I recently read an article in Inc. Magazine entitled “The Imposter Syndrome: Why Do So Many Successful Entrepreneurs Feel Like Fakes?” . As someone who has often felt “not good enough” at something (even if I am masterful at it) and wondered if I was a fake because I didn’t “” , the article caught my eye. So, why do so many successful folks, especially women feel consumed with self-doubt?
Some of the reasons cited by the article include:
- “I didn’t feel like I deserved it.”
- Success is due to some external factor like luck, timing, a fluke, or personality.
- Being successful with their business, but wondering, who would hire them if they chose to take a traditional job in an organization
- Feel ill-equipped to survive in the outside world
- Feel vulnerable because they don’t have as much formal education as their corporate counterparts
When it comes to the women in the mix, they have an added factor that fuels their feelings of self-doubt. When something goes wrong, men tend to blame things outside of themselves; however girls tend to blame themselves and internalize things. So, if a product goes bust, it is not because the product was flawed or the market just wasn’t biting. For a woman it translates into “I’m inadequate”.
What also struck me as interesting in the article is that many entrepreneurs channel these feelings of fear and insecurity into an unrelenting push to succeed. Somehow if they can keep their nose to the grindstone and work 100 hours a week, they can keep afloat. As a result of handling these negative feelings in this unproductive way, instead of ensuring success, they bring about inevitable collapse. Maybe the business doesn’t collapse but their personal life and health does instead. What we focus our thoughts on expands, so if we focus on our fear of failure, that’s what we get more of.
What’s a person to do?
Well, as someone who coaches business owners on not only making their business more successful but more importantly creating and living a thriving LIFE plan, I can assure you there are things you can do to keep the imposter gremlins at bay. Such as:
- Be mindful of what you make different events “mean”. Just like in the example above of how men versus women handle the same event, what you believe you create. Create empowering interpretations from life’s events, don’t wallow in the negative and most definitely don’t take it personally.
- Focus on the WHO of YOU not what is going on around you. Whatever business you own or job you hold will come and go; but you are stuck with YOURSELF for life. Investing in your own personal growth builds the character and life skills to not only succeed but FEEL successful and fulfilled
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison only leads to distress especially when the way you think it is may not be the way it is at all. Ever compare yourself to a powerful, successful CEO who owns their own business? Well, that same CEO could’ve been profiled for this article.
- Get support. No one should have to plow through life and business challenges alone. Join a like-minded mastermind or networking group or hire a coach. The investment in time, money, and energy will yield results many times over.
If you’re looking for this kind of support so you can explore your self-doubt in a safe, confidential way and transform that into self-confidence and business results, surf on over to my website to learn more about how I can help.