Many moons ago, I worked as a Senior Financial Analyst at a publicly traded company. I had just graduated from Rice University with my MBA.
During my time at Rice, the majority of the classes I took where Finance related. I was on a mission to disprove the belief I held for years that I wasn’t good with numbers. I knew that I wanted to continue learning about Finance after graduation. I was fortunate to land a fantastic job with great pay and benefits and I learned a lot during my time in Corporate Finance.
Truth be told, it wasn’t all roses.
I struggled a lot. Every day I’d go into the office with a sinking feeling that this would be the day that I’d be found out. The C Suite would realize they’d made a mistake in hiring me and I’d be fired on the spot and escorted by security out of the building. It was enough to send me into an anxious frenzy.
I didn’t realize it then, but I was dealing with a serious case of imposter syndrome. Harvard Business Review says that imposter syndrome “can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.”
This was me all the way. I was actually doing great work, but I didn’t see that at the time. I was just so anxious that someone would call me out for not remembering the YoY change in margin or for not being able to calculate a figure on the spot in two seconds flat.
When I transitioned into Life Coaching, I thought my days of imposter syndrome were over.
However, I learned very quickly that when you become an entrepreneur, a different set of concerns pops up and can leave you feeling like a fraud.
I found myself wearing multiple hats (Finance & Accounting, Sales & Marketing, IT, Customer Service, Logistics and this was all before I even stepped foot into a life coaching session) and feeling inadequate. How could I call myself a successful Life Coach when I wasn’t measuring up to the standards of powerhouses like Gabby Bernstein, Cara Alwill Leyba and Marie Forleo?
You may be experiencing this same feeling of not being enough in your business. I want you to know that you’re here to do great things and it starts by setting yourself up for success (especially when it comes to your mindset). Today I want to share with you four tips that can help you bust through your entrepreneurial imposter syndrome:
1. Reframe what you’re experiencing.
The only power that someone or something has over you is the power you give it. Oftentimes, we look at our experience in a very specific way, not realizing that there are literally a dozen other interpretations and meanings that we could assign to what we are currently going through. I want to invite you to reframe the meaning you’re assigning to what’s happening around you.
Choose the interpretation that empowers and energizes you.
For example: Didn’t hit your sales goal this month? Instead of beating yourself up mentally, turn this into a learning experience. Take a look under the hood and evaluate your strategy:
- What worked and what didn’t?
- Were you able to communicate the value of your products and services in a way that showed the potential client how it would benefit them?
- Did you show up consistently on social media and did you take the time to craft meaningful messages for your e-mail list?
- Are you crystal clear on who you’re serving and what problem you’re solving?
Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I want to encourage you to adopt a growth mindset and to reframe every perceived failure or mistake as a lesson.
If you are learning, you are NOT failing.
You simply have “the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently,” as Henry Ford said.
2. Give yourself the time, space, grace and permission to improve.
When you become an entrepreneur, you’re literally creating something that hasn’t yet existed in the market.
Sure, you can read all the business development books, take all the online courses, talk to other successful entrepreneurs. All of this informs your strategy, but the reality is that only you can create the blueprint for your success. Oftentimes, other people’s strategies don’t work for you because they weren’t made for you.
That being said, give yourself the opportunity to learn, so that you can grow into the version of yourself that is a successful, thriving entrepreneur. Your dreams are always three sizes too big for you because they’re asking you to evolve and to expand into the intelligent, resourceful and highly capable person you truly are. You’ll never know the depths of your brilliance, resilience and ability if you are never put in situations where you have to develop these qualities.
3. Ask for feedback.
Don’t be one of those people who sits on the throne and thinks he knows it all.
Newsflash: you don’t.
Ask for feedback — from your team, from your vendors and especially from your clients. Work with a business coach who can help you develop your leadership muscles.
When you keep an open mind, the tremendo a-ha moments will come and will help you look at the same situation differently. Oftentimes, the answer is right in front of you, but you’re not talking to the right people or asking the right questions.
4. Celebrate your wins.
Imposter syndrome makes you think that you’re failing, when really small wins abound in your business. Become obsessed with the wins, no matter how big or small. What you focus on expands, so focus on what’s working. Give your team props when they do something right. Tell your clients how grateful you are to be working with them. Spread high energy and enthusiasm whenever you can.
The truth is that you’re blessed to work on and devote your time to your business, not someone else’s. You are courageously going into uncharted territory and creating a legacy of innovation. That’s the least impostrous thing you could ever do.
Now it’s your turn. Comment below and let me know how you handle imposter syndrome.
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