The persistent fear of being exposed as incompetent.
You probably know the feeling.
You’re there in front of your team, a client, your banker, an investor or even your spouse.
That voice in your head won’t go away.
“You don’t belong.”
“You don’t deserve this.”
“You will fail!”
If Imposter Syndrome Strikes, What To Do?
I see it in many business owners, as they push forward into new and unfamiliar territory.
They tend to react in one of two ways:
- The ‘fake it till you make it’ strategy: use big words, buzz words, jingo and jargon. Talk fast, avoid difficult topics and then rush home to cry under their favourite blanket, or
- Pause. Breathe. Accept that these feelings are a natural byproduct of stretching oneself. And just take one next step.
The wise choose the latter.
Honest Self-reflection, And Seeking Good Help
First, work out what you know and what you don’t know.
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your skill level and experience.
Most importantly, understand that getting help is easier than you think.
Someone, somewhere, has the expertise you need to achieve your goals.
It’s likely that person was once just as out of their depth as you are.
All you need to do is reach out.
We’ve all been there.
Many of the best people in your field have overcome Imposter Syndrome to get where they are today.
Some of my most successful clients have had experiences just like yours.
Though their respective encounters with Imposter Syndrome differed, the solutions were the same:
- They were patient and humble
- They sought out mentors
- They asked the hard questions and accepted the risk of looking foolish or incompetent, and
- They understood that Imposter Syndrome is a symptom of pushing yourself to a higher level.
As you grow your small business, you will most likely encounter this feeling so you may as well learn to live with it early.
It’s not a sign of weakness.
It probably means you are on the right track.
Just use it to remind yourself to get the right team around you, ask good questions and keep learning.
Surrounding yourself with others going through the same challenging process is also a huge help.
A great starting point is joining the community we are building here.