6 Signs You Might Be Suffering from Imposter Syndrome and What to Do About It


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As an entrepreneur or small business owner, it’s normal to feel like you’re constantly juggling a million different things and that any misstep could be devastating.

But sometimes, this feeling goes beyond anxiousness and self-doubt and becomes what’s known as “imposter syndrome.”

Here are 6 signs that you might be suffering from imposter syndrome – and what you can do about it.

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is the constant feeling that you’re not good enough, despite all evidence to the contrary.

It’s a belief that manifests itself when you receive praise or positive feedback. Instead of feeling deserving of the accolades, you feel like a fraud.

This can cause serious damage to your work, career, and personal life.

The concept was first coined in the 1970s by psychologists studying athletes and business executives.

They discovered that even the most successful people often failed to understand their own worth. This could lead to performance problems.

If you think you might be suffering from imposter syndrome, it’s important to take action.

Recognizing the signs early can help you avoid making decisions that could hold you back professionally and personally.

Don’t let imposter syndrome prevent you from reaching your full potential.

1 – Minimizing Your Achievements 

Achievements are a big deal. They should be celebrated.

They should be loudly proclaimed from the rooftops. But for people with imposter syndrome, achievements are anything but a big deal. In fact, they’re treated as a complete joke.

When someone praises you for an achievement, your first instinct is to rebut it.

You brush it off as no big deal, downplay your role in it, and give all the credit to someone else.

Deep down, you don’t believe that you’re deserving of the praise.

You think that anyone could have done what you did and that you just got lucky.

feel like an imposter | zindo+co
via Twitter

This is a problem because it means that you’re constantly undervaluing yourself and your accomplishments.

You don’t give yourself the credit you deserve, which can lead to feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.

It’s important to recognize your achievements for what they are and to celebrate them accordingly.

Otherwise, you’ll always be living in the shadow of imposter syndrome.

2 – Chalking It Up to Luck

I recently had a conversation with a friend and he shared,

I always feel like a fraud. Like I’m going to be found out at any moment. That I’m not really as good as everyone seems to think I am.

And it’s not just me.

I see the same doubts, the same insecurity in the eyes of other friends and colleagues.

We all suffer from imposter syndrome. We all feel like we’re just one step away from being exposed as a fraud.

It’s easy to attribute our successes to luck.

We downplay our skills and hard work, convinced that we just got lucky this time.

But the truth is, luck has nothing to do with it.

We’ve worked hard for everything we have.

We’ve put in the hours, made the sacrifices, and taken the risks.

We’ve earned our place at the table.

giphy | zindo+co
via giphy

Next time you’re feeling like an imposter, remember that you are just as deserving as anyone else.

Remember that you’ve put in the work and that you deserve to be where you are.

And most importantly, remember that you’re not alone.

We all feel like imposters from time to time. But that doesn’t make it true.

3 – Fear You’re Not Measuring up

Do you ever feel like you’re just not measuring up? Like no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be good enough?

If so, you’re not alone.

This feeling affects people from all walks of life.

People with imposter syndrome often secretly fear they don’t measure up to others’ expectations.

These could be the expectations of your boss at work, your family members, or even friends and business partners.

giphy | zindo+co
via giphy

No matter how often they confirm that you’re doing a great job, you feel like it’s never enough.

Imposter syndrome can make you second-guess every decision you make, and it can cause you to doubt your own abilities.

If left unchecked, imposter syndrome can lead to anxiety, depression, and even substance abuse.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to overcome this feeling. If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, talk to a therapist or counselor.

They can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms and boost your self-confidence.

You might also want to consider attending a support group for people with imposter syndrome.

There, you’ll be surrounded by others who understand what you’re going through.

Remember, you are not alone in this. With help, you can overcome imposter syndrome and start living your best life.

4 – You’re on the ‘Imposter Cycle’

The imposter cycle is a pattern that starts with anxiety leading to intense over-preparation and planning.

Driven by the fear of not doing a looming task well, you go through a frantic process of preparing.

This may be accompanied by procrastination and excuse-making. When the project is accomplished, you feel a momentary sense of satisfaction until you think of the next undertaking.

This is a terrible way to try and start and grow a business.

imposter syndrome | zindo+co
via Twitter

The constant fear of failure and self-doubt leads to paralysis by analysis.

You can never move forward because you’re too busy trying to perfect your plans.

Meanwhile, your competition is already out there making mistakes and learning from them. They are gaining ground while you stay stuck in the same spot.

To be successful in business, you need to learn to embrace failure.

