Have you ever felt like an imposter? Like you’re just not good enough so you pretend your way through and hope nobody notices. You put any achievements down to good luck or timing and you worry that at any moment someone is going to discover that you’re a fraud, and that you have no business doing what you’re doing or being in the job that you’re in?
Well, you’re not alone. These are common thoughts and feelings, especially amongst women, and especially for new business owners. You’re starting a new business and you’re doing things that you’ve never done before and have no experience in; you’re not sure if what you’re doing is right, any good or of any value. This belief (if you want to label it), is called The Imposter Syndrome.
The Imposter Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people (usually high achieving women) are unable to internalise their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent or competent than they believe themselves to be.
You’re in good company though if you do have it, as even Sheryl Sandberg has admitted to feeling like an imposter and feeling like her own achievements are undeserving.
Self-doubt and fear will make you question whether you have anything of value to offer.
The truth is everybody has something of value to offer! We’re all good enough to do amazing things. It’s our own thinking that is holding us back from putting ourselves out there, for fear of being found out or being ridiculed.
Do you think Richard Branson thought he wasn’t good enough when he launched his first business? He left school at 16 and could easily have let this hold him back; but he didn’t. He believed in himself and so should you believe in yourself.
One of the main reasons for women’s doubt is that we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others. We look at what our competitors, friends or family are doing and we think they have it all figured out and know exactly what they’re doing and we don’t. Someone else is always doing it bigger or better or is more qualified; we can feel like we aren’t as good as them.
What you may not know, is that everyone is navigating themselves around the same challenges and pitfalls. Everyone has the same self-limiting beliefs; it’s what you do with these thoughts that matter.
Below are our top tips to help you overcome these self-limiting thoughts and feelings.
When these thoughts creep into your head and start effecting how you feel, try listing down your strengths and what you’re good at and write down all the reasons you deserve to succeed. It’s simple but will help you to keep your mind in check. After all, you don’t want to go listening to every silly thought that goes through your head.
List all of your achievements, proud accomplishments and all of the wonderful things that are in your life; no matter how small and insignificant you think they are, writing them down will help you to feel gratitude for what you have in your life, and will also help you to recognise that you are a capable person.
Change your inner dialogue; instead of saying ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I’m not good enough’, or ‘I don’t deserve this’, say ‘I can do this’, ‘I will do this’, ‘I deserve this’. Replace ‘I can’t’ with ‘I can’.
Visualise yourself succeeding and you will manifest what you desire. If you don’t believe us, try doing it with something small, like visualising yourself seeing white feathers or finding a £1 coin. See it in your mind’s eye and think about it repeatedly. Know deep down that you’ll find a feather or a coin and it will come to you. Visualising your success not only attracts what you want into your life, but it also shifts the way you feel. What does success look like for you? Where are you? What are you doing? How do you look? What are you wearing? Be as detailed as possible; now bask in how that makes you feel and act as if were already here; operating from that mind-set.
Watch an inspirational video like the ones below, to keep you motivated and charged up.
Another possible trigger for self-doubt is feeling overwhelmed; so whenever you feel like this, take some time out and go do something else instead; then come back and create an action plan and take it step by step. You’re not expected to do everything at once and nobody expects you to know how to do everything.
Stop unfairly comparing yourself to others; you don’t know what they’ve gone through to get where they are. Yes it may seem like they know what they’re doing and are always giant leaps ahead, but it’s important to keep your eye firmly fixed on your project and your goals, and know that every entrepreneur goes through the same learning curve. Just think; there could be someone comparing themselves to you right now!