As entrepreneurs, our journeys comprise both challenges and triumphs. However, one of the biggest challenge that many women face, often silently, is known as Imposter Syndrome. This nagging self-doubt can cast a shadow on even the most high of achievers, making them feel like they are not worthy, and hindering their ability to recognise and celebrate their achievements. In this blog, we’ll explore the concept of the condition and share empowering strategies to help you learn how to overcome Imposter Syndrome and embrace your true potential.
Understanding Imposter Syndrome
Before we get into understanding how to overcome Imposter syndrome though, we need to be clear on what it is – a psychological pattern where individuals doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud. Despite having clear external evidence of success, those experiencing Imposter Syndrome tend to attribute their achievements to good luck or to other external factors, rather than acknowledging their own competence.
Albert Einstein, widely known as one of the greatest scientists of all time, captures the concept so well, also proving that Imposter Syndrome affects us all!
The exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.Albert Einstein
How to overcome Imposter Syndrome
So given that this situation is so common, what do we do about it? How can we learn to (at least) control our self-doubt and overcome Imposter Syndrome? Here are five clear strategies that will help you to move forward:
1. Acknowledge your achievements
The first step in learning how to overcome Imposter Syndrome is recognising and celebrating your achievements – something that is easily forgotten by many of us. Take the time (diarise it if you need to!) to reflect on your journey, both personally and professionally. Create a list of your accomplishments, big and small, and remind yourself of the hard work and dedication that went into each one. This exercise can be hugely helpful in shifting your mindset from self-doubt to self-appreciation.
2. Change how you see failure
Failure is an inevitable part of the entrepreneurial journey in some form – even if your business goes on to be ‘successful’. The key then, is in how you view it. Next time something goes wrong, or you fail, don’t see the failure as confirmation of Imposter Syndrome. Instead, actively choose to reframe it as a valuable learning experience. Every setback is an opportunity to grow and improve. Embracing failure with a positive mindset can help build resilience and strengthen your belief in your ability to overcome challenges.
3. Seek support and mentoring
It may appear like everyone else has their s*** together, but trust me – they don’t. Connecting with fellow female entrepreneurs who may have experienced Imposter Syndrome can provide a sense of camaraderie and support, and the same is true of trusted friends and family. You could also choose to work with a business coach or mentor, who will have experience of supporting other women who have had the same experiences as you.
4. Talk to yourself positively
A key strategy in how to overcome Imposter Syndrome is how you talk to yourself. Counter negative thoughts with positive messages. Replace self-critical statements with evidence that highlights your strengths and capabilities. Creating a daily routine of positive self-talk can help rewire your mindset, gradually reducing the impact of Imposter Syndrome on your overall confidence.
5. Set realistic goals
Setting realistic and achievable goals can help build confidence over time. Break down larger objectives into smaller, manageable tasks, allowing yourself to celebrate with each step forward that you take. This approach not only fosters a sense of accomplishment but also helps dispel the notion of being an imposter by demonstrating consistent progress.
Learning how to overcome Imposter Syndrome is a common hurdle faced by many female entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t have to define your journey. Nor should you allow it to hold you back from reaching your true potential and achieving your goals!
Nobody can flick a switch and make it go away overnight, but the key is to learn to manage it. Remember, you are not alone, and your success is a result of your hard work, dedication, and unique strengths. We are all perfectly imperfect, so allow yourself to embrace your authenticity, and let it shine through in everything you do. You are unique, and that in itself, is a reason to celebrate.
And if you want to read more on strategies to help you learn how to overcome Imposter Syndrome, have a read of my other blogs on the subject: