Starting a whole new venture from scratch is certainly no walk in the park. Every day, you will be pushed out of your comfort zone. You will have to confront new obstacles that you won’t know how to handle and tackle problems that you haven’t been trained to deal with.
Working through so many unknowns on a regular basis is not only challenging – it can also really impact your self-esteem. After all, nobody likes to feel inadequate or like they’re ill-equipped to handle what life is throwing at them.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret … SO many entrepreneurs feel this way. In fact, I’ll go on the record to say that EVERY business owner has felt this way at one time or another.
Now, I’ll let you in on one more secret … you already possess an innate skill that will help you overcome those waves of self-doubt and those moments of “What the hell have I gotten myself into?!” It’s actually a skill that the best, brightest, most successful people in the world have been using for millennia.
It’s your leadership alter ego.
Beyonce has one. Kobe has one. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent have one too. Okay, those last two people are fictional but you catch my drift. Your alter ego can help you move past those limiting beliefs that want to keep you in your place and silence that little voice in your head that says you can’t charge that price or land that dream client.
So how do you activate your own alter ego? There are four key steps you need to follow.
Identify your own confidence gaps
As an entrepreneur, you have to play multiple roles. You have to be a subject matter expert, a marketer, salesperson, administrator, the list goes on.
Creating an alter ego to fit all of these roles would be far too complicated. Instead, try coming up with one that embodies certain traits and abilities that will help you be your best self in a specific situation where you might lack confidence.
Create an alter ego that has the characteristics you admire
Ask yourself: who would you love to channel as a leader in your business? Or if you get anxious during specific situations like public speaking or closing a deal, what alter ego would you want to embody at that time?
For example, I have a coaching client who is a freelance writer turned agency owner. While she’s confident in her creative abilities, she’s less sure of herself in situations where she has to sell her services or negotiate a contract.
So she created an alter ego who’s a total #boss. Someone who’s a straight talker that doesn’t bow down to anybody. Think Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. And at those times that she feels unsure of herself, this is the alter ego she taps into.
Find something to help you channel your new alter ego
There’s a psychological phenomenon called “enclothed cognition,” which basically means that your clothes can not only affect your psychological state but also how you perform. This can be extremely helpful for tapping into your alter ego.
For instance, the client I mentioned earlier is a pretty casual sneaker-and-jeans type of dresser. But wearing heels and a fashion-forward outfit helps her tap into her Miranda Priestly-esque magazine editor alter ego.
Your alter ego item can be anything. For example, Beyonce would wear a shiny robot glove when she channelled her Sasha Fierce alter ego. Even Dr. Martin Luther King reportedly wore non-prescription glasses because he thought they made him look ‘distinguished.’
Unfortunately, we’re not all born with an innate sense of confidence. The rest of us have to ‘fake it ‘till we make it’. But as you’ll come to see, the more you tap into your leadership alter ego, the more you’ll realize that your leadership alter ego isn’t an alter ego at all. It’s you. YOU are your leadership alter ego. They are one and the same.
It’s just the version of you that doesn’t conform to what others say you should be or who you thought you had to be. The version of you that knows exactly who they are and the things at which you excel. The version of you that stands completely and confidently in their zone of genius.
You have the power to show up with more confidence, clarity and certainty. You just have to own it.