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Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

business mindset mindset success mindset May 31, 2023

Imposter Syndrome is one of those terms that many of us have heard, pretty much understand, but don't necessarily know what to do about.

WHAT is Imposter Syndrome?

The definition is "The persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills."

Those words make sense, but it isn't super helpful in understanding how this shows up in your life, why it shows up and what you can do about it.

Often Imposter Syndrome will show up as:

  • Fear:
    • Not being accepted or loved
    • Not knowing enough
    • Not being good enough
    • Failing publicly (or privately)
    • Standing out
    • Self-promotion
    • Being acknowledged for achievements; and/or
  • Guilt:
    • Not being there for your kids & family
    • Charging for something you love to do (and probably comes naturally to you)
    • Doing well while others aren't
    • Not being the person your friends & family are used to (because you've grown and developed as a person because of your business).

WHY does this happen?

Because of our conditioning, which is:

  • Conditioning happens from childhood 
  • Impacts how we see our abilities
  • Can be borne out of jealousy
  • Can be well meaning, based on the fears from others, that are then transferred to you through language
  • Could have been comments made to you about who you were as a child (which is not who you are now)
  • Something someone said about what you would amount to as an adult (perhaps a Guidance Counsellor at school), or how you performed at a competition or on a test
  • There are SO many little and big things that happen when we are children that influence who we become as adults
  • Others seeing your business as a "hobby" - it's NOT!
  • Societal stereotypes about women running a business (yes, it's still there!)
  • We then have to UNDO a lot of this and RECONDITION our minds.

As humans, we also have a "Negativity Bias", which is part of our survival instinct.  We are "trained" instinctively to look for anything that could harm us.  So, we often ignore anything good (that's just icing on the cake), and place extra importance on anything negative, to the point where we actually SEEK it out!

What this means is that we look for something that could hurt us, so we can stop it from happening, and this tends to show up as inaction (which we feel as confusion or overwhelm), to keep us "safe".  What ends up doing is to prevent us from growing.

HOW Can You Overcome this?

There are many ways, and so I don't overwhelm you, I'll go through 5 of what I consider to be the most significant for business owners: 

  1. People - surround yourself with the right people (friends, colleagues, other business owners, clients, etc.) who will understand what you're going through.  They will also cheer you on, give you honest feedback and be there to support you when you need it;
  2. Purpose - remember WHY you started your business and who you want to serve.  This will help motivate you when you question your bality or generally challenges arise (which they inevitably will);
  3. Gratitude - Write down 3 things you are grateful for in your business and life.  Keep emails and notes that clients have sent you saying thank you , and look back on these to remind yourself how wonderful you are and how you are truly helping others.;
  4. Systems - Using systems and processes help your business run smoothly, so you have the headspace, time and energy to devote to what will make your business money - you!  This will make you appear more professional and then also allow you to scale easier and faster;
  5. Failure - What a great teacher failure is! It provides you with a wealth of information and experience, which you can use in your business. It's also the fastest way to learn - fail fast, as the saying goes.

Imposter Syndrome is not something that you fix and it goes away, there will be triggers and events that will bring "stuff" back up again.  The key is to face your fear and to keep going through it.

Imposter Syndrome usually shows up when we are uplevelling or going through a transition, which requires extra energy, focus & clarity. 

I'll leave you with this great quote by Oprah Winfrey: "Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe".