Feeling Inadequate in Your Field? Let's Unpack That.
How to stop self-doubt and crush your most outrageous goals.
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You’re great at what you do…or at least, you thought you were. Suddenly, you’re having second thoughts. Maybe your success came quickly, and now, you’re not sure if you have what it takes to jump to the next level. Maybe you feel like you’ve made it this far because of dumb luck or solely your “connections.”
All of the above are classic signs of imposter syndrome. Despite being a smart, talented, capable entrepreneur, you still somehow feel like you don’t belong in the winners’ circle. Instead of celebrating your achievements, you worry that none of them are actually real and that all your hard work will come crashing down around you.
These feelings are shared by most of us at some point and it sucks when we feel this way. While these thoughts feel very real, they’re often not true. It’s important to call out imposter syndrome for what it is because it can severely limit your potential.
Do you have imposter syndrome? Here’s how to spot it from a mile away and deal with it so you can keep thriving!
5 Telltale Signs of Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is hallmarked by feelings of doubt, but that’s not its only form. Look for these sneaky ways imposter syndrome tries to disguise itself.
Agonizing Over Small Flaws
Many of us entrepreneurs want our work to be perfect. We take great pride in it. But when you agonize over every minor detail, even if it has no bearing on the final outcome, you might have imposter syndrome.
Sweating the small stuff blocks us from making progress on the activities, projects, and goals that really matter.
Sensitivity to Constructive Criticism
Feedback is a good thing. It’s an AMAZING thing in fact. It helps you see your product or service from a new perspective. If you have imposter syndrome, you may struggle to accept constructive criticism. You feel like any negative comment means you’re not good at what you do. Instead of learning and growing from it, you feel like a failure.
What’s worse is you might even avoid getting feedback, preventing you from gaining valuable insight that can help you improve.
Thinking Anyone Can Do What You Do
People with imposter syndrome don’t realize they’re something special. They think anyone can follow the same path and get the same results. Of course, this isn’t true. Your unique skill set, background, and experiences have brought you to where you are.
When you struggle to recognize your unique strengths, you may stop yourself from pursuing opportunities that are perfect for you — limiting your chance at success.
Giving Others Credit for Your Success
If you have imposter syndrome, you’re likely too eager to attribute your success to others. Yes, success can be a team effort, but it takes quality leadership to get there. It’s okay to give yourself some credit.
If no one is aware of the ways we are straight up killing it, they won’t realize when they should send other business or opportunities our way.
Not Accepting Flattery or Praise
When people compliment or praise you, they’re usually not doing it just to be nice. If you have imposter syndrome, you might not realize this. Instead, you might not feel worthy of others’ flattery.
When we refuse to accept others’ compliments, we may think we’re simply being modest, but we’re actually insulting the person giving us praise, making them less likely to give it in the future.
Confronting Imposter Syndrome Head-On
Recognizing imposter syndrome as soon as possible can help you get ahead of it and take back control. If left unchecked, these feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness can severely limit your potential to grow as a person and business. You’ve come too far to let that happen!
So, how do you fight back against imposter syndrome and win? It starts with knowing the signs. Now that you know many of those, here’s what’s next:
Acknowledge That Excelling at Something Should Feel Natural
If what you’re doing feels too easy, should you try something harder? Not necessarily. Remember, when you’re really good at something, it feels natural, and maybe even easy.
That doesn’t mean you’re an imposter; it simply means you’ve honed your craft and skills so much that they feel second nature. Take pride when pieces just fall into place for you. You worked hard for that sense of flow.
Be Kind to Yourself
Imposter syndrome sufferers can be their own worst critics. It’s easy to get down on yourself and tell yourself your successes aren’t anything to get excited about.
Remember to speak to yourself with kindness & compassion, even when you feel like a fraud. It gets you out of the habit of negative self-talk and can lessen feelings of fakeness. Turn around your internal dialogue to focus on positive affirmations. For example, instead of thinking, you got lucky, think about the steps you took to reach that milestone. You’ll find there was more work and skill involved than you first realized.
Try to speak to yourself the way you would to a friend or protege that you mentor. Be positive and encouraging!
Flip the Script
Even the most successful people can’t completely shake off imposter syndrome. Instead of trying to get rid of it altogether, refocus your energy and use it to your advantage. Feeling like an imposter can be motivating to some people. It makes you try harder and say yes to new opportunities. These can be huge stepping stones as you climb your way upward.
Having imposter syndrome doesn’t mean you’re doomed to never realize your full potential. It can be a sign of progress. If you weren’t rising through the ranks in your career in business, you’d be frustrated about your lack of progress, not worrying about whether you’ve earned the progress you have achieved.
Read through the strategies outlined above and put them into action. It will get easier to deal with overtime, even if it never fully goes away — because it rarely does, for any of us.
Watch my YouTube video on imposter syndrome for more insights and action tips.