Starting a business is one of the most challenging things you’ll do in your life, but no matter how many hurdles you get over or how many goals you achieve, do you always have a lingering feeling of not being good enough, of faking your abilities, or of not deserving success?
This is what’s known as impostor syndrome, and it can insidiously undermine your business and your emotional strength and self-belief if it goes unchecked.
The notion of impostor syndrome was coined in the 1970s by psychologists who used the term to describe high-achieving people who consistently played down their strengths and achievements and who lived in fear of being exposed as a fraud.
The consequences of impostor syndrome
The fear of being ‘found out’ can affect your motivation. You’ll ask yourself why you should bother working hard if others will eventually expose you for who you believe you really are.
This constant worry can affect your focus and clarity of thought which can affect the quality of your work and the decisions you make. Impostor syndrome can also be a vicious cycle.
In an attempt to lessen your insecurities, you might take on something that you aren’t capable of, and if you fail at this, it will only reinforce the fact that you feel like an impostor.
Impostor syndrome and high-achievers
People who would call themselves high-achievers experience impostor syndrome more than any other group of people. They’re often people who set themselves big goals and have high expectations of themselves.
And the higher up the chain you go, you’re even more likely to experience impostor syndrome. Have you ever been to a networking event and met someone in your industry who seems to be twice as experienced and ten times as successful as you? Well, what you should know is that they probably have just as many insecurities as you!
How to tackle impostor syndrome
Make a list of your achievements
Write down your achievements, no matter how small. Be proud and ask yourself could an impostor have achieved everything on this list?
Make a kind words file
Whenever you get a nice email from a customer or someone compliments your business on social media, add it to a folder on your computer. Then every time you feel like an impostor, open the folder and read the kind words and positive messages from people who like you and love what you do. I’m willing to bet you won’t feel like a fraud then.
Talk to someone
Whenever you’re having a bout of impostor syndrome, talk to a friend, colleague, mentor or even an impartial business consultant who can remind you that you are definitely not a fraud. They might also share their experience if they’ve ever felt something similar.
Use impostor syndrome as your motivator
This may sound strange, but ask yourself, if you’re working hard every day, you care about your business and your employees, and you truly want to be successful, then how can you be an impostor? Take an ‘I’ll show you’ attitude and allow those uncomfortable feelings to drive you on doing what you know (deep down) that you do best.
So follow these tips, and hopefully next time you’re in a room of ‘successful’ people and you ask yourself ‘why am I here?’ you’ll know it’s because you deserve to be.
Struggling with this issue or any other issue as an Employer, then why don’t you give The People Mentor a call or email.