As an entrepreneur, success can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is the ultimate goal we work towards every day. (If we are lucky it is a B.H.A.G. - a ‘big, hairy, audacious goal’!) On the other hand, it can bring with it a feeling of imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is defined as the persistent belief that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. It is a common experience among high-achievers, especially women, who often internalize criticism, deflect praise, and count themselves lucky rather than good.
If you have ever felt out of place in your career, you may have experienced imposter syndrome. For me, these feelings are usually strongest when I am stretching towards my potential, such as going for a promotion, pitching to a new client, or presenting an ambitious plan.
The good news is that imposter syndrome can be managed, and even overcome, by using effective coping skills.
Here are 5 strategies that have worked for me:
Dress the part. As simple as it sounds, the way you dress can change your confidence, how you carry yourself, and how you enter a room.
Write a confidence letter. Remind yourself of your accomplishments and hard work. You are talented and you belong in the role.
Practice affirmations. Repeat positive statements to yourself every day such as ‘I can learn anything’, ‘No one is more prepared than me’ and ‘I am great at achieving hard things.’
Break apart the job into manageable tasks. Start where you feel most confident and experienced. Build on those successes.
Celebrate the wins. Don't minimize your accomplishments. Take a moment to share and savor your victories.
It's important to remember that high-achievers often experience imposter syndrome — think Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Lupita Nyong’o and many, many more.
The key is to acknowledge and manage it. Keep putting your hand up and work on admitting to yourself that you do belong. Success is a journey, and with the right mindset and strategies, you can overcome imposter syndrome and smash your full potential.