Five Lessons Learned in Overcoming Imposter Syndrome as a B2B Leader with Nils Vinje

In this episode of the B2B Leadership podcast, best-selling author and leadership coach Nils Vinje breaks down the most important lessons he learned in overcoming imposter syndrome as a B2B leader. When you learn how to overcome imposter syndrome every time it comes up, you'll never let it stop you again.
In this episode...

0:24 - Defining imposter syndrome - Nils provides a simple definition and example.
1:49 - Recognizing imposter syndrome - Nils explains where the core of this feeling comes from.
8:07 - Control what you put into your brain - How does this embody a healthy lifestyle?
12:16 - Believe more in yourself than anyone else - Nils explains why every leader should take this mindset to heart.
18:41 - Invest in yourself - Nils explains why this should be done, no matter the cost.
24:47 - Become the CEO of your career - This lesson is the underpinning of all the other lessons.
29:42 - Recap of the five steps - Nils summarizes the five steps to overcome imposter syndrome as a B2B leader.

Connect with Nils Vinje: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nilsvinje/

Learn more about your own leadership style at:
https://www.30dayleadership.com/

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Have you ever felt like any day everyone else is going to find out that you don't know what you are doing?

And when they do, you will be humiliated, ridiculed, or even fired?

In this episode, Nils share his expertise and experiences on how to overcome imposter syndrome so you can save time, get promoted, and inspire your team.

Defining imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome comes from the comparison of yourself to someone else. It is rooted in your psychology. It can cause a tremendous amount of anxiety, pain, lost productivity, and wasted time.

If you are always pushing yourself, growing, and learning, you will continuously put yourself in positions where you feel like an imposter. But despite it having the potential to be debilitating, it is possible to learn to overcome it.

And you just don't overcome it once and never deal with it again, you overcome it each and every time it comes up and uses the experience to build your confidence to drive you forward.

So how do you overcome it?

Nils shares the 5 lessons he learned over the years on how to overcome imposter syndrome.

Lesson #1 - Recognizing imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome comes from the comparison of yourself to someone else. When you compare yourself to others who seem to be perfect in every way, you start to feel inferior about yourself. And that's when imposter syndrome starts to kick in.

One of the hardest times he ever went through that was directly related to imposter syndrome. It was when he took a VP role for the first time.

During that time, their company encountered a problem under his organization, a problem he later realized he could not solve on his own, which resulted in him feeling unqualified for his role because he was comparing himself to a "perfect" person. And that comparison hit him hard until a member of his team introduced him to the StrengthsFinder book.

The book instantly gave him the clarity he never had before. And it helped him discover the solution to the problem he was facing at the time.

What enabled Nils to overcome imposter syndrome and solve the problem was by focusing on what he was most talented to do. The tools he had from the StrengthsFinder book enabled him to be more confident because he knew that when he's doing the work that is aligned with his strengths, he's world-class.

Claim your strengths to overcome imposter syndrome. But, claiming strengths doesn't just involve taking the strengths assessment and then reading the results. That's just the start.

At the B2B leaders academy, you take the results of the assessment and then go way deeper so that you can claim your strengths and know exactly how to approach your work and the work of others to deliver world-class results.

Lesson #2 - Control what you put into your brain

How does this embody a healthy lifestyle?

Healthy means being very conscious of what food you put into your body, which serves as your fuel. If you look at what you put into your body as fuel, you're going to see the direct impact of the decisions that you make.

Your body is like an engine and how well it runs depends on the quality of the fuel that you put into it. And it's the exact same thing for your brain. What you put into your brain is what will determine how well it runs.

It is human nature to compare yourself to someone else. So the feelings of being an imposter or not being as good as someone else naturally show up. But if you can control what you put into your brain, you can control how you feel.

For instance, when you visit your social media accounts, you see the updates from everyone you know and all of the incredible things that they are doing. And if you're not careful and let yourself get sucked into the infinite scroll, you'll walk away from that brief bit of time not feeling very good about yourself and really starting to doubt yourself.

So instead of entertaining the endless scroll and comparing yourself to other people, decide every day to fill your brain with tools, knowledge, strategies, and tactics that will help you to get to the next level.

Invest heavily in yourself to help you in different areas of your professional and personal life. If you pay someone who has already accomplished what you want to do, you'll be able to control what you put into your mind and you'll get there exponentially faster than if you try to do it all on your own.

Lesson #3 - Believe more in yourself than anyone else

This is a mindset that all leaders should take to heart because there is so much power in removing yourself from being needed. And it might sound counterintuitive but it is incredibly important and empowering.

Nils explains why every leader should take this mindset to heart.

