The Braving Business Blog

Serial Entrepreneur, Consultant and Host of The Braving Business Podcast

Published on

19 Oct 2023

Read time

5 min

Written by

Tal Zlotnitsky

Navigating the world of entrepreneurship, I’ve faced a multitude of challenges. Yet, there’s a subtle, persistent whisper that occasionally drifts into my thoughts: “Do I really belong here?” This internal doubt, this feeling of being an imposter — known as imposter syndrome — isn’t unique to me. According to a Psychology Today article, around 70 percent of adults may experience impostor syndrome at least once in their lifetime.

In candid conversations on the Braving Business Podcast, we’ve heard from highly accomplished individuals, like our guest Francisco Sanchez, former Undersecretary of Commerce for President Obama and special assistant to President Clinton, who confided feeling like an imposter when he was initially included in daily meetings with the president’s chief of staff. Our guest Brandon Pipkin, who has led numerous leadership workshops, recently said on our podcast that he’s rarely met a successful entrepreneur who didn’t experience imposter syndrome at some point.

Recognizing this shared sentiment was both a shock and a consolation. It’s not just about numbers, but the realization that many of us, from different walks of life, face this internal challenge. I’d like to share how I have dealt with this challenge in my career:

Step 1: Embrace Vulnerability

Admitting that I feel like an imposter at times was half the battle. By acknowledging it, I started the process of stripping its power. In my journey, I’ve found that gently reminding myself that it’s normal for me to feel this way, and at times confiding to trusted peers, not only lightened my emotional load but often led to less anxiety, mutual ‘confessions’ and stronger bonds. There’s strength in knowing I’m not alone, so that’s one benefit, but beyond that being transparent about it affirms our shared humanity and vulnerability.

Step 2: Celebrate Achievements, Big and Small

I find it essential to remind myself of my accomplishments and why I embarked on this entrepreneurial journey in the first place. From small victories to significant milestones, each success story has the power to serve as a testament to my capabilities and counter any imposter narrative I may have in my mind. I’ve made it a practice to occasionally list my achievements in my journal, to help ground my perspective.

Step 3: Continuous Learning and Mentorship

Imposter syndrome often stems from the fear of being “found out.” To counteract this, I’ve made it a point to keep learning. By continually updating my skills and knowledge, I boost my confidence. Moreover, seeking mentorship and guidance has been invaluable, even as I round the bend to the later stages of my career. Hearing from those who’ve been in my shoes, learning how they tackled their own feelings of inadequacy, has been both enlightening and encouraging.

In Conclusion

Facing and overcoming imposter syndrome is an ongoing journey, not a destination. It’s about recognizing the feeling, confronting it, and using it as a catalyst for growth. I’ve come to see it not as a weakness but as a reminder to stay humble, keep learning, and above all, remember that I am not alone in this.

Neither are you, so keep braving it!

About Tal Zlotnitsky

Serial Entrepreneur Tal Zlotnitsky is currently a global transformation consultant to Fortune 500 clients, and founder of Tech Startup Breez AI.  Previously, he was the co-founder & CEO of iControl Mobile, now part of ParkMobile, as well as co-founder & CEO of iControl Data, a B2B payments company, where he raised $20 million from Goldman Sachs and built an enterprise that still processes billions of dollars in annual payments for tens of thousands of retailers in all 50 states.  He has also founded, co-founded, invested in and sat on the boards of Our.LoveJetComfyUgoMagi Foods, NewsOne, sold in 2009 to NNA, and Current Companies, sold in 2008 to Hudson News. A proud dad and granddad, Tal believes that awareness, compassion (including self-compassion) and respect are the keys to joy and success.

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