Kicking Impostor Syndrome
to the Curb Once and For All
There’s a riot going on in your head. It’s quiet… and not at all fun.
Our thoughts play a huge role in whether we’ll experience success or failure — they are the difference between looking forward to a happy hour and NEEDING one.
Fixating on the wrong thoughts can cloud our vision of success, forcing us to downplay it instead of proudly shouting accomplishments of all sizes from the rooftop. (Ahem… showering before 10 p.m. is a huge accomplishment as a solopreneur.)
written by: Andrea hubbert
reading time: 5 minutes
The solopreneur life isn’t for everyone; however, if that’s your chosen path, it is possible to be a successful one with the right mindset. Meaning you will have to let go of old thought patterns. A lot of them.
Let me give it to you straight… no chaser. Impostor syndrome is like the date you met up with after a flirty exchange on some app. You believed every word they said until you began to dig a little deeper and realized they were the exact opposite of their profile. No thanks.
Remember how you got rid of them? You stopped believing the lies and moved on.
Why not do the same thing to kick the idea that all your talents and accomplishments are the result of some sort of dumb luck. They aren’t.
As a matter of fact, let’s try to identify the thought monster(s) affecting you right now:
This is classic impostor syndrome behavior… affecting men and women alike. We often experience this when instead of celebrating our achievements with our best bottle of champagne, we feel like any moment we’ll be exposed as a fraud. This is not the case.
In these situations what we need to remember is that the value we provide is being who we are… in all ways… every day. Even if 100 people are offering the same exact thing as us, our approach to it will be completely different. And that is not something anyone else will be able to copy (at least not well).
Our audience decides what’s valuable to them. Let’s not take that away by not showing up. Once we accept that our special sauce is exactly what our kindreds need, we’ll stop wondering “why us?” and will start saying “Hell yeah… me!”
You are uniquely qualified. Accept it.
Yep, we solopreneurs can fall into this “larger than reality” trap too. Often, small business owners believe that “making it” means conforming to someone else’s standards; aspiring to do, say or be like a specific guru. That’s bullshit. Don’t fall for it. If you’ve been around this joint for any length of time you know that we firmly believe the best way to dominate in any market is to lean fully into our brand archetype. (If you don’t know what yours is go take our Brand Personality DNA Quiz right now!)
So, how about if we make our own paths from now on, solo? Since trying to do the things we see and hear others doing is not a great strategy. It’s also not very motivating… leading us into situations we aren’t equipped to be in nor know how to leave. It’s much more exciting to chart our own courses to see where they’ll lead us. Wouldn't you agree?There’s also the issue of procrastination. Whenever we believe that we don’t know how to do something and “model” our actions after someone else's, we end up thinking that anything but achieving the same results means we’ve failed. Not true. Perfection doesn’t exist and striving for it often leads to procrastination or not finishing something until the last minute.
Have you ever heard the saying “every party has a pooper that’s why we invited you”? Yeah… that’s not a compliment. Look, it’s good to slow your roll in certain situations and really think things through. Heck, I’m a huge fan of people who do this consistently. That’s called being a boss. My caution to you is not to let skepticism and negativity become barriers to success. Trust yourself. Trust your plan. Trust others to help you get there.
Here are three things you can do right now to stop negative thoughts from making themselves at home in your head:
- Get physical… even if you don’t feel like it. It’s been proven that you'll feel better once you get away from your screens and out into nature. So, go. Get your heart pumping and using energy in a different way. Focus on every stride, movement, stroke you make while out there.
- Smile. I know that sounds simple, but have you ever smiled and not felt better afterward? Smile at yourself, people around you and about the things you’re able to do now that you aren’t wasting time on your negative thoughts.
- Turn up the music. Loudly. This is one of my favorite things to do. I love to crank the tunes and jam out. My iTunes library, which can play for 15 consecutive days without a repeat, has saved my sanity more times that I can remember.
Whose business is this… yours or theirs? It’s yours! To be successful, stop wasting time wondering what others think. Focus on your own thoughts. If you are happy with the work you’ve accomplished at the end of each day, then that’s all that matters.
When we do need to ask for feedback from others (clients, employees, freelancers), it’s important that we remember one thing: sometimes people just aren’t good at giving it. And if we’re someone who craves others’ opinions this can be hard to handle. We may not be able to hear the good things they’re saying because we don’t believe them. Resist this urge, friend. Take people at their word. And if you truly are unsure, ask for clarification.
Trust your instincts and go get yourself a celebratory beverage. Cheers!
There’s a lot on the line when starting or growing a business. I get it. I’ve started two. But… living in the land of over analysis and evaluating situations every which way you can doesn’t mean you won’t have a failure or two. We all fail. Sometimes more than we’d like to admit. Don’t let fear stop you from moving forward. It’s an important part of the process. Learn from it.
In fact, I recommend that you act as if your goal has alread been reached. I’m not saying that you should “fake it until you make it.” I mean from more of a visualization standpoint. See the outcome you want to achieve and then go through the motions as if you have already crushed it. If you do that enough times, you’ll become more confident in your decisions.
If visualization isn’t your thing, you can simply let yourself get excited about doing something (anything) instead of being fearful. For example, if you’re going on a first date with a new client, imagine it going well instead of all the things that can go wrong. You’ll end up walking into the meeting looking confident and calm instead of nervous and awkward.
You can do it. Dre and I have faith in you. Put all those childhood memories aside and learn to believe in yourself, too. Push past your discomfort knowing that the other side will reward you with strength, expertise and a launchpad for growth.
Sure, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns when starting or growing a business. But, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. Trust me, I’ve likely felt everything you’re feeling in those moments. Sharing those feelings with others is one of the best ways to overcome them; seeing that we aren’t the only one often provides a great moment of relief.
No matter what obstacle is in your path, from childhood or last week, know that you can overcome it. Be kind to yourself. And mean it.
Remember, success isn’t born from perfection. It comes from action.
As solopreneurs, our desire for perfection can often lead us down a slippery slope of procrastination, jealousy and bitterness. Let’s stop listening to those slick ads and outrageous videos that promise to help us achieve it. Perfection doesn’t exist.
I know this might be hard to hear, but sometimes good enough is just that… good enough. Entrepreneurship is an iterative journey which means you can also revise and modify at any time.
Want to beat your success blockers? Admit they exist. Take a hard look at yourself. Do the work to kick those thought monsters out of your head, then make a plan to move forward. Get some successes under your belt. The more you know what winning feels like the more you’ll want to experience it.
Here’s a great way to start:
Step No. 1 >> Write down every accomplishment you can remember — big and small. Go back as far as you can. This isn’t the time to censor yourself; everything counts, even your 5th grade science fair project blue ribbon. Put that shit down. Own it! By doing this you will see that you have made significant achievements in your life that are worth celebrating; hopefully, giving you confidence to achieve more in the future.
Step No. 2 >> Decide how to turn some of your most prominent achievements into stories that you can use to woo kindreds to you. You never know who you’ll inspire when you do. Need help crafting those stories? We gotchu, check out our post on driving business growth through storytelling.