In 2014, Nils had reached the VP level, was very successful in his role, and essentially worked himself out of his own job. However, he started to get bored towards the end of that year because he wasn't needed on a day-to-day basis inside his organization. So he decided to resign.

It was at that point that he wanted to become a Customer Success consultant. Customer Success was still very new. But he was deeply passionate about the space and he believed that there were other people out there that would want some help building their Customer Success organization.

Nils was really excited to share this news about becoming a consultant with his parents. So when they got together on Thanksgiving that year, he shared the news. His parents though were not as excited about it. What they shared was every fear they had and placed it on him.

But this didn't stop Nils from doing what he wanted to do. He believed in himself more than anyone else in the world.

Shortly after this on January 1, 2015, he founded the very first Customer Success consulting firm that ever existed in the world.

When people share doubts and concerns about your decisions, it's actually not about you, it's actually about them and their fears.

Don't let it overpower you. Believe more in yourself than anyone else.

Lesson #4 - Invest in yourself

Back in lesson #2, it was mentioned how important what you put into your brain was to your success in overcoming imposter syndrome. This is directly related to investing in yourself, no matter the cost.

Nils explains why this should be done, no matter the cost.

He shares that the amount he invested in himself in the first 10 years of his professional career was negligible. And as a result, he stayed at an individual contributor level for that entire period and simply bounced from one job to the next trying desperately to find where he fits in the professional world.

The first major investment he made in himself was getting an MBA in management and organizational behavior. At the time, he was working at a startup and not earning much. And he and his wife had just had their first child. So the money to pay for grad school did not exist.

But Nils knew that the investment would be paid back many times over in the future, so he took out loans. Little did he know that this investment was the "real" start to his career. By putting into his brain all of the amazing tools, techniques, and lessons that he learned, he was able to overcome feelings of imposter syndrome.

After grad school, as he was working for a year or two, he felt another urge to really push himself again. There was so much more that he wanted to learn to help grow his career. So he decided to become a certified leadership coach.

He found the coaching program and signed up for it. At the time, money was tight. But it didn't stop him. He found a way. He didn't have the money but he signed up anyway. He got the training, filled his brain with incredible tools, and transformed his life.

When he ended the program, he started coaching clients and was able to pay back the investment with coaching income in not too much time. He also got promoted while he was in the program which helped him repay the investment.

The key here is to take the risk first. Nobody can tell you what you can and can not learn. And constantly feed your brain the right things through investing in yourself no matter the cost, whether or not you have the money. Because whenever you get a result, the imposter syndrome voice would be less and less.

Lesson #5 - Become the CEO of your career

This lesson is the underpinning of all the others.

Being the CEO of your career means that you are in charge and you are the only person who can make the call on what is right for you to learn, to do, what company to work for, what you want to pursue, etc. That's it. Nobody else but you is in charge. And this can be a bit intimidating.

If you look at the CEO of a company, their job is to increase the value of the company for their shareholders. Now if you look at yourself being the CEO of your career, your job is to increase the value of your single greatest asset, which is you, for your shareholders.

Your shareholders are your family, your friends, your network, your company, your clients, etc. Your shareholders are every person or group that you come into contact with. And your job is to continuously increase your value and if you do that, other people will always want to work with you.

So if you look at the relationship between employees and companies today, it's driven by value. There are two parties coming together in an exchange of value with one another. At the point at which one party is no longer getting value from the other, then it's time to re-evaluate and perhaps make a decision to change.

When you're not the CEO of your career, imposter syndrome is likely going to consistently come up because you are always comparing yourself to someone else.

However, when you are the CEO of your career, imposter syndrome fades because you're in control, you're in the driver's seat, and you are able to make decisions that support you and your growth.

When you're focused on increasing your own value, you're not worried about comparing yourself to someone else.

Recap of the five steps

These are the 5 lessons about overcoming imposter syndrome as a B2B leader:

Lesson #1 - Recognize what imposter syndrome really is.
Lesson #2 - Control what you put into your brain.
Lesson #3 - Believe more in yourself than anyone else.
Lesson #4 - Invest in yourself, no matter the cost.
Lesson #5 - Become the CEO of your career.

Being a great leader simply means that you have a toolbox full of leadership tools that you can pull out and use to overcome challenges like imposter syndrome.

Inside the B2B Leaders Academy, there are leadership tools broken down into step-by-step plans so that you can put them into action and get immediate results.

These tools and the leadership coaching to support you in overcoming imposter syndrome each and every time it comes up and ultimately becoming the leader you have always wanted to be is part of the B2B Leaders Academy.

If you'd like to join and learn more, simply go to B2BLeadersAcademy.com.

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