How Do You Overcome Imposter Syndrome at Work?

BUSINESS icon Giles Cadman February 14, 2019

Instilling Confidence in Organizations is a blog series by Giles Cadman, the Chairman of the Cadman Capital Group. This series outlines the steps to take to become a leader that people believe in. Read the first of the series here.

How do you become a leader that people believe in? Well, for starters, you can’t make others feel empowered when you, yourself feel inadequate. With all the noise out there today, being confident in your abilities is so important.

"Imposter syndrome," which is the mental state described as the inability to believe your own success is deserved or legitimately achieved as a result of your own efforts, is on the rise. We seem to be in a bit of a confidence conundrum. So how do you become a leader that others believe in? You must grow the confidence in yourself, first.

The importance of taking risks

When I was in my early twenties, I lost three of the people closest to me. It was a heartbreaking period in my life and it shaped me into the person I am today. I would never wish it on anyone, but what happened to me also set me free to live an extraordinary life. As soon as you realize that this life is all you have, you may find it a little easier to take risks.

Due to this mindset, I've been able to make important decisions rather easily. I have daily practices to help me stay in this mindset, which I'll now delve into.

Start by setting small goals

I often go for long walks. I'll look up at a big hill and dream about getting all the way to the top. But first, I'll pick a tree or a rock that's closer to me, and I'll get there first. I'll take a moment to feel good and happy because I've reached my small goal.

I also do this in business. I set a series of stepping stones or goals and it helps me break down the larger goals with confidence. If I want to make $100,000 a year, then I need to be excited about the first $10,000! If I simply start with the $100,000 revenue goal, then I'd just be scared the entire time.

I'm sure you've heard about SMART (specific, manageable, achievable, realistic, timely) goals, but they are an amazing way to nail down what you need to accomplish.

Know that you don't need to come up with the best idea of all time

There's a pressure on entrepreneurs to come up with the best business idea when in reality you don't need to be super creative. You just need to do something a bit better than the competition.

Knowing this is the most crucial part of my confidence. I started Cadman Fine Wines over 20 years ago. I didn't set out to be the greatest wine company ever. I just wanted to do a few things really well and make a name for myself. We accomplished this and that confidence has carried over to my other ventures.

The bottom line

Building confidence is about getting the important things right and not destroying yourself by setting the bar too high.

Stay tuned for the next in this series: how to build your amazing team and help them succeed as well. That's all for now!

Giles Cadman is Chairman of The Cadman Capital Group, a group of cohesive, complementary companies, operating in the international trade, retail, leisure, and investment markets. Learn more about Giles.