It is something so many of us deal with, especially entrepreneurs. In the world of business, so many people feel like they have to have all the answers. When we don’t have all the answers we let the voice of doubt and feelings of impostor syndrome seep in. That voice of doubt sometimes speaks pretty loud, telling us we are fakes, frauds, and inadequate.
But before we go any further let’s just make sure we are all on the same page and understand what we are talking about here. Here is the definition…
“Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.”
Psychotherapist and relationship expert Kelly Flannigan Bos, of www.kellybos.com, explains impostor syndrome. “It comes from a negative internal belief that says you aren’t worthy or you don’t measure up. You discount your successes with the thought that you got lucky or faked your way through it”, says Bos Flannagan.
Fake. Fraud. Yup, those are the words that really are at the heart of impostor syndrome. We feel like we are a fraud and that we don’t have all the answers when it comes to our businesses.
“It is important to work through your self-defeating beliefs by finding new positive beliefs. The key here is finding ones you believe in,” says Flannigan Bos.
I often feel the best advice and tips come from people in our own communities. So I decided to ask some of the entrepreneurs I respect about how they overcome impostor syndrome in their own lives to embrace their awesomeness in business.
Lydia Di Francesco, Wellness Consultant Fit + Healthy 365
“My top tip for getting past impostor syndrome is to be mindful of who you follow on social media and avoid consuming too much of your competitors’ messaging. It’s helpful to be inspired or to learn from others, but when you start to feel “less than” or bad about yourself when viewing someone’s content, it’s time to stop following them. Focus on the excellent content you provide and how YOU are able to help others.”
Lara Wellman, Business Coach For Small Business Owners
“The first thing to remember is that pretty much everyone doubts themselves. No matter how successful someone seems, there are days when they’re asking themselves “why am I even doing this?” or “Maybe I should go get a regular job.” Doubt, fears, and impostor syndrome are part of most of our entrepreneur journeys. When you know to expect it’ll hit you from time to time, you know not to let it take control and convince you to stop taking action.
When you’re feeling stuck in that “who am I to …..” zone, call in your entrepreneurial support network. Whether it’s a friend, a coach, or someone you’ve partnered with through a program/accountability partner, find someone you can talk to when you’re feeling down and discouraged. Think about what you would say to them if they were feeling that way and know that they’ll have the same words of encouragement for you. Having your community and being willing to use them to pull you up when you’re feeling down can make all the difference.”
Suzanne Muir host of Spark! Women Entrepreneur Networking Group
“My top tip for getting past impostor syndrome is to know that everyone feels it and somehow that makes me feel less worried about what people think about me. I have always kind of lived by the motto “fake it till you make it” and feel that I can do anything, learn anything I put my mind to and with experience become masterful. To me, it’s just all part of a growth mindset. If I don’t know how to do it all really well YET that’s ok just keep taking action, learn from other and from my mistakes and keep moving forward.”
Flannigan Bos says overcoming impostor syndrome and accepting your own awesomeness is all about challenging your thinking. “You might not accept a statement from yourself that says, “I am the best PR person in the country” but you might have some personal buy into the statement that you work hard and want to do well for your clients. Find something that fits for you.”
About Christy A Laverty
Christy A Laverty has worked in several award-winning Canadian newsrooms, including CityTV, CBC, and 680News. She currently helps entrepreneurs figure out how to tell their stories, get visible and earn media mentions, features, and press. Find out more about Christy at www.ChristyALaverty.com