Many businesswomen wrestle with impostor syndrome. Typically associated with high achievers, impostor syndrome runs thick in the veins as it is an unconscious mindset picked up from society. The impostor syndrome feeling doesn’t have anything to do with what you have done or how much you know. It has more to do with the fear of being exposed, vulnerable, or rejected. Impostor syndrome may show up to derail your feelings of confidence or self-worth, causing you to question the experience and expertise you own. We have all experienced it at some point, but the key here is to be aware when it shows up, so it doesn’t slow your business and your growth.
Be aware of the signs – The first step is to acknowledge your feelings and remind yourself that feelings are important but don’t necessarily reflect reality. Reframe your negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, you can say, “I am confident and will be successful because I have what it takes.”
Let go of perfectionism – It is essential to reset the bar to a realistic level; this doesn’t mean you will settle for less. It means focusing on the value you provide and letting go of perfection. Know that the product or service you offer will be evolving, as it will allow you to say, “Good is good enough,” and move forward. Otherwise, you can get stuck in wanting everything to be perfect, which is not realistic.
Distinguish between humility and fear – “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less” – C.S. Lewis. There is a difference between being humble and having fears. Being humble is getting out of your way and focusing on your clients. Being afraid is settling for less. Your fears can keep you playing small, so it is essential to let go of fears which don’t allow you to move forward. Don’t let your fears sabotage your growth.
Track your success – Remind yourself of the things you have accomplished so far. Accept that you had something to do with your success; it was not just pure luck. Write down your key achievements of the last five years. Keep a file with all your accomplishments and positive feedback from people. When self-doubt creeps in, review your file.
Be kind to yourself – Being kind to yourself can be as simple as not entertaining the negative self-talk, instead focus on your good qualities. When you catch yourself being critical, take a deep breath and tell yourself you are doing your best.
Letting go of impostor syndrome doesn’t occur overnight, but it will happen if you have focus and determination and stop feeding self-doubt. As your confidence builds along with your success, accept who you are, acknowledge all you have done and believe in where you are going because you’ve got the skills and experience to take you there!
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