If you landed on this blog and don’t know what imposter syndrome is and how to beat it, we’ll be telling you everything you need to know as a business owner facing what’s actually a common thing. Let’s get into it.
Now, tell us if any of these thoughts sounds like something you’ve said to yourself:
I don’t feel qualified to run my business.
I’ve only gotten lucky to get to my business where it is.
People are going to find out I’m not equipped to run this business.
If any of these thoughts are familiar, then it sounds like you’ve got a case of imposter syndrome.
What is imposter syndrome?
What exactly is imposter syndrome, you might be asking?
While it’s not a real diagnosable syndrome, it’s still a very real thing that happens to people. In 1985, researcher Dr. Clance first noticed the phenomenon that people experience intense feelings that they don’t deserve their achievements and are going to be outed as frauds.
While it’s been decades since the phenomenon has been observed, people all over the world today still experience it.
In fact, a recent 2020 study found that up to 82% of surveyed individuals battle these feelings.
You might think experiencing imposter syndrome doesn’t have much of an effect in your day-to-day life outside of dealing with negative thoughts—but it can actually have some serious repercussions.
For instance, as an entrepreneur, you might feel insecure in your role leading and running your business. This might translate to playing small and letting opportunities like partnerships go by because you think you aren’t qualified.
Or you refuse to ask for help to navigate these thoughts because you think you’re the only one going through them. Many people experiencing imposter syndrome also feel isolated, believing they’re the only ones going through these thoughts.
How do you overcome imposter syndrome?
Surprisingly, one key to making sure you overcome imposter syndrome (and any problem) is being aware of it.
So if you’re convinced that you feel like an imposter in your journey as a business owner, it helps to remember you’re not alone and that many people feel the same way you do—even if it isn’t obvious.
Read on because we want to show you seven actionable tips to beat imposter syndrome in your business, and unlock the next level.
7 tips to help overcome imposter syndrome as a business owner
Right before we dive in, remember that all the tips we share below aren’t an overnight solution. While they certainly help in the moment you’re trying them, the key is repetition.
Commit to these seven simple habits, and you’ll soon find yourself on the right track to beating imposter syndrome for good.
Separate facts from negative self-talk
Perhaps one of the most important first steps to beating imposter syndrome is remembering that any thoughts you might get about your qualifications is self-talk—or your inner voice.
And we’re only human. As much as we want our inner voices to be relentless cheerleaders 100% of the time, we’re all prone to self-doubt.
Imposter syndrome manifests in negative self-talk, and that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a fact.
If your self-talk is saying you aren’t qualified to run your business, or that you’ve only gotten lucky to get to where you are, remind yourself that these aren’t facts.
Whenever a thought like that hits, try to ask yourself: “Is this really a fact, or is it just my self-talk?”
Once you realize so much of your imposter syndrome presents itself as negative self-talk, you can move on to actually identifying the facts around your situation.
For example, your negative self-talk tells you that you aren’t qualified to run and grow a business.
If you dig deep for some real facts, you might say that you’ve been unqualified to do things before, but you always had a drive and grit to learn and adapt.
Learning to separate facts from negative self-talk can be challenging. But mastering it over time can help you overcome imposter syndrome for good.
Celebrate wins big and small
Jumping off the first tip, another way to get a hold of imposter syndrome is celebrating all your wins.
No matter if they’re big or small, your wins in business matter.
Scored a new partner for a giveaway collaboration? Celebrate!
Made a record-breaking month of sales? Celebrate!
Doing this in your business helps you keep track of the “facts” we mentioned in the previous point. So next time the imposter syndrome hits and you don’t feel like you deserve what you’ve accomplished, you have real wins to look back on and set your story straight.
Ditch the perfectionism
One big reason you might keep falling victim to imposter syndrome? Having a perfectionist mindset.
While it’s great to strive for excellence and work done well, it’s another to never be satisfied with what you’ve already done.
Imagine imposter syndrome as perfectionism extended—if you’re always unsatisfied with the progress in your business, then you’ll always feel like you don’t deserve the accomplishments you actually receive.
When you want to keep the imposter syndrome in check, work on your perfectionism too.
Here are some quick tips if you’re on Team Recovering Perfectionist:
- Keep your goals realistic
- Set time limits and deadlines you know you can commit to
- Focus on results you can control (e.g. “reach out to 10 potential businesses for collaborations”) versus the ones you can’t (e.g. “double my sales from 10 collaborations”)
- Remember mistakes aren’t wrong—and they’re opportunities to learn
Your imposter syndrome is telling you that you don’t deserve the things you’ve achieved. One thing that can trigger those thoughts could be when you make mistakes or fall short of your goals.
Remind yourself that you’re only human. Learning takes time and you’re getting one step closer to your goals each day. Be realistic about your strengths and limitations and take the pressure off.
Attaining self-acceptance before you’ve reached your “final goal” is a big win in itself—remember that.
Remind yourself of past growth
Planning ahead helps set you up for success. But being too focused on the future makes us forget about our wins!
It’s healthy to remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Schedule a day each week to write down the little wins you’re proud of. You could journal, or simply jot it down in bullet points in your note-taking app.
Celebrating small successes helps you remember that you’re on track to becoming the business owner you envision yourself to be!
Ask yourself: “Who told you that?”
Chances are, no one did.
Our mind loves to play tricks on us. Believe it or not, no one is obsessing over your progress more than you are. Sometimes, the voices in our heads become so real, we trick ourselves into thinking that it’s the truth.
Negative self-talk is one of the key reasons why we stop chasing our dreams. Instead of putting yourself down, you need to be your very best cheerleader.
Journaling is a great tool to help you identify negative thoughts and to put a lid on it. Everytime you experience a wave of anxiety, or tell yourself you’re not enough, ask yourself “who told you that?”
Get down to the root of it. More often than not, you’d realize that the person who doubts you the most is yourself, and not anyone else!
If there’s someone in your life who reaffirms your insecurities, take a step back and ask yourself if they truly have your best interests at heart.
If not, let it go. Keep only those who know you and love you for who you are closest to you.
Be willing to fail…and learn
Failing is scary, but failing is part of the process!
Failing helps you learn and master your craft. It helps you avoid mistakes in the future, and it teaches you to be resilient—all of which are essential characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.
Attaining success isn’t just about hitting sales numbers, it’s about learning how to bounce back from failures.
Don’t let your fear of failure keep you from building your business. Instead, learn to embrace failure and see them as opportunities to grow!
Here’s an easy journaling technique to help you learn from your failures:
- Create 3 columns. In the first, write down a failure you’ve recently experienced.
- In the second column, jot down some learning points you’ve had.
- In the third column, jot down how you will approach a similar situation differently in the future.
Say goodbye to imposter syndrome, entrepreneurs
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