Combating Imposter Syndrome

“I still have a little impostor syndrome… It doesn’t go away, that feeling that you shouldn’t take me that seriously. What do I know? I share that with you because we all have doubts in our abilities, about our power and what that power is.” -Michelle Obama 

Imposter syndrome

For entrepreneurs, there is an incredible amount of pressure to succeed. With that, you may experience stress, and feelings like you aren’t worthy or capable of reaching your goals. It can be challenging facing the many roadblocks along the way, and you can begin to doubt yourself and your capabilities. This is commonly known as imposter syndrome and is quite common. So, today, let’s chat more about what this term means, and how you can combat imposter syndrome. 

What is Imposter Syndrome 

The National Library of Medicine describes imposter syndrome as the following: “Imposter syndrome (IS) is a behavioral health phenomenon described as self-doubt of intellect, skills, or accomplishments among high-achieving individuals. These individuals cannot internalize their success and subsequently experience pervasive feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, depression, and/or apprehension of being exposed as a fraud in their work, despite verifiable and objective evidence of their successfulness.”  

With 84% of entrepreneurs experiencing imposter syndrome, especially when the achieve success, this is a common feeling many have. The same study also discovered that over 20% of entrepreneurs are worried they will be discovered as lacking knowledge or expertise, and 20% of business owners often feel they have only found success due to luck. So, if you have questioned yourself as an entrepreneur, you certainly aren’t alone.  

Tips to combat imposter syndrome 

Purge perfectionism 

If you were to speak with most entrepreneurs, you would likely find that many of them struggle with perfectionism. The pressure to hold a high standard for yourself, your business, and your team can often lead to questioning or doubting your expertise, especially when any type of failure or mistake arises. Unfortunately, this way of thinking can impact your well-being as well as your ability to feel successful or fulfilled as you are constantly striving for perfection. Of course, it is a respectful quality to work hard, and provide quality and value to others; however, it is equally important to ensure your expectations are realistic and attainable.  

Celebrate success 

As business owners, it is challenging to celebrate personal wins along the way. We easily cheer on and encourage others, but doing the same for ourselves can be a struggle. This could be due to fear of looking arrogant or egotistical, but it is key to celebrate your hard work and success as you move throughout your journey as an entrepreneur. Since imposter syndrome can make individuals feel like they aren’t worthy of reaching notable milestones, or underestimate themselves, learning to acknowledge your achievements will play a large role in combating these feelings. So, the next time you reach a goal you are proud of, take the time to revel in your success, and build off that momentum. 

Talk about your feelings 

Imposter syndrome may make you feel inadequate, and avoiding talking about it can compound those negative feelings. Find a friend, family member or trusted colleague that you can talk to and find support and validation. Chances are, they have likely experienced, or are experiencing, similar thoughts.  

You might also want to journal your feelings as this is a helpful tool to help combat and work through your emotions. Keeping track of your achievements and putting them to paper may also offer reassurance as you read it back later. If you are struggling with significant emotions such as sadness or depression, that may be related to imposter syndrome, it is important to speak with a health professional.  

Imposter syndrome is common, and something you shouldn’t feel ashamed about. Understanding what you are feeling, and finding support, will help you feel less alone, and worthy of your success and achievements. 

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