The Imposter Syndrome
“I have no idea what I’m doing.”
“Once people see through my facade, my business will crumble.”
“It’s not good enough.”
Every business owner has these thoughts.
We think other people will realize we’re a fraud, that we’re faking it, and have no idea what we’re doing. As soon as we’re found out, the game will be over. Our clients will cancel contracts, colleagues will shake their heads sadly and mutter, “Who knew?” We’ll shame our family and even lose the respect of our partner.
Imposter syndrome is the persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud. In a cosmic joke, high achievers with a track record of success feel it strongest.
One way to beat imposter syndrome in business is to borrow beliefs. When feelings of inadequacy surface because you’re doing something new, borrow the belief of someone else who did things that looked impossible, like Elon Musk or Oprah. Tell yourself: “If they did THAT, I can do this ”
You can also repurpose beliefs by remembering other successes you’ve had even if they’re in an entirely different area. For example, you can hit your revenue goal because you’re determined in just the way you felt when you ran that 10K. You can give that speech because you feel confident and proud, just like you did when you won that contract.
Imposter syndrome is a function of your primitive brain trying to keep you safe by preventing you from taking chances. But instead of keeping you safe, it steals your confidence and blocks your potential. When you’re filled with self-doubt, it’s difficult to take the steps to grow your business.
The thoughts that make you feel like an imposter are lies based on fear. Even if you think you have evidence that they’re true – like a lost contract or a botched job – it’s a misinterpretation. Setbacks and obstacles are part of any business, and they’re data points you can use to course correct, not proof that you are a fraud.
See imposter syndrome for what it is (the primitive brain’s attempt to keep you safe) and don’t let it keep you from the life you’re meant to live.