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Imposter Syndrome: What It Is and How to Overcome It as Women Entrepreneurs

Imposter Syndrome: What It Is and How to Overcome It as Women

Many women entrepreneurs are plagued with the feeling that they are a fraud, inadequate, or a failure. These self-beliefs are commonly referred to as imposter syndrome and disproportionately affect females more than their male counterparts. For decades, females have been conditioned to downplay abilities and self-deprecate, resulting in low self-esteem. When we feel like frauds, there are emotional, mental, creative, and financial consequences. As a result, female entrepreneurs struggle in three key areas; professional development, business growth, and client work.

As a female #entrepreneur#, you are responsible for your own success, and if you have imposter syndrome, you could be holding yourself back. The founder of a digital media company, Brittany Berger, had said, “For me, imposter syndrome looks like not going for opportunities because I feel like I’m not experienced enough, keeping my prices low for products and services and going too long without increasing them, and setting ridiculously high expectations for myself, so that, of course, I’ll fall short”(Quote Source: Fast Company, Kat Ambrose, Writer for SAAS and E-Commerce companies, 7-6-2019). Brittany is not alone. According to the International Journal of Behavioral Science, 70% of us suffer from imposter syndrome.

Signs you have imposter syndrome

There are some telltale signs if you have imposter syndrome, and they appear in the form of thoughts and self-beliefs. To help you identify whether or not you are being affected by it, ask yourself if the following apply to you.

• You are a perfectionist and always striving to be the best.
High-achievers are often the individuals who have imposter syndrome. It’s this perpetual feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Although they continue to excel on projects, do well in school, and always take on more, they are afraid that they will fail sooner or later. To hold on as long as possible, they aim for perfection in everything they do. Imposters believe they should be perfect, or at the very least, others should believe they are perfect. The truth is, no one is perfect, and this is why they feel these imposter feelings.

• You discount your successes and have difficulty accepting praise.
When people praise you, do you have trouble accepting it, or do you start to discount it? For example, if someone praises you on your new website, do you follow up saying you know nothing about website design and hired someone? Or, if someone compliments you on your work on a project, do you only pass along the praise to someone else, stating you “just helped.” Those with imposter syndrome often attribute their successes to external factors like who they know, someone who helped, or even luck.

• You have felt paralyzed by the fear of failure.
To you, failure is not an option, and you will do everything you can to make sure it doesn’t happen. Sometimes this even means doing nothing at all. If fear has ever left you paralyzed and avoided tackling jobs that need to be completed, you may have imposter syndrome. When you have failed previously, did you spiral and feel humiliation, shame, and remorse? This is also a sign of imposter syndrome.

• You feel dissatisfied and burnout at work.
Constantly striving for perfection leaves you overworked. The fear of failure may also prevent you from seeking another job, starting a business, or pursuing more clients. This can put you at higher risk for burnout. A study found that those who have imposter syndrome tend to stay in their position because they don’t believe they can do more.

If you are interested in overcoming imposter syndrome, I have some good news. There are ways you can combat these feelings and the negative consequences.

Start tracking your successes and stumbles.
Female entrepreneurs with imposter syndrome fail to internalize their triumphs and are terrified of making a mistake. They aren’t able to see the full picture. Keeping a list of both successes and stumbles will help shed light on both. You don’t need to do this every day, but an annual reflection will help you realize how far you’ve come and what you have overcome. It will show you that your mistakes did not ruin you or your business and show you just how much you have accomplished.

Create your hype file.
When you are employed, you may keep a file with praise from your boss, colleagues, or clients. As an #entrepreneur#, you don’t get the same level of praise and compliments. You are your own boss, and if you lack confidence, you definitely aren’t getting the praise you deserve. Instead, keep a file (digital or print) with all the compliments, positive comments, testimonials, and thank you’s you have ever received. When those imposter syndrome feelings start creeping up, review your hype file.

Talk about your feelings with others.
When you start feeling like a fraud, call up someone who can remind you that you aren’t.
High-achievers will have trouble with shame and have difficulty admitting it. Shame researcher Brene Brown has said the best way to handle a shame attack is to reach out and share these feelings. When you talk to other female entrepreneurs about overcoming imposter syndrome, you will soon find that you are not alone and others feel the same.

