We’ve been talking about mindset this month and about imposter syndrome. Today I want to dig deeper into how you can change your mindset to stop feeling like an imposter and start feeling like a champion.
Changing our mindset isn’t something that comes naturally but learning how to manage the way we view ourselves in the world is something we need to learn so we can be successful. It isn’t just the newly appointed manager or rising leader who need this. Seasoned, experienced executives at the highest-level fall prey to fixed viewpoints that limit their vision and leadership ability.
To succeed in the C-suite, top executives must confront outmoded ways of thinking and doing things to fulfil their role as a chief advocate. As an executive leader, you need a more flexible mindset and a broader view of the organisation and the role it plays in the community, so it remains relevant and responsive.
Expand Your View
In the past, leaders looked inward at their company’s objectives and frontline to gain insight about where to lead their organisation. To gain the new insights and experiences that you need to shift your mindset, you should look outward as well.
One way you can do this is to connect with new people who will bring you new information and ideas. Reach out to other leaders in your industry to learn about the challenges they are facing and what they are doing differently. This will give you a different perspective on what your organisation does well and offer clues on how to build on that to advance your mission.
Don’t be afraid to let go of old win-lose modes of competing and become open to ways you can collaborate with others to help both organisations advance their missions. Talk with your clients and customers to gain new perspectives about the needs in your community. Brainstorm with community leaders to see if there are ways that you can help them improve the public’s wellbeing while advancing your organisation’s objectives. The more diverse opinions and viewpoints that you can gain, the easier it will be to see your organisation in a new light. This is how champions lead.
By now, you’ll be thinking, “I can’t do that! I’d be exposing myself and my limitation to people who will easily be able to see me for the imposter I am.”
This is your old mindset kicking in but it’s time you stopped listening to it and started concentrating on the new one.
How do you stop listening to that old negative voice?
- Focus on your “why”. Why are you a leader? What do you want to achieve? What do you want to be known for? What is your true purpose? Understanding the point of your journey makes sense of all the challenges and hurdles you face. Instead of being blockages, they now seem to be just part of the process. They are something everyone on your journey will face so it’s how you deal with them that matters. This thinking takes the pressure off you and your “image.”
- Look back and learn. Yours is an ongoing leadership journey but you can’t appreciate where you are now – and the leader you have become – without looking back and learning from the past. You’ve stepped up, taken risks, led people even though you felt unsure, but look how far you’ve come. When you realise what you’ve managed to do, you’ll feel a shift in your mindset. It might creak a little, but it will shift.
- Practice until the mindset embeds. Steps 1 and 2 won’t slip neatly into your daily pattern. You must consciously make time for them. The clients who have made the best mindset shifts have blocked out time in the schedule each week to review their progress, recognise their successes, find lessons in their failures and refresh their sense of purpose. The more often you do this, the easier it becomes because it strengthens those neural pathways in your brain. You disrupt your old “imposter” thinking and establish a healthier, more positive mindset.
Expand Your Network
As an executive, there will be times when you lead your organisation in such a new direction that your colleagues will doubt you. Peer groups tend to act as a reinforcement of the status quo, so as you shift from your traditional way of thinking and doing things to embrace new ideas and processes, it’s only natural most of your relationships will also change.
Whenever I have needed to shift my mindset, this one truth has been the hardest to accept, but we need to embrace changes in our relationships as we grow. Part of the process of expanding your mindset includes expanding how you view those around you and learning what to hold on to, and what to let go.
As your mindset shifts, it becomes easier to allow others who were once very close to you to follow their own paths. As you begin to change as a person, every connection and relationship that you have will reflect that change and growth, and that is a good thing. It frees you to see out new connections with others who share your same interests, convictions and beliefs and who will support you as you seek further growth.
How have you changed your mindset in the past?