How To Deal With Imposter Syndrome + Why You Need To Know You Aren't Alone
If you’re any part of the online world, you’ve heard of the term Imposter Syndrome. This term is tossed around online quite a bit to express the real and raw feelings that entrepreneurs and small business owners feel online: feelings of not being good enough, being undeserving, and the fear others will look at you as a fraud. But did you know Imposter Syndrome isn’t just a term made up in your head, and that it is real? Yep. You read that right. You aren’t crazy, and you certainly aren’t alone.
Imposter Syndrome is a real and serious condition that affects business owners and entrepreneurs all over the world, some of them not even realizing it. The feelings that come with this are hard to deal with and can be difficult to express. If you’re anything like us, you’ve experienced Imposter Syndrome at least once - if not more - and you need ways to cope with it.
First, know what it is:
“Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud". Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that 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 and competent than they believe themselves to be. Some studies suggest that impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women.”
We don’t know about you, but that hit home while reading it. Knowing what Imposter Syndrome is and how to recognize the signs are the first (and most crucial) steps in overcoming it.
Stop comparing yourself
Have you ever scrolled through your Instagram wishing you were that girl, or on that trip, or working with that client, or even wishing you were "as happy" as someone else is? If your answer was yes, congrats - you're normal. If your answer was no, stop lying to yourself! We're all unfortunately so guilty of this. Stop scrolling, stop comparing. First of all, do you understand how easy it is to portray a life you aren't really living via social media? Think about yourself for example... do you post about your failures, difficulties, bad days, and mental health battles? Probably not. Neither does anyone else really. You never know what's going on behind that screen. Stop wishing you were someone else. STOP SCROLLING.
Admit your fears
Listen, it's human nature to feel these feelings. Imposter Syndrome IS REAL and is discussed regularly because it's so common. It's OK to be afraid, but it's not OK to continuously put yourself down, to tell yourself you're not good enough, or to believe you're unworthy of the successes you've achieved. THAT is where Imposter Syndrome can truly hurt you. Admitting these fears to someone close to you and letting it all out can really clear your head and make you feel better. Recognizing the signs of Imposter Syndrome makes you self-aware, allowing you to hone in on these signs and learn from them.
Celebrate all successes + learn from all failures
When your head is clouded with negative thoughts, it's nearly impossible to appreciate little wins along the way. You hit 1,000 followers on Instagram? CELEBRATE! You learned a new trick in Adobe? CELEBRATE! You finished your first client project? CELEBRATE! These things might seem small as they're happening, but they are things you've worked your ass off for and they shouldn't go without celebrating. On the flip side of things, when something goes wrong, when you don't know how to do something, or when you can't seem to land a client, DO NOT beat yourself up over it. Dig into these problems, look at them as experiments and figure out what's causing these failures to happen. Take what you find from digging, learn from it, and celebrate your new knowledge!
Say what you can do, not what you can't
The verbiage you use when talking about yourself or your business is crucial. This is something that takes self-awareness and subconscious control, or in simpler terms, it is a habit that you need to break. When telling others about what you do in your business, don't bring up things you can't do. It's negative reinforcement to continuously remind yourself of what you're incapable of doing, rather than boasting about the things you're an expert in. Because if we're being honest, saying "you can't" is really saying you haven't tried (yet!)
Find (or create) a support system
It's said "you are the product of the five people you spend the most time with" and it's most certainly true. If you aren't surrounded by people who you can learn from, lift you when you're down, and support everything you do, you're with the wrong crowd. The truth in this hurts, but we've had to cut ties with people who have had big roles in our lives simply because they only brought negative energy into our lives. I mean seriously, we're suffering from Imposter Syndrome, that brings enough negativity into our mindset, we don't have time for the people around us to do the same. If you don't have a support system, create one! Put yourself out there and reach out to people who are either in the same spot you are, or have gotten through it themselves. Those are the people you can learn from, those are the people who will support you when you're down.
Practice self care
If you don't love yourself, you won't ever succeed. It sounds cliche but we all know there's truth in it. Treat yourself to a massage, plug in those essential oils, read your favorite book, and sleep in a little. Your health and mindset directly affect the way you look at your business and the actions you take. If you're well rested and refreshed you have much better chances of crushing the day than you would with a clouded mind and no sleep (believe us, we would know).
No one knows what they're doing, you're not alone
Were you handed a guidebook on adulthood at the age of 18? Hell no! No one was. Just like no one was handed a guidebook on how to build an online business, or how to become successful online. Why? Because no one knows what they're doing, and it's OK! We all take our own paths, learn from our own mistakes, and find what works through our own successes. Following someone elses "rules" or "tricks" in life won't help you find your way any easier, it'll only confuse you more when something doesn't work.
Unfortunately, you can experience Imposter Syndrome at any point in your life and it doesn’t have to just be in regards to business. We have both experienced this energy sucking syndrome more than once, and I’m sure we will go through it again at some point. The trick is to be aware of the signs and to take care of yourself when they start presenting themselves in your life. Don’t ignore the signs, and always remember you’re not alone.
Have you experienced Imposter Syndrome? If so, tell me your best tip to combat it in the comments below! Or if you’re currently suffering and feel stuck comment below and let’s talk it out! You’ve got this!