If you run your own business or blog, you know the feeling well. The icky, heavy feeling of imposter syndrome is one that entrepreneurs deal with frequently. It feels terrible, weighs on your shoulders, and blocks you from success with comparison. Today we will discuss five effective ways to overcome imposter syndrome as an entrepreneur. Let’s get started!
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
noun: imposter syndrome
- 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.
Have you ever felt everyone could tell that you had no idea what you were doing in your business? Like you were totally in “fake-it-till-you-make-it” mode? If so, you have experienced imposter syndrome.
People experiencing imposter syndrome have trouble believing that they deserve to have success. This is because they feel like an imposter in their field. Lack of formal training or a business degree are triggers for imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome tends to magnify our lack of experience and minimize our skills and expertise.
Entrepreneurs struggling with imposter syndrome often feel unqualified to run their business. Like the emperor in his new clothes, they believe everyone can see that they are in their underwear!
The reality is, most people are more than qualified to run their businesses. They just need to train their minds to believe that they are qualified!
We’ll get to that in a minute, but first, let’s look at some of the effects of imposter syndrome.
How Does Imposter Syndrome Affect Entrepreneurs?
First and foremost, imposter syndrome immobilizes you with fear – mostly fear of failure. But there is also fear of comparison, fear that you don’t know what you’re doing, and fear of what others think of you.
When you, as a business owner, get stuck in a fear mindset, your content suffers. Your voice lacks authority because you don’t actually believe that you are an authority. Clients can tell when a brand isn’t speaking with authority. No one wants to buy from a brand that doesn’t seem like an authority in their niche.
It’s hard to get anything done when imposter syndrome hits. That’s because most of your work time is wasted on comparing yourself to other business owners. Instead of creating awesome products, you get lost scrolling through your competitors’ websites and wishing you were them!
Lastly, imposter syndrome takes a massive toll on your confidence. Because of constant comparison and fear, it’s hard to feel confident in what you offer to your clients. When confidence suffers, sales suffer, and imposter syndrome becomes a vicious cycle of negative thoughts and failure.
Where does Imposter Syndrome Come From?
1. Our own limiting beliefs.
Imposter syndrome is an easy trap to fall into. Why is it to easy to get sucked into fear and comparison?
It’s because we are always looking for evidence to confirm what we already believe about ourselves. This is why practicing affirmations and mindset journaling are so crucial as entrepreneurs. We need to overcome imposter syndrome before it even begins! More on that soon.
2. Weak mindedness
I promise that I’m not being harsh. Not exercising your mind is a huge reason why so many entrepreneurs succumb to imposter syndrome. The mind is a muscle, just like every other muscle in your body. Actively training your mind against limiting beliefs is the only effective way to overcome imposter syndrome as an entrepreneur.
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome as an Entrepreneur
Do Your Mindset Work
Mindset work is one of the most effective tools for overcoming imposter syndrome. It might sound like a loaded term, but mindset work just means training your brain to think in beneficial ways. Here are some ways that people regularly engage in mindset work:
There is no right way to do mindset work. For a more in-depth look at jumping into mindset work, read this post I wrote for The Meditative State on How and Why to Start a Mindset Practice.
Many people often miss the point of practicing gratitude. They practice gratitude with the idea that it will make them better people somehow and fail to dive into the science behind it.
Gratitude releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These two drugs are in charge of signaling feelings of pleasure to the rest of your body. Your brain also releases dopamine and serotonin when you eat chocolate, finish a marathon, get a raise, receive affection, etc.
The other important signal that dopamine and serotonin send is that you have enough. You have enough food, water, shelter, love, and comfort for the day. This is essential information for your brain because your brain is actually very primal. It is continuously looking to meet your basic needs and to reach “enoughness.”
Scarcity Mindset and Abundance Mindset
When gratitude signals to the brain that you have enough, your brain automatically releases stress and worry. This transition is called moving from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset.
A scarcity mindset believes that there is not enough of anything (money, love, friends, success) and spends a lot of time worrying about meeting its needs.
An abundance mindset knows there is more than enough of everything to meet its needs. It stops worrying about scrambling for scraps and starts looking for bigger blessings and opportunities.
Practicing gratitude starts your day in an abundance mindset, making it one of the best ways to overcome imposter syndrome as an entrepreneur.
Bored with your gratitude routine? Check out 5 Ways to Power Up Your Gratitude Practice.
Imposter syndrome is at its strongest when you are trapped inside your own head! Instead of spending hours running in mental circles, invest time in connecting with other entrepreneurs!
The more entrepreneurs you meet, the more you’ll realize that everyone struggles with imposter syndrome. Don’t be intimidated to reach out. Most times, other business owners will be more than happy to have someone to chat with!
Putting It In Action
Just last week, I was having a severe bout of imposter syndrome. I felt unqualified, and like nothing I was doing was working. Instead of wasting more time on yucky feelings, I sent a quick email to my friend Katie at That Minimal Life and asked if we could schedule a video chat. She was unsure if she had business insight to offer me, but I assured her that I just needed a listening ear.
We had a great chat and listened to each others’ business struggles and celebrations. At the end of the conversation, we both came away with more clarity on our businesses’ next steps. We decided to continue meeting regularly as a way to overcome imposter syndrome and stay productive.
Now, more than ever, it’s vital to keep business friendships alive and thriving. The current state of affairs in the world has made it even easier to slip into fear of failure, loneliness, and worry.
If you’re looking for a business buddy, feel free to email me!
Engage in Self-Reflection
Another strategy for beating imposter syndrome is self-reflection.
It’s common for business owners to feel like everything is getting away from them. With to-do lists to finish, programs to write, and social media to manage, it’s easy to forget who you are and what you offer.
When I feel overwhelmed and incapable of running my business, I make a list of everything I am good at. I suggest you try this, too! Writing down a complete list of your skills will remind you why you are the perfect person to run your business.
You can also make a list of all of your professional experience. Not only does this increase your confidence, but it’s also useful for marketing!
Reflecting on your skillset also helps you see any gaps you have in your resume. Instead of worrying about being an imposter, you can invest that time in learning a new skill.
I talk about affirmations a lot on this blog. That’s because I believe they are the most important tool available for training your mind to think better!
An affirmation is a truth that replaces a negative message in your brain. Journaling about an affirmation each day is an effective way to start your day on the right foot. It will take time for your mind to believe these affirmations 100%, but just a little practice a day will make a massive difference in overcoming imposter syndrome.
Practicing affirmations is scientifically backed as well. Scores of studies have shown that affirmations create new pathways in the brain that improve problem-solving and boost productivity. Affirmations also reduce stress and promote an abundance mindset. I have several lists of affirmations to help you get started.
More on Affirmations:
I’m still feeling stuck in imposter syndrome! What do I do?
- Email me! I’m a real person, and I really respond to all of my emails!
- Download the 5 Minute Mindset: 21 Day Guide to get started with a morning mindset routine! It’s a great resource and absolutely free.
- Follow me on Pinterest for more mindset content!