Momentum Podcast: 521
by Alex Charfen
Full Audio Transcript
As entrepreneurs, we are that small, tiny percentage of the population that on a daily basis gets up and travels into the future, imagines a new reality, comes back to the present, and we insist it becomes real. In order to do that, we have to challenge the status quo and the people around us who believe in the status quo and what is already existing. We literally become contrarian just through being who we are, and in doing so, we will sometimes feel impostor syndrome. Sometimes we will feel it ongoing for a long time. I feel it. Every entrepreneur out there who's ever tried to do anything new feel it. If you feel it, I want you to know you are not alone. There are impostors everywhere.
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it.
We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. Instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
Impostor syndrome is a topic I've done on this podcast over and over again, and there's a reason, because so many of us as entrepreneurs feel impostor syndrome. Here's what it is. It's that feeling when you're going to go do something new or do something you haven't done before or set out to accomplish a goal that you have, and that voice in your head says you are not good enough. You shouldn't do this. You can't do this. What, are you crazy? It starts to tear you down. It's that voice in the back of our minds that says you can't do this.
I wanted to share a quick story about this. It's interesting. A few weeks ago, I was at an event, and we were talking about public speaking. I was in a small group, and I was talking about a speech that I had given. A woman in the group said, "It's so amazing that you can just get up and speak whenever you want to. I have this fear of public speaking and fear of impostor syndrome. I wish I was like you and I never felt impostor syndrome." There was a big group of people around us and they all heard her say that. I stopped her and I said, "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Stop. I want to make sure no one here is misled by the statement you just made because I feel impostor syndrome all the time."
When it comes to public speaking, it's something that I've been doing since I was 13 years old. I've had a tremendous amount of instruction. I've been on thousands of stages. I've been in front of audiences. That's my happy place. That's easy, but when it comes to recording a podcast, every one I record, ironically even this one called impostors everywhere, right when I'm about to hit the button, I hear that voice saying, hey, you probably shouldn't do this. When I set a goal, when I set an outcome, when I say I'm going to get it in shape or I'm going to do something or whatever it is, I have that same impostor syndrome pushing back at me. When I have somebody reach out to me and say, "Hey, we want you to be part of a big project."
In fact, you want to hear some serious, intense impostor syndrome I recently felt? I had an Emmy award-winning producer reach out to me to talk about possibly doing a documentary on the entrepreneurial personality type, which has been a dream of mine since I first came up with the concept and started writing about it and sharing it and speaking it. I actually wrote this on a list of potential goals that our company should ... not potential. I actually wrote it on a list of goals. I said we're going to have an Emmy award-winning or an award-winning documentary. Here, years ago, I write down we're going to have an award-winning documentary. I actually have Nick Nanton reach out to me and propose that we do a documentary. You know what I felt? Am I good enough? Should I be in a documentary? Is now the right time? Have I done enough? Is it significant enough? Am I going to live with it for the rest of my life?
All of the impostor syndrome questions were there. Even though this is something I wanted, even though some might say this is something I manifested because I wrote it down years ago. I've been thinking about it and now it's in my life, and then I immediately start fighting it.
If you felt that way, if you come up against these feelings, I want you to know you are not alone. Everyone feels it. I feel it. Our clients feel it. Honestly, the only people I know who don't feel it, there's something a little off. They don't really feel fear or they don't really feel challenged or trepidation of any kind. They don't really have a filter, and they're okay with just charging forward with no reservations, but they're rarely successful. The reality is that people who feel impostor syndrome are the ones who end up breaking through and becoming successful and making things happen.
Here's why this is so important. Number one, I want you to know that impostor syndrome will always be there. I think we all feel like we're going to hit this day in our lives where everything gets easier or we're going to hit this time period, a period of achievement where we no longer feel impostor syndrome. We no longer feel like we're not enough. We no longer feel like there are challenges, but I want you to know something. As long as you are growing, it's going to be there because another thing you have to understand is growth equals vulnerability equals ambiguity equals stepping into the unknown. Because we are that small percentage of the population that is always, always doing something new, we are always on the edge of vulnerability and ambiguity and unknown because we're always growing. If you want to eliminate impostor syndrome, it's easy. Stop growing, and there's no way you would ever do that. I know you're not going to stop growing, so you're going to feel it over and over again.
Here's what I want you to understand about this. The real world actually wants us to feel this way. The real world, the people out there, the crowd, they don't want entrepreneurs like us changing the world. We intimidate people. We scare people. They want the world to stay the same. What we really want is we want the world to evolve and change and change the status quo and challenge the status quo and make things better. The fact is the world wants us to stay this way. If you want support for your impostor syndrome, you will find it.
