Do you ever wonder, “Am I worthy?” Do you question whether your work or blog are ‘good enough?”
I know I have at various points throughout my life...but my decision to become an entrepreneur seemed to kick these insecurities into overdrive.
I’d love to tell you that this feeling goes away, but the truth is that imposter syndrome will rear its ugly head over and over again when you’re your own boss.
If you’ve experienced this at all, I have good news: You’re human and you’re on the right track.
No one is exempt from imposter syndrome.
That’s why it’s so important to face it. Because if you simply let it do its thing, imposter syndrome will kill your business.
It’s hard to believe that imposter syndrome didn’t exist (at least by name) prior to the late 1970s when it was identified by Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Their research showed that many high-achieving women experienced something called the ‘imposter phenomenon’, which meant that “many tended to believe they were not intelligent and that they were over-evaluated by others.”
The scariest part when it comes to imposter syndrome is that it can keep you stuck and prevent you from taking action on important projects.
But it doesn’t have to be a “normal” part of solopreneurship; nor does it have to be the death sentence it can feel like.
I’m here to help you identify the ways imposter syndrome shows up for you, then develop an action plan to help you move past it faster next time. Because I believe the feelings of imposter syndrome are actually a promise of, or a prerequisite to, the great things yet to come.
4 simple steps to identify imposter syndrome in your business:
Develop a confidence meter. When you have confidence in yourself and your abilities, you’re less likely to feel like a fraud. The greater amount of confidence you have in your work, the easier it’ll be able to spot moments of imposter syndrome.
Kick comparisonitis to the curb. One sure fire way to discredit your expert status is to look at what others are doing. Remember: Only you can set benchmarks for you. You have no idea what that person went through to get where they are and you would be better off devoting that attention to your own business. (And any time spent looking at others can be done strategically.)
Check your self talk. Are you labeling yourself as a failure based on someone else's success? If you find that you’re bashing yourself more than usual, chances are imposter syndrome is right around the corner.
Recognize your wins. Imposter syndrome tends to show up when you’re upleveling. This is also known as an upper limit problem. As you challenge old habits, grow, and expand, part of your mind will try to keep you safe by trying to convince you not to take risks or halt your development.
Uncommon cures for imposter syndrome
I have good and bad news now.
The bad news is that you can’t prevent imposter syndrome entirely. Even the best mindset teachers experience it.
The good news is that I’ve identified three strategies that are both helpful and easy to implement, to help you move past it quicker next time it shows up:
1. Connect with your friends
One of the key reasons why imposter syndrome creeps up in solopreneurs in particular is because we tend to work from home or in isolation more than others.
Even though you work from home, it’s important to have some sort of contact with others.
Here are a few of my favorite activities to connect with my friends:
- Co-working days. Just having a change of scenery and a bit of company can be enough. Get out for a coffee chat or arrange a virtual coffee chat.
- Role playing. Try hopping on the phone with your accountability buddy or friend and telling her some of what’s floating around in your head. Sometimes the simple trick of sharing your self talk out loud can help you identify the lies you are telling yourself more easily.
- Instant/text messages. Sometimes meeting in person or hopping on the phone aren’t the best or most convenient options. If that’s the case, you can turn to instant/text messages. I used this trick the last time I was experiencing imposter syndrome. Just sending a quick message with my fears and concerns to someone else allowed me to boost my mood and reminded me that I could do anything. I went on to deliver my first live talk with great success.
2. Create your affirmations, then write them down
Psychologists have found that affirmations can help shift one’s self esteem.
But, sometimes just saying your affirmations doesn’t work. If this is the case for you, try writing them down.
Here’s a fun exercise: Break out your journal or a sheet of paper and write down 3-5 affirmations to combat your top fear.
For example, “I am worthy.” “I am successful.” “It’s ok to ask for money for my services.” “I am worthy and deserving of success.”
When you feel or hear that imposter syndrome lurking about, revisit that sheet of paper and read them, then recite them out loud...on repeat.
3. Catalog the good
I like to use social media to combat imposter syndrome.
Here’s how: I’ve created a Pinterest board devoted to imposter syndrome and I look at it whenever I need to boost my confidence or find inspiration. I’ve also created a private board, called smile, where I keep screenshots of my client testimonials. That way I can see how I’ve helped my clients and own my expert status. Create your own rainy day file and put it somewhere you can easily reference it.
Now: Create your action plan
Now you know exactly what steps you can take the next time your imposter syndrome shows up. But, will you?
The truth is after reading the cures, one of these four thoughts likely floated through your mind:
“It’s too easy.”
“It won’t work for me.”
“Whatever. I’m just not ready.”
“I’m waiting for a sign.”
I want to encourage you to notice these thoughts for what they really are -- lies. The three unlikely cures for imposter syndrome are too easy not to implement, and they can work for everyone.
As I write this post, I’m thinking, “Who am I to write a post about imposter syndrome? I’m just not ready.”
To push past this, I asked myself two questions -- part of my affirmations:
What would I do if I were ready?
When will I be ready?
Since my answer to the second question was, “I don’t know”, I decided to go ahead and implement my answer from the first question (and I just did it).
If I had allowed those thoughts to get the best of me, you wouldn’t be reading this post.
Embrace imposter syndrome
You are expert enough, good enough, and ready enough to take on (and conquer) whatever journey lies in front of you.
It’s your constant desire to be better that is going to fuel your creative inspiration and set you apart from everyone else.
You are unique. You are valued. And, it’s impossible to fake that.