Official Diagnosis: Imposter Syndrome

public speaking

Imposter syndrome – the unwelcome houseguest that overstays its welcome.

Zac speaking at event

On a chilly November Wednesday, amid the polished surroundings of Metro Bank, Holborn, something remarkable unfolded. Zac Cannon, recruitment sector specialist and an essential part of our Client Success team, after being stuck in a Central Line delay that nearly caused him a panic attack, took to the stage at the Recruitment Leader Winter Summit 2023. His mission? To demystify the enigma that is ‘working with an advisor’ and to prove to recruitment business owners that in order to achieve their personal, financial and business goals, they need specialists to help them get there.

BUT… in the lead up to the event itself, Zac received a rather unwelcome diagnosis.

Imposter Syndrome.

Let’s face it – imposter syndrome is the unwelcome houseguest that overstays its welcome in the minds of many professionals. Whether you are our CEO (Mitch Hahn), or a dad doing the first BBQ of the summer, it lurks in the shadows, whispering doubts in our ears and making us question our own competence.

But, fear not! Zac, armed with preparation, wisdom, a practice session with Mitch and Ashlee (CMO) and a hint of humour, delivered a talk that was not just a speech but a huge success for him personally, as he managed to push himself outside of his comfort zone and ultimately, gain confidence in knowing that he can truly make an impact on the lives of business owners.

So, what exactly is imposter syndrome?

Picture this, you’re at the height of your career, standing in a room full of industry experts, and suddenly, a nagging voice in your head starts asking, “Do you really belong here?” That, my friends, is imposter syndrome – the ultimate party crasher in the celebration of your success.

For Zac, who has been with us since he was a boy in short trousers, this voice started to build up in the lead up to the event.

“Why should they listen to me?” “Am I too young to be taken seriously?”

Alas, when sitting down with our CEO to help tackle these concerns, Zac was reminded of the fact that he has helped recruitment businesses (both start-ups and established agencies) to scale up, plan for exit and increase revenue. See, that’s the thing with Imposter syndrome – even if you have an entire log book of achievements, it can creep up on you anyway.

When speaking to Mitch about Imposter Syndrome, and how he knew just what to say to Zac to help him overcome it, he said, “As someone who sometimes personally grapples with the discomfort of stepping outside my own comfort zone, I understand the challenges people face when I encourage them to undertake tasks that are unfamiliar or intimidating. 

However, I firmly believe in the transformative power of embracing these challenges. There’s a profound sense of achievement that comes after conquering these fears, both for me and the team. This journey, though fraught with uncertainty and self-doubt, leads to remarkable personal and professional growth. 

The exhilaration that follows the realisation of having achieved something we initially perceived as daunting is incomparable. It’s not just about completing a task, it’s about breaking through self-imposed barriers, building resilience, and unlocking new levels of potential. 

This process promotes a culture of continuous learning and innovation, turning apprehension into a triumphant sense of accomplishment. Witnessing this transformation in myself and the team is a testament to the incredible benefits of stepping beyond what’s comfortable.

It is no secret that we have a dynamic team that are way ahead of their years and I am extremely proud of them.”

During Zac’s speech at the event, Zac urged the audience of over 70 recruitment business owners to view business advisors not as the Gandalfs of the business world, wielding magical spells, but as personal trainers, guiding us through the hurdles and helping us flex our professional muscles. In a world full of unsolicited advice and endless business gurus, good business advisors should become the navigators, steering you through the storm with a steady hand.

And, unlike other accountants, we have a real talent for making the complex simple, Zac – confidently and articulately injected humour into his talk. This ultimately lightened the mood, helped him to feel at ease and therefore, helped the audience to feel warm towards him too.

When reflecting on the day, Zac said, “Public speaking is a mix of nerves and excitement—a real rollercoaster. Last year when I delivered my first ever talk, it taught me the beauty of embracing imperfections and being authentic. Overcoming imposter syndrome meant recognising that being myself is my superpower. This time around, after being invited back, nerves were present, but so was the joy of sharing, and having the support of my amazing boss made all the difference. Lesson learned: Embrace your authentic self, nerves and all!”

As we navigate our careers and business journeys, let’s take a page from Zac’s playbook. So, here’s to stepping outside the comfort zone in 2024 and beyond.

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