If you have a great idea, go tell your friends and they'll probably tell you not to do it. If you have a great ... who aren't entrepreneurs. If you have a great idea, go tell your family who is not entrepreneurs and I guarantee you, you won't do it. If you want support for your impostor, if you want them ... If you want your impostor to have an ally in this fight, you can find it in a heartbeat.
Here's what I think you need to know. One, everyone feels this. The first step is action kills the impostor and nothing else does. That means sitting down every single day and moving forward. That means pushing that growth bar to the place where it feels uncomfortable. In fact, you're not alone. The reality is what's hard today, what feels like impostor syndrome today, what's difficult for you today will get easy over time. You know how I just shared with you that for me, getting on stages is no big deal. When I was 13 years old, I got into Rick Lara's speech class and I learned how to speak in front of an audience. The first time that I ever found out I was going to speak in front of an audience in front of his class or that I was in this speech class, it was a class called forensics, I thought it was going to have something to do with science. It was actually a speech class.
The first time that I found out I was going to be speaking in front of the room, I had a panic attack. I had a legit straight up face was hot, sweating in my chair, panic attack over knowing that I was going to speak the next day. When I first started public speaking at 13 years old, I had such impostor syndrome I was shaking when I went up to the front of the room. It was difficult for me to get words up. My voice would crack, and I was already through puberty, but today, no big deal. I can walk in front of any audience anywhere, even unprepared and carry a room for as long as somebody needs me to in an event because I took action, and I took action over and over again. I was in Rick Lara's speech class. I had to. I didn't have a choice, but what was an uphill climb, getting in front of the room in his class felt like Mount Everest.
Today, getting in front of the room in his class would feel like the greatest thing that I ever had an opportunity to do. In fact, I went back years later, over 20 years later and spoke at his class and donated computer lab to the classroom. It was actually called the Charfen Speech Room at one point. Going back there and speaking, the contrast was crazy. When I went back to speak in his class, when I got to speak to the same type of audience I was in when I was 13, it was a joy. As you kill the impostor, what you will find is the things that scare you the most, the things that the hardest, the things that feel like you shouldn't do them eventually become the things that run your life and the things that you bring to the table where you create value. What was hard will get easy if you kill the impostor.
Here's one last thing I think you need to know. When you feel it, you're doing it right. When you feel impostor syndrome, when you feel that subconscious pushing back against you, when something is telling you that you're not good enough and you're not worthy, and you're not really moving forward. You know you shouldn't do this. Here's what I want you to know. You are on the edge of growth. You are on the bleeding edge of what you are capable of. You are forming new brain synapses. You are making new things happen in your life. You are invoking destiny to come to you and allow you to be who you've always known you should be. Because here's what I know about you, because of the fact that you're listening to my podcast, I know that in the back of your mind, there's always been this voice that when you access it, it will repeatedly tell you, you are meant for more. You are meant to do more, be more, leave more behind, leave an impact here and make things happen.
I know that that voice is a voice that sometimes you're afraid to even lean into, to admit that it's there. Maybe you've never told anybody in your life. That's okay. I want you to know it's okay because it's frightening. It's frightening to be one of the people who has a voice telling them that they are chosen to change the world. It's frightening to be one of the people who's going to take responsibility for evolving humanity, evolving who we are. It's hard to be one of the people that's going to expose yourself to the vulnerability and the ambiguity and the unknown of growing and making something happen and changing the world. We both know that there's nothing else out there for you that you really want, and that this is what you've always been destined to do, and that changing the world is a course that you've been on since you can remember, and that that voice is not going away.
What I want you to know is every day, when you feel uncomfortable, move forward. When you hear that voice that says you're not good enough, do it anyway. When you hear that voice that says you shouldn't be here, you're not worthy, you're not the person who should be doing this, move forward and you will kill the impostor. Evolve as a human being and become who you've always known you should be. Impostor syndrome is tough. It's one of the hardest things out there to get over, but when you are willing to push through it, that is when you will become who you've always known you should.
Thanks for listening to the podcast. I really appreciate it. If you want to move forward fast and grow your business and understand yourself better and who you are and maybe even have some insight into why you feel this drive, this need to create this momentum feeling of wanting to move forward, go to freemomentumbook.com and download a copy of the entrepreneurial personality type. I've had people tell me that this short book has told them more about themselves than anyone ever has, and it has become the manual for how they run their lives. If you want to understand the science of entrepreneurial achievement, go to freemomentumbook.com, get yourself a copy of the entrepreneurial personality type. I think it will be life changing for you. You, me and everyone else who's out there making it happen, let's go change the world, push forward, do what we need to do and kill the impostor.