Have you ever felt that no matter what you’ve done or how successful you are, you don’t really deserve your accomplishments?
This is a feeling called imposter syndrome and it is very common among new entrepreneurs.
Imposter syndrome leaves us feeling like we have not earned the successes we’ve achieved.
The textbook definition is that Imposter Syndrome is “an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be“.
This syndrome can also make us fee that our thoughts don’t deserve the attention of paying customers.
This type of negative thinking can keep us from sharing our ideas, starting a business, or accepting opportunities.
In this article, I will explain ten steps you can use to identify and overcome imposter syndrome.
1. Don’t be Ashamed to Speak Up
Unfortunately, many people feel they don’t want to talk about how they feel like a fraud.
When you know there’s a name for your feelings and you’re not alone, it can make you feel so much better!
2. Separate Facts and Feelings
There are times that you are going to feel unprepared, everyone does!
However, just because you feel this way doesn’t mean that you are.
3. Understand Your Self-Doubt
When you feel like you belong, you are more likely to be confident.
There may be times when you feel you don’t belong in your current situation.
Perhaps you are older or younger than the group?
Maybe you’re the only woman or man in the room.
You could be a different ethnicity or nationality to everyone else around you.
Or maybe you are the only person with a disability.
It is only natural to feel pressure to represent your entire group.
Your self-doubt is not proof that you are not qualified.
Maybe you are responding to being on the receiving end of social stereotypes.
4. Maintain Your Positive Attitude
The thing about being a perfectionist is that you care about the quality of your work.
The key is to always strive for excellence when it matters.
Don’t stress too much over the routine things and always be willing to forgive yourself when you make a mistake.
5. Don’t Stress Over Failure and Mistakes
When you do make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up over it.
Learn from the experience and use that knowledge in the future to avoid the same mistakes.
Remind yourself that it’s okay to miss the mark sometimes.
6. Change Your Rules
If you have made rules for yourself that you should always have the right answer, or you should never ask for help, change those rules!
Remember that it’s perfectly fine if you don’t always have an answer.
It is perfectly okay to reach out for help when you feel like you’re lost or overwhelmed.
Everyone has the occasional off-day.
7. Create a New Script
Develop an awareness of the dialogue which takes place in your head whenever your imposter feelings are triggered.
This is your internal dialogue.
When you hear yourself thinking, “Wait until they find out I don’t know what I am doing,” reframe it.
Remind yourself that everyone who is starting something new feels a little “off” at the beginning.
You may not have all the answers right now, but you do have the ability and the resources to look them up.
8. Imagine Your Success
Before you go into a situation, take some time to imagine yourself being successful.
Imagine yourself giving a successful presentation.
See yourself giving the perfect answer to a difficult question.
This is so much better than scaring yourself by imagining the worst-case scenario – like many people do.
9. Try Rewarding Yourself
Instead of seeking validation and then dismissing that validation from others, learn to pat yourself on the back once in a while.
You’ll feel so much better about your accomplishments and successes.
10. Fake it Until You Make It
From time to time, we will all face situations where we need to “wing it”.
Instead of seeing this as proof that you’re not ready, learn to do what many other successful people have done.
Don’t sit around and wait until you feel confident.
You become more courageous by taking those risks.
If you’ll change your behaviours, confidence will come.
To quote Richard Branson – Founder Virgin Group; “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
Imposter syndrome is where we don’t feel like we deserve the successes that we’ve achieved.
Yet, this shouldn’t happen.
Learn to feel comfortable with your success and value yourself.
The ten tips above will help you learn to overcome imposter syndrome.