Forget the Imposter Syndrome. You Have Pioneer DNA.

Working with leaders across diverse business sectors, I often hear this: I’m afraid people will find out I’m a fraud or imposter–and the game will be over. This little voice inside is common, and imposter syndrome is a constant, nagging fear.

Prepping for a workshop recently, I pored over my notes to see what drove those feelings, and an insight emerged. When viewed through the systemic lens, people with imposter syndrome are actually in the process of breaking limiting cycles–and stepping beyond the rules of the system can feel disconcerting. With good reason.

Order, belonging, and the balance of give and receive.

If we look at the three components inherent in all systems, we might notice a few commonalities among leaders with imposter syndrome:

With order: A leader may have had to step up at an early age and take a position that didn’t really belong to them. For example, filling in for a missing parent, stepping into shoes that felt too big.

In belonging: Leaders might feel lonely–or like an outsider entirely–until they learn to inspire supportive growth and create great teams.

Balance of give and receive has it own set of dynamics which determine the kind of leaders we will or can become, and whether we will be burdened, demanding or balanced leaders. With respect to imposter syndrome, many leaders feel like they may be overpaid and will either work tirelessly to justify it or feel guilty or even fail in order to restore what they perceive as balance.

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Turns out, people like this aren’t suffering from imposter syndrome at all.

In order for a system to grow, its members must extend the systemic boundaries, breaking limiting cycles and boundaries. These leaders may feel like imposters, or be viewed as mavericks and renegades. Truth is, there’s another more accurate descriptor for them.

They are pioneers. And they have the courage to do what others have not, to look at the world differently, and to take the steps to find the answers that are needed. Good leaders have to be more so that their teams can do more. It’s a crucial step for growth.

So, the next time you feel like an imposter, remember it’s the pioneer effect. You’re willing to be bigger–and the world gets to benefit.

Re-coding your Emotional DNA

Why is my family system so important to me?

We all belong to a family system–from before birth to after death. It’s our primary pattern-maker. We succeed or fail in collusion with, or reaction to, what has happened to those before us and the ways they think, act, feel, succeed or fail and even die. Following patterns is often our way of belonging to the system. It is deeply unconscious, yet faithfully and blindly repeated. And until we understand what lives in our family systems and the purpose it serves, we’re reacting to events in our lives through old and outdated patterns rather than creating our own lives.

How is Emotional DNA created?

Events create decisions. We support these decisions through unique language and actions with ourselves and others. What we tell and teach ourselves creates the way generations now react in similar situations. And that’s how systemic patterns are created. For example, an event might lead to you say, “I will never speak my mind again–it’s too dangerous.” This can become a pattern of withdrawal and a repeated behavior of not sharing thoughts or feelings.

In the very same way, positive patterns also emerge from events in our past and our ancestors’ lives, for example showing up as: “In our family we all become successful doctors.” We’re continually creating imprints that become blueprints for the way our systems act and react. Once we realize what lives in our systems, we also realize that we can break free of limiting cycles and make different choices.

How can I use Emotional DNA to achieve success, fulfillment and happiness?

Healthy Emotional DNA is created through first understanding and acknowledging the past exactly the way it is without wishing for it to be different. We need to know who and what belongs–all of it, its correct order or place, and the correct balance of give and receive. Once we achieve those three components of Emotional DNA then we can learn to make mindful choices going forward.

Physicians and mental health professionals have known for a while that our minds can influence our physical health, but we’re beginning to discover that our minds can also change a fate into a destiny. Once you learn to see patterns and understand what they mean to your system, you can begin to choose what you wish to repeat, grow and do differently in your life. You’ll find that even one simple word or small repetitive action can be an important part of unlocking and rewiring this system.

When you put these concepts into action, you begin to lay down different neural pathways. New insights and perspectives lead to new emotions and thoughts, which in turn lead to new language, choices and actions resulting in new outcomes. Research shows, that you may even be able to activate or deactivate the physical genes that you carry. So instead of being a helpless passenger, you can drive your future–and change your Emotional DNA for generations to come.