On Tuesday night, I was at an event with 50+ people from the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. The reception was in Coutts HQ, London and it was rather a good evening, which showcased some of their previous winners.
I have been selected as a judge for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, in the creative category. Of course, I am massively honoured to get through the selection process.
BUT now to the subject of this post. When I first heard about my acceptance, my instinct was to turn down the opportunity.
The reason: it’s massively out of my comfort zone.
I love helping people in business, but I felt like I’m not successful enough to help. I mean I’m not a billionaire, a multimillionaire, or even, dare I say, a millionaire. So what can I say that will have any bearing on other peoples’ futures?
Self-promotion is what is quite uncomfortable for me. I’m OK with promoting my brands, but promoting myself makes me feel like the imposter in a room full of highly successful people.
If you’re anything like me, self-promotion almost seems like a dirty word, but shying away from selling or promoting yourself is daft. It means people never hear about all the great stuff you can do, you miss out on business opportunities, you miss out on partnerships and you also miss out on great employees.
I’ve heard people say that you should build a brilliant product and the customers and notoriety will follow. Whilst I agree with that to a point, it is a slow process. So you need to supercharge that notoriety by building a great product and then doing some measured self-promotion. Which is what is quite uncomfortable for me. It’s fine promoting my brands, but promoting myself makes me feel like the imposter in a room full of highly successful people.
So before attending the event, I had to remind myself that, actually, I do know a bit. I worked on the first ever Lego retail store in the UK, I worked on a megastore for Vodafone Portugal when I was employed. Then I’ve had my own products in the lobby of the BBC World Service building and on lots of TV shows. I also have an enviable roster of brands and startups in our back-catalogue of work. So maybe I do have something to contribute.
Tim Ferris often says, “if you’re the smartest person in the room you’re in the wrong room” and so making yourself uncomfortable in this way can be of benefit. Getting out of your office and meeting people further down the line than you can be difficult, but it has huge upside potential.
P.S. If you feel the same way, it’s ok. There’s a label for it – it’s called Imposter Syndrome.