Does the phrase “Fake it until you make it” resonate with you?
Do you tend to think of your achievements as lucky, or that you’ve only won recognition because people don’t know the real you?
Do you worry about revealing your true self and fear sharing your ideas?
Do you feel like a fraud in the workplace, or undeserving of your success?
Imagine you got a promotion or a job offer. Is your first instinct that you don’t deserve it? Do you come up with justifications?
“I suppose there weren’t that many candidates to choose from…”
“I guess they needed to hire a woman…”
You could be struggling with imposter syndrome. Things like downplaying achievements and second-guessing your ideas are characteristic of imposter syndrome. This can really damage your business.
What is imposter syndrome?
“Imposter syndrome is a psychological term referring to a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.” –Psychology Today
Imposter syndrome can rear its head in many ways. You might struggle to accept compliments. You might have a fear of failure. You may have inhibitions around speaking up or sharing your ideas.
As an entrepreneur, imposter syndrome can hold you back.
Imposter syndrome can put a huge dent in your business, especially if you’re starting a coaching business. You might be wondering how you could possibly coach others if you, yourself, feel like a fraud. It can prevent you from launching your business, attending a class, or even scheduling a phone call with a new client.
How do you know if you have imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome can manifest in many ways. Here are some common behaviors:
- Feeling like you’re a fraud.
- Justifying your success with external factors, e.g. luck and fortune.
- Fear of failure.
- Keeping your ideas to yourself.
- Downplaying your success.
- Difficulty accepting compliments.
- Being the quiet person in meetings.
Why women can struggle
Women especially can struggle with imposter syndrome. Incidentally, it was first discovered in the 1970s during a study on high profile women. In spite of great success, these women felt undeserving.
The study found imposter syndrome correlated to social expectations experienced by women from a young age. For example, learned behaviors such as the push to succeed, the need to please others, and encouragement to be humble or “act like a lady.”
The study also noted a tendency for women to downplay their own ideas in effort to win approval, perhaps from learned behaviors. In other words, they are experiencing fear of failure. Why is this?
It could be that women still feel the need to earn their way into the workplace. Generations of women before us fought for the right to enter the man’s workplace. We might still see it as the man’s domain, and therefore mold ourselves into that status quo.
This limits creativity and entrepreneurship.
Women entrepreneurs are taking on a brave new world. We are the first generation with full access to a wealth of education, technology and resources to launch or own businesses and ideas. Thanks to our grandmothers, women have the freedom to pursue industry.
Why introverted entrepreneurs can struggle
Women entrepreneurs are essentially pioneers. This leaves us susceptible to imposter syndrome, and we may experience things like fear of failure, second-guessing accomplishments, and keeping ideas to ourselves. If you are introverted, you are especially vulnerable to this thought pattern.
You have a lot to offer!
That said, being an introverted woman entrepreneur is a double-edged sword. There are a lot of internalized thoughts and fears that can limit your success. Letting go of these limiting beliefs and overcoming imposter syndrome will lead to greater success. It takes work, but it’s more than worth it. Here’s how.
Tips for overcoming imposter syndrome
Here are a few tips for overcoming imposter syndrome.
1. List your accomplishments
Start by listing all of your accomplishments. List any and all accomplishments: education, good grades, your first client, buying your first house, and so on and so forth. Do this often, or daily, if you can. Become more specific with your list by creating a business-related list of accomplishments and successes you’ve had in the workplace. Refer to this list daily, and keep it in a visible spot as a positive affirmation.
2. Get feedback from others
Ask friends and colleagues what they think your accomplishments are. This is especially useful if you’re second-guessing your successes. If you have references or client reviews, check to see what they have to say. Add this to your list of affirmations.
3. Voice your fears with a coach or mentor
Finding a mentor or coach who specializes in introverted entrepreneurship can be incredibly beneficial. Perhaps they’ve overcome imposter syndrome themselves! It can help to voice your fears and uncertainty with a coach because they can help you identify internalized fears that may be holding you back.
4. Prove yourself to yourself
With overcoming imposter syndrome, we are our biggest obstacles. One way to work through internalized feelings of doubt is to prove to yourself that you are deserving. Reaffirm your expertise and gain confidence by relearning something you know you’re good at. This could be anything from watching a tutorial on YouTube to renewing a business certification.
Do you want to learn more about how to get past imposter syndrome in your business?
I’m offering a free masterclass on how to break through your fears and step into your power as an entrepreneur. You will learn proven business and marketing strategies to bolster success and confidence. Use your expertise to grow your business!