyond toxic positivity or embracing the power of positive psychology. This perspective encourages self-confidence and a proactive approach to personal growth. Adopting this outlook allows you to tackle challenges head-on, leading to greater professional success and personal fulfillment.
And it makes you look and feel great on stage. Trust me!