Be aware of your thoughts and change the narrative.
Be aware of the thoughts going through your mind when you are feeling like an imposter.
For example, if you catch yourself thinking, “my clients will think I’m too inexperienced,” change the script to “Everyone starts somewhere.” You need to change the narrative that is going on in your head.

Understand that no one knows everything.
Often with imposter syndrome, female entrepreneurs can trick themselves into believing that other people know more, are more skilled, work harder, never ask for help, etc. It’s important to remind yourself that you won’t always have the answer – no one does!

Visualize and journal your future success.
Spend some time visualizing what it would look like when you reach the level of success you are striving for. How would you act? What would you believe? If there was a big issue, how would you handle it? Picture yourself handling problems and functioning as if you are the successful person you hope to be. This is a proven success strategy used by athletes and actors who want to enhance their performance.

Take on new opportunities and say “yes” more.
If you think of a new opportunity or one is offered to you, do you tend to turn it down? It’s common for those with imposter syndrome to turn down big opportunities or stop themselves from pursuing new offers, products, or initiatives that could increase their success. This is because the voice inside their head tells them they can’t do it or aren’t worthy. Challenge yourself to say yes, and figure out how you will do it after. That’s exactly what Richard Branson does; he advised, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes. Then learn how to do it later.”

Talk with a coach, therapist, or professional mentor.
Deep-rooted feelings of self-doubt and low self-esteem can be causing your imposter syndrome. A professional can help you overcome imposter syndrome by looking at the source of the issue and helping you resolve it.

Stop yourself from going down the comparison rabbit hole.
When you compare yourself to someone, it is important to remember that you never have the full picture! As we can see from the stats, there is a good chance they are suffering from imposter syndrome as well. Often, when you compare yourself, you are giving the other person attributes and successes that aren’t necessarily true. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, struggles, and successes. When you catch yourself going down the comparison rabbit hole, stop yourself. Eventually, these thoughts will become quieter.

Practice affirmations every day.
To address the underlying feelings of self-doubt, practice positive affirmations. This will help you shift your mindset, so you believe you deserve all of your accomplishments and future success. Think of the beliefs you have about yourself that cause you to question your abilities, then turn them into positive statements. For example, “I am a talented, skilled, and successful female #entrepreneur#.” Repeat these every day!

Feeling like you don’t have the skills, traits, experience, or abilities to succeed will affect your professional development, business growth, and client work. This can have negative consequences on your life if you don’t address it. Fortunately, if you are interested in overcoming imposter syndrome, there are many ways you can do so. You deserve to be successful in your business and life, and the sooner you start practicing these strategies, the sooner you will see these negative thoughts disappear.

Media Contact
Name: Robert Moment
Location: Arlington
State: Virginia

About the Author
Robert Moment is a results-driven ICF certified social + emotional intelligence coach and trainer ,ICF certified peak performance coach, and ICF certified executive coach and author of the game changing #entrepreneur# mindset Special Report titled, “5 New Words That Will Change the Way You Think About Achieving Business Success.

Robert specializes in helping women entrepreneurs overcome imposter syndrome using the power of high emotional intelligence coaching to be your authentic self, living inspired doing what you love scaling to a 6 or 7 figure business.
Robert is certified to deliver The Social + Emotional Intelligence Profile-Self (SEIP) ® Assessment, the most comprehensive, scientifically validated, and statistically reliable instrument on the market and review the results with clients and create a comprehensive developmental action plan. This includes the self and 360-versions as well as workplace and adult editions. Know your EQ Score for #Entrepreneur# Success.

Schedule your FREE 20 minute Transformation coaching call. No sales pitch. No fluff. This call will bring you clarity to your mind, and peace to your heart about life and the future of your business.

Visit (Click on #Entrepreneur# Coaching)
Enroll in the transformative online course #Entrepreneur# Mindset Success Secrets to Start a Business with Rapid Results.
Get the FREE Course Module titled, Entrepreneurial Mindset Success Habits for Starting a Business


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