Regardless of how successful you are and how long you’ve been successful there’s always at least one point in every entrepreneur’s career where they start to feel like a fraud. Perhaps you feel that when you start to become an expert in your field and become knowledgeable on a specific topic you start to feel like a fraud and like maybe you’re doing more pretending than anything else. If you’ve started to feel this as an entrepreneur then the chances are that what you’re feeling is imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome can affect anyone but it’s commonly seen in entrepreneurs and you might feel it as trying to “prove” that you’re worthy.
Often trying to prove your worthiness when you’re dealing with imposter syndrome only makes the situation worse. You’ll only push yourself to burnout which doesn’t accomplish anything and will only make things worse than what they are right now. To truly deal with imposter syndrome you have to tackle it head-on and deal with what’s making you feel this way. Start with recognizing that regardless of who you are or how successful you are this is an issue that everyone deals with at one point or another.
If you’ve been feeling moments of self-doubt about your achievements and think that your success can be contributed to pure luck then you might be feeling imposter syndrome. Specifically, these emotions hit us when we try to put ourselves out in the workplace and expand our knowledge or reach higher in the workplace.
If you’re worrying that you’re not able to meet expectations and that everyone knows more then you do keep reading to learn how you can deal with imposter syndrome.
Talk About Your Accomplishments
It’s common to see people afraid to talk about their success and what they’ve accomplished in their life, even when there’s a long list of achievements. A lot of times we’re afraid that we’ll talk too much or draw too much attention to ourselves when we focus on our achievements. This results in us trying to hide our wins or downplay them to make them seem smaller than they are instead of highlighting what we’ve accomplished. However, it’s important to acknowledge that this is part of our subconscious conditioning and that we don’t have to hide our achievements.
When you have a moment to talk about your victories you might find yourself worrying about being judged or that people won’t want to hear about them. This is where it starts with catching these thoughts early on and working through your worst-case scenarios about these situations. Doing this can help you to realize that first, the reality that you think will happen seems smaller than what could happen and second, it’ll help you to accept all possible outcomes. Think over all of the scenarios calmly and rationally until the fears start to loosen their hold on you and you can see things more clearly.
We often fear failure and we fear not always being successful in our field. Typically when we’re good at something and when we have a list of accomplishments under our belt we feel that it’s not okay to stop being good at it or to make mistakes. There seems to be a constant fear that we’ll mess up or miss a step. Imposter syndrome will have you feeling that you need to keep up your reputation and that you can’t make a wrong move. The truth is that you don’t owe anyone anything and you don’t have to prove anything to anyone except yourself.
You’re in control and you get to decide whether you’ll take things easy and what the consequences are for making mistakes. As a way to combat imposter syndrome and move on, accept that failure is a part of growing and learning and that it happens to everyone. Once you start allowing yourself to fail, take yourself out of the negative mindset and focus on your success you’ll start to release the hold that imposter syndrome has on you. Focus on your goals and recognize that you might have to fail to reach those goals.
Track Your Successes
Imposter syndrome will have you feeling that you’re unworthy and that what you’re doing isn’t enough. When you think back on your wins they may not seem like big achievements and you might start to second guess your success. When the self-doubt starts to slip in and you find yourself wondering if you’re truly worthy of praise as an entrepreneur, try physically looking at your wins. Start with keeping a list, whether on your phone, computer, or written down on paper, of every success you have.
Whether your accomplishment is big or small make sure to write it down. This will remind you of your strengths and what you’re capable of achieving when you put your mind to it. When you start to doubt yourself and find that imposter syndrome is getting the best of you, pull your list and look at all your wins. Sometimes when you’re feeling down remembering what you’ve tackled before will give you exactly what you need to tackle your next big project and reenergize you.
Talk With Your Peers
Being an entrepreneur can be isolating at times, but when you take the time to meet other entrepreneurs you’ll find that they’re just like you. Many people feel the same way and others struggle with imposter syndrome too. The more that you open up and share your own experiences with people you’ll be surprised at how they open up to you and are willing to share. Talking with your peers can also help with sharing knowledge, and give you companionship in your industry. Talking with your peers and making entrepreneur friends might be exactly what you need to realize that you’re less alone than you think.
Always Keep Learning
We tend to feel incompetent when we feel that we don’t know enough which is why you want to make sure that you never stop adding to your bank of knowledge. If you want to improve in your field and want to become an expert, nothing’s holding you back from learning about it until you feel that you’re a master at it. When imposter syndrome starts to tell you that you’re unworthy of respect or when you feel that you don’t belong you’ll have some credibility with your knowledge to lean on and show off your skills. Always keep learning and expanding your knowledge, but most importantly when you start to feel that you’re not enough or that you’re not knowledgeable enough.