What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Updated: Oct 17, 2022
In one episode I welcomed a guest from Ashland, Oregon, who owns Cafe Girl Thriving Artists – this is the very southern part of our State, and one of the prettiest regions. During our discussion we ventured into imposter syndrome.
What is imposter syndrome, why is it important, and why should an entrepreneur care?
It is quite serendipitist, which means agreeable things not sought for or phenomenon of finding value, that this is the topic I will highlight.
The reason I say this is because I just recently presented on Overcoming Imposter Syndrome at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers in Vancouver, Washington, and the response I have received since that presentation has been enormous!
In short, imposter syndrome is doubting your ability and feeling like a fraud – that sense that you do not belong for one reason or another.
But why is it important to know about imposter syndrome?
Because this phenomenon disproportionately affects high-achieving people.
As an entrepreneur, you may feel this phenomenon at some point – I know I have and still do. These are moments of feeling like…when are they going to figure out, I don’t belong. If you have followed me this far then you have heard my story – my personal story. It is a story of feeling like I do not belong, and many of us feel that at times.
Here are a few tips:
It is ok to highlight your accomplishments – it is not boosting; it is recognizing work done. I continue to say I have never failed a day in my life: I either succeed or I learn. Failure to me is I have given up and I will no longer try. I will not do that. As Henry Ford once said, failure is only the opportunity to being again more intelligently”
Showcasing work may also open other opportunities, as it has for me.
Stop comparing lives to the carefully crated profiles we see on social media – that is a trap for feeling like you do not measure up. We have to rewrite the script playing in our mind, “wait until they find out I have no idea what I am doing!” mindset
You do not have to be a social media influencer, to be an influencer.
Next time you walk into a room full of brilliant people, don’t think “on my God everyone here is brilliant and I am not” – instead, think of the opportunity you have to learn from their brilliance!
Visualize success like you would visualize making a basketball shot, a golf putt, a perfectly mixed morning coffee – got to visualize the success. Perfect practice does not make perfect – true perfection is virtually impossible to obtain and failing to do so does not make you a fraud
Let go of perfectionism. Last person to allegedly be perfect walked on water and made a feast out of bread and such.
Fake it ‘til you make it baby!! Ok, ok – let me example this piece a little more. Fake it ‘til you make it is a well-known phrase, not really sure when or how it became famous as there is still some debate
Fake it ‘til you make it is to show confidence, competence, and an optimistic mindset. The best way to achieve this is through networking. Find a Facebook Group or Reedit form and connect with other likeminded folks. A big piece of networking is support from others. These peers can help support the entrepreneur during downturns, such as a pandemic. Networking also builds self-confidence – trust me, I know.
Lastly, if none of that works and you and still truly feeling down, it is ok to seek help from others, such as a friend, colleague, family member, or if need be seek professional help
As a society we need to remove the stigma of asking for support. Kindness and compassion instead of judgement and self-doubt help maintain realistic expectations.
And that is why an entrepreneur should care.
There has been a growing sense of isolation and burnout from entrepreneurs around the world, including here locally. Success as an entrepreneur is never guaranteed, and fame and fortune is even less likely.
However, understanding that there are community members in the entrepreneurs’ corners is important. Amazon is going to be ok if we shop somewhere else – I think Bezos will be fine finding a way to get that yacht of his through a port or two, but I am more concerned about my neighbor, and my neighbor’s neighbor.
We are a global community.
We are citizens of Earth.
We are entrepreneurs.