In 2019, I spoke at Round 9 of Creative at Heart Conference. Thankfully my keynote session was on Day 1 so I only had to endure the CRAZY stage nerves for a few hours and then I had the pleasure of listening in to the many educators that graced the stage, breakout sessions, and panel times. And one of those breakouts finally helped me understand how to beat imposter syndrome for good!
Among the stellar lineup was Sarajane Case, the beautiful soul behind the hit Insta handle you may have heard of: @enneagramandcoffee.
She shared a breakout session on Enneagram and Work. During her talk, she walked through all 9 types and how to build a thriving business based on your unique personality. It was fascinating.
But let me back-up just a smidge.
Right before Sarajane’s session, I sat in on a panel discussing growing a team.
If we haven’t had the joy of meeting in person, Hi, I’m Megan. Your everyday average stereotypical Type B, head-in-the-clouds creative, right brained gal, ESFP on the Myers Briggs, and 7w8 on the Enneagram. Long story short: I was not created to manage. Or organize. Or plan.
I value spontaneity and can only name a few times in my life where I set a “goal” with a specific deadline and actually met it. Which makes growing a team…. difficult.
While that panel led session was so informative, engaging, and insightful on taking the next step as a business in growing a team, I walked out feeling completely overwhelmed. I questioned whether or not I was cut out for this entrepreneur thing. I questioned whether or not I could grow my business with my weaknesses in management, delegation, organization, and general lack of goal setting front and center.
And then I walked into Sarajane’s session.
What the Enneagram has to do with the kind of business you should build
I know not everyone is into studying personality types. I know we are more and capable of more than a description from a personality test, but the framework that they give to what makes you you is so insightful and intriguing to me.
By studying my personality, I’ve been able to better understand how I react both positively and negatively to the world around me and in my relationships.
You can imagine my excitement to learn from the Enneagram expert herself on how my unique core makeup applies to my work.
Sarajane opened with a profound point, “Understanding your core personality allows you to better build a business that is perfect for you rather than trying to change yourself for your business.”
SO simple. I know. But my eyes were opened to a whole new perspective on business.
Am I a routine-repelling, structure lacking, not-so-great at managing people business owner?
Does that mean I can’t build a thriving business?
Sarajane’s talk really gave me clarity in owning what makes me me so that I could build a business I enjoy and serve my customers in the way only I can.
It shook the very foundation I laid my business on. One compiled from this tip and that guru and that other advice on planning and goal setting and time-management and to-do’s for growth.
Well-meaning and intentional advice, but a foundation that fought against me on a daily basis because I could never live up to it. I’ve been on a journey for the past year of letting go of the “should-do’s” and finding myself again.
By peeling back the layers and restructuring my business in a way that works with my unique strengths instead of one built to constantly be in friction with my weaknesses has been a game changer.
Launching my membership program, The Digital Lab, after 9 years of business was the culmination of that internal work.
I threw out the rule book on how typical educational programs are built and dreamed up a completely new style of learning and community to help creatives who want to create and sell digital products with over 1,025 people and counting!
Finding you and forgetting imposter syndrome
I Googled the definition of imposter syndrome and this is what I found: “Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.”
Check. Check. Check. Been there. Felt all that. Imposter syndrome is no joke as a creative entrepreneur.
An imposter is literally someone who pretends to be someone else. When we spend SO much time in businesses looking outside of ourselves for what our branding and messaging should look and feel like, how our offers should be structured, hacking funnels to see how they sell their stuff, phoning a friend for advice, and getting distracted with comparison with strangers online, we lose sight of who WE are to the core.
It is time to pave your own path. To stop looking at what other people are doing in your industry and niche to determine what you should do. If you’re gonna do this: This building your dream business and life as a successful entrepreneur thing, you’ve gotta bring that magic that only you have.
I don’t have that feeling of imposter syndrome anymore because I’m not trying to show up in a way that I was never meant to.
So let me ask you, is your business working with your strengths or fighting against your weaknesses?
Hear me out: This isn’t a fixed mindset sorta thing. I’m learning and taking steps to find rhythms and structure in my business because I really do need help at this point, but the difference is I’m not holding myself up to the measurement stick of someone else’s standard.
Today I want to encourage you to take a step back and check the measurement stick you’re using to determine your success in business.
Is it built on a set of standards, ideals, and advice from someone else or is it built from the foundation of your strengths, talent, and values?
The beauty of small business is that YOU get to make the rules. You get to decide how a product is built or a service is created. You get to determine how you show up and the unique way you will serve your customers.
When you finally step into what makes YOU unique, you can thrive.
Go on, dream a little. It might lead to somethin’ good <3