Have you ever experienced the following?
- A reluctance to call yourself an ‘expert’ as you fear you don’t know everything and will be seen as a fraud.
- Feeling the need to work extra hard for a client as you don’t feel good enough.
If you have, you are not alone. These are common feelings when you have imposter syndrome and many entrepreneurs experience this at some point in their career.
This blog post will explain what imposter syndrome is, how it can reveal itself and how to deal with imposter syndrome when it rears its ugly head.
What is imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon in which you feel like you are a fraud regardless of your prior achievements. You doubt your abilities, talent and success and feel that you got to where you are through luck rather than hard work, knowledge and preparation. You fear that people believe that you are more capable or competent than you actually are, and that you will be ‘found out’ for lack of knowledge or skill. Imposter syndrome is common amongst high achievers, and entrepreneurs including Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson and Howard Schultz have all confessed to experiencing it.
How can imposter syndrome reveal itself and impact business owners?
Imposter syndrome can hold you back from achieving your full potential. The entrepreneurial journey requires constant growth and you will be taken outside of your comfort zone many times; this is when imposter syndrome is likely to creep in and make you doubt yourself. Below are just a few ways in which imposter syndrome can show itself and impact business owners:
- You may stop trying new things that can help you move forward and grow
- You may avoid taking risks in business
- You may work overly hard for clients to compensate for not feeling good enough
- You may be constantly unhappy with your knowledge level, always try to learn more and are reluctant to call yourself an expert
- You may never be happy with the work that you do
- You may beat yourself up if you make a little mistake or do not know the answer to something
- You may procrastinate
- You say that your success is down to external factors
How to deal with imposter syndrome
You are probably wondering how to deal with imposter syndrome. We suggest the following ways:
1. Recognise that experiencing imposter syndrome is normal for a business owner
The first suggestion for how to deal with imposter syndrome is to accept that it is normal to experience it when running a business. As a business owner, getting out of your comfort zone is a common occurrence and feelings of inadequacy are likely creep in.
2. Remind yourself of your achievements
You probably have many happy customers. Whenever you start to doubt yourself, read your customer testimonials to remind yourself of the difference you have made and continue to collect new testimonials. If you have a journal and you note your past wins, refer back to this. Big and small are all worth acknowledging. If you do not do this, start today! All of these will remind you of the value you provide and the impact you have made on many clients or customers.
3. Do not compare yourself to others
The next suggestion for how to deal with imposter syndrome is to stop comparing yourself to other business owners! This will leave you feeling inadequate. Accept that everyone is different, we all have our own journey to experience and you are unique. There will always be people ahead of you and behind you. The only person you should be competing with is yourself.
4. Surround yourself with people who are on the same journey as you
It can be incredibly difficult to experience the entrepreneurial journey alone. By surrounding yourself with other business owners by joining a networking group or business club, you will feel supported, bounce back from self-doubt and know you are not alone.
5. Accept failure as part of the process and learn from it
As an entrepreneur, you will always experience failure in some shape or form. If you look at failure as a natural part of the entrepreneurial process, you can accept it. And when failure comes, use it as something to learn from to help you avoid making the same mistakes again.
6. See a therapist
If all else fails, see a therapist. Therapists can help you gain clarity on what you are experiencing and relieve your self-doubt linked to imposter syndrome.
By recognising when imposter syndrome kicks in and by applying these steps, you can have a good chance of dealing with it head on. For more tips on mindset, and other topics such as leadership and business, visit our blog homepage for more content.