Imposter Syndrome in Business: Fighting False Feelings

Tell me if any of these sound familiar:

“I can’t do it, why am I even trying?” 

“I’m not good enough, I will never be.”

“She does it so much better, I should just give up.”

“Why would anyone want to buy from me?”

“I don’t deserve this, I didn’t do anything special.”

“Everyone else around me is succeeding, but I’m failing.” 

If you’ve heard these voices in your head, especially as you’ve tried to start and grow your business, you’ve likely experienced some of the many voices of imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is that voice in your head that constantly whispers lies, that makes you feel unimportant and insignificant, that echoes your fears and loudly proclaims that you’re going to fail. It starts in your mind and moves to your ears and can manifest itself in your actions, or rather, inactions.

According to one article, lack of self-confidence, anxiety, doubts about your thoughts, abilities, achievements and accomplishments, negative self-talk, feelings of inadequacy, dwelling on past mistakes and not feeling good enough — these are all signs and symptoms of imposter syndrome.

Just imagine what this can do to someone starting a new business. There is so much competition out there. And it seems like everyone else is excelling and succeeding. With all of these negative voices screaming so loudly at you, threatening your imminent failure, pressuring you to give up and not take chances… how can you fight those false feelings and get rid of them for good?

Here are my top 5 suggestions on how to combat imposter syndrome.

  1. Separate fact from feelings – When those thoughts seep into your mind, take the time to do a quick reality check. Understanding when your mind is telling you a lie versus actual facts can help you to realize that even though you may feel stupid, in reality, you are not stupid.
  2. Avoid the Dirty C’s – The top three things that make people unhappy in life are comparing, competing, and complaining. Learn to accept your wins and hold yourself accountable for your shortcomings, and set personal goals to improve the things you feel you could do better. This will help you focus more on improving your circumstances rather than feeling disappointed in yourself whenever you make a mistake.
  3. Celebrate your wins and your failures – Don’t over-celebrate your wins and don’t under-celebrate your failures. Keep it close to neutral. When you have a successful moment, give yourself a hug or treat yourself to an extra TV show or sleeping in for an extra 15 minutes the next morning. Instead of coming down on yourself for mistakes and failures, tell yourself “It’s okay, everyone makes mistakes,” and “This is/was an opportunity for learning and growth.” Give yourself credit for the effort, there’s no need to punish yourself for anything less than a win.
  4. Break the cycle of continually seeking validation from others – Remember that YOU are the key to your happiness, not someone else. Especially in business. If compliments make you, insults will break you. Don’t rely on others to tell you whether your idea or business is a good idea or not, you determine that. After all, people sell artwork made from vomit for tens of thousands of dollars online. How bad could it be?
  5. Believe you can succeed – I’m basically saying fake it ‘til you make it. Look confident. Act confident. Be confident. If you’re looking for validation, here it is. You can do this. You got this. You truly do have what it takes to succeed. The world needs your expertise, opinion and experiences. The world needs the products you have to sell. You just have to convince them that they need it, and that will be easy. You can and will be successful. Believe it and then do it.

About the Author:

Corri Anna Matheson is the Chief of Staff for The Mom Empire. She wears many hats – as a stay-at-home Mom and a long-time blogger, self-proclaimed chef, actress, model, web designer, extreme couponer, marketing specialist, cat lover, Wife to her true love, and Mother of two beautiful, happy children. Her blog, Femiology, is a women’s lifestyle blog that shares fashion and fitness advice, recipes, crafts, DIY activities, couponing tips, and family fun. She spends her time doing all the things she loves.