What’s one action a new entrepreneur can take today to banish imposter syndrome? Why is this action effective?
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
1. Listen to Your ‘Old Self’
Imposter syndrome is just the “old you” making a stink about the “current you.” I like to treat the old “me” like a child who’s having a moment and really just needs some love and attention. As a parent, I’ve seen that often a little listening and getting down on their level wipes the issue away entirely. Your “old self” just needs to be heard. Once it feels understood, it will kindly join you!
I have two simple tips: 1. Practice lifting the others around you up and humbly accepting that you don’t have it all figured out and that’s OK. The best leaders know they dont have the answers. 2. Take a break from flooding your brain with social media and its tendency to make you compare yourself to others. Nobody has it “figured out.” We are all just trucking along trying to figure it out.
On my first day of grad school, a sweet professor informed us that writer’s block is caused by ego. He said it is people thinking that they need to write a work of art that holds them back. Imposter syndrome is the same way. It is your ego getting in the way. Get out of your own head, practice mindfulness and realize that no one is judging you as much as you think.
Turn your weakness into a strength. To do this, narrow down which actions are causing you to think you are inadequate, and see if you can change them. For example, if you think you’re too old to try something new, think about all the experience you can bring to a position. Embracing this mentality shift will liberate and empower new entrepreneurs to move forward with confidence.
It’s important to recognize that our brains are wired to look for and focus on what’s negative. It does this to protect us. Imposter syndrome is a proxy for the fear of failure and getting called out. What helps is focusing on all the wins you’ve had in life so far. Remember that there’s plenty of evidence that you deserve your role but that you’re just not seeing it.
To get rid of imposter syndrome, new entrepreneurs can link up with other new business owners and form a support group. It’s not easy running a business for the first time, and it comes with its own set of challenges. Having other entrepreneurs to talk to about your struggles and to gain insight from can be a great way to make genuine connections in your industry and banish imposter syndrome for good.
Imposter syndrome usually comes from feeling guilt over the gap in your knowledge. Maybe you’re a brilliant product creator but you don’t know the numbers of your company backwards the way some entrepreneurs do. Sit down with your financial team and figure it out. Maybe you’re a brilliant salesman who doesn’t really understand the technical details of the software you sell. Sit with the tech team.
One way to banish imposter syndrome is to correct the rules. Sometimes you might think that you should always be right or that you can’t ask for help, but it’s important to understand that you have as much of a right to be wrong as the person next to you. Also, it’s OK to ask for assistance from others. Understand the fact that you’re just a human and humans do make mistakes.
In my experience, the best way to overcome imposter syndrome is to create a list of your accomplishments. When we have a rough day, it’s easy to forget all of the good we’ve accomplished. If you keep a notebook handy with all of your milestones, you’ll find that it’s easy to break the imposter mindset and get your focus back on track.
Develop habits around building your mindset. Reading books regularly, listening to books, watching educational content and engaging in conversations with like-minded peers supports growth. The more a person surrounds themself with growth-oriented people, the faster they will identify and possibly overcome self-doubt. This process needs to become a written habit.
If you really want to banish imposter syndrome, you should be able to separate your feelings from facts. Remind yourself that you aren’t necessarily stupid just because you feel stupid at times. Think of the positive qualities in you and think about how these qualities make you a better professional. It’s a good way to stop you from doubting yourself and to help you instead feel more confident about yourself.
A good way to practice banishing imposter syndrome is to develop a healthy response to failure. Everyone fails at some point; we’re all human and make mistakes regularly. Beating yourself up for messing up will only take you on a downward spiral of doubting your capabilities and expertise. When you feel like an imposter, focus on the things you’re good at.
It’s important to recognize that most people have imposter syndrome when they get into business. The main thing you have to do is just keep pushing and keep your head down. You need to focus on your goals and how you can reach them and block out the opinions of others. Make sure you are providing a quality service and keep working at it. You don’t need to worry about what other people think.