Dealing with Imposter Syndrome as an entrepreneur can be a real challenge. Many business dreams die because of it, and because of a chronic lack of confidence – or a combination of the two. We feel paralysed sometimes by fear. It stops us from taking action and we stand still. We have all these dreams and plans. We know what we want our business to look like and what problems we can solve. But when we think about doing the things we need to do to be visible, it terrifies us.
Confidence is something we need to work at.
We might look at some people and assume they’re confident and we are not, but perhaps those people are the ones who are able to feel the fear and do it anyway. Something we all need to learn how to do.
The good news is that you can build your confidence. You can use tools to help you grow and develop. You can learn how to recognise thenegative chatter that tells you not do something because it’s too scary. And you can adopt a different persona, the one you really want to be, and go out there and do the business.
If we continue to be controlled by the fear created by Imposter Syndrome, we miss all the opportunities that could take us to where we want to be. No-one wants to take that leap of faith and steam ahead with all the amazingly hard graft it takes to build their own business, only to end up having to go back to the day job because they were too nervous to really get out there and shout about themselves.
Here are a few tips we’ve put together to help you if you are lacking in confidence and in dealing with Imposter Syndrome as an entrepreneur.
Learn to recognise your internal negative chatter.
If you can, whenever you notice that voice telling you you can’t, note down what’s going on – in a notebook or on your phone notes. Gather some evidence of the kinds of thoughts you are having. What you are telling yourself you can or can’t do. Are you unkind to yourself? Do you put down your own ideas or talent? Do you compare yourself to others and think they are better than you? You will soon hear this happening as soon as it starts and can intervene.
Work out how you would like to react / behave / interact / promote yourself.
So once you’ve called out that negative internal chatter, you want to create an opposite persona, an alter ego if you like. You can go so far as to name both the negative voice, and the alter ego. Make that alter ego a character that you truly admire. It could just be called “The Real Me” or something with your name in it. It’s a pair of shoes you aspire to step in to when you are being confident, when you’re in your stride, when you know you are great at what you do.
Be that person as often as possible. When you hit those moments where you falter, ask yourself “what would The Real Me do here? Be scared if you must, be nervous, question if you can do it, but then do it anyway.
List out all your successes to date to show you the positive evidence of what you can do.
Most of us base this negative chatter that we can’t do things on a total lack of evidence to show that. On the contrary, if we look for it, there’s generally a big bank of evidence to show we can do things with great success if we just break through that barrier of fear. Take time out to uncover your own bank of evidence. Create a list of all the successes you have had in your career, in your business, in any area that lends itself to what it is you are doing now and how successful you can be.
Find ways to get away from comparing yourself to others.
One of the danger zones for this is social media. Only follow people that lift you up or inspire you to do better. Don’t follow those you will compare yourself to in a negative light.
These are just a few ways you can break down that negative voice, the Imposter Syndrome, and start to build a more confident you. We want to help small businesses like yours succeed, and we can help you build that confidence needed to get there. You can read more about starting a small business in our Definitive Guide.