Accept that you will make mistakes and that they are part of the learning process.

Use them as opportunities to grow and improve.

Only then will you be able to break out of the imposter cycle and achieve the success you desire.

5 – You Don’t Ask What You’re Worth

It’s been said that you don’t get what you deserve in life, you get what you negotiate. And nowhere is this truer than when it comes to money.

If you don’t value yourself highly and ask for what you’re worth, chances are no one else will either.

This is why it’s so important to understand your true worth – not just in terms of your skills and experience, but also in terms of the value you bring to the table.

Once you know your worth, you can start asking for what you deserve – whether it’s a pay raise, a better benefits package, or simply more respect from those around you.

Don’t sell yourself short – understanding and asserting your worth is the first step to getting everything you deserve out of life.

6 – An Impossible Standard of Success

Sometimes, it feels like no matter what we do, we’ll never be good enough.

We set impossibly high standards for ourselves, and then beat ourselves up when we don’t meet them. This inner perfectionism can be debilitating, leading us to feel like we’re not deserving of success.

It’s a form of self-sabotage that can keep us from reaching our potential.

If you find yourself feeling fear or anxiety when you think about your goals, it may be a sign that you’re setting an impossible standard of success.

Instead of letting this perfectionism paralyze you, use it as motivation to push yourself to new levels.

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Remember that even if you don’t reach your goal the first time, you can always try again.

You are capable of greatness, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

10 Tips to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

1 – Know the Signs. You’ve learned the signs here, so you can put this to use right now. Pay attention to your words and actions and interrogate the feelings that arise. Where are they coming from and why?

2 – Fight Imposter Syndrome by Facing the Facts. The negative emotions you feel are baseless and unfounded. To help remind yourself of this, maintain a collection of evidence that highlights your progress and accomplishments. This will serve as a constant reminder of just how much you have achieved.

3. Sharing Is Caring–Your Feelings, That Is. You’re not the only one who feels this way. In fact, some of the most successful people have felt exactly as you do too! For example, both Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou have admitted to feeling inadequate before. So go out there and talk to others who feel the same way as you; it’ll help put things into perspective for ya.

4 – Learn to Not Compare. One way to avoid imposter syndrome is by not comparing yourself to others. Everyone is different and has their own journey, so the comparison is moot. When you catch yourself doing it, reframe your thinking and remind yourself of this.

5 – Celebrate Your Successes. It’s easy to focus on your failures and shortcomings when you have imposter syndrome, but try to remember all the exceptional things you’ve achieved. Write them down or keep a picture of them somewhere visible so you can remind yourself daily of how great you are!

6 – List up Your Strengths. Keep a list of your skills, qualifications, experience, and natural strengths on hand to remind you of your worth whenever you need it.

7 – Switch Up the Self-Talk to Something More Positive. Transform negative thoughts into positive ones. We sometimes unknowingly think negatively about ourselves, leading to insecurities. Acknowledge the negative internal dialogue and reprogram it with something more affirmative.”

8 – Reframe Failure. Without “failure,” how would you know what success looks like? Reevaluate your perspective on so-called failures and see them for what they really are–valuable learning experiences.

9 – Visualize Your Success. Success looks different for everyone, so take some time to think about what it means to you. Visualize yourself achieving your goals and imagine how satisfied you’ll feel. This will help you set realistic standards and be proud of your accomplishments.

10 – Let Go Of The Need For Perfection. Don’t aim for perfectionism; rather, focus on your progress and growth. Sometimes, “good enough” is sufficient while you work towards doing better. Let go of the constant need to be perfect and adjust your standards accordingly.

Remember, feeling like a fraud is not uncommon and it doesn’t define your worth or capabilities.

By implementing these tips, you can start to combat Imposter Syndrome and become more confident in yourself and your abilities.

P/S: Remember, you’re not alone. We invite you to join others just like you who are learning to find their voice, push through their imposter syndrome and grow their business. We believe in you and your unique talents. And we know that you can overcome any obstacle when you set your mind to it. Don’t let imposter syndrome hold you back any longer. Join us today and let’s achieve great things together.

Audra Carpenter
Audra Carpenter
Audra Carpenter has managed and launched multiple businesses across several different industries, in several different states.Since 2009, she has found her unmistakable place in the world of launching and scaling businesses online. After years of self-teaching, taking risks, and building new things, she launched zindo+co, which a virtual marketplace for launching, growing, and scaling a business online.

Every new adventure starts with the first step—and so does every new business. You’ve already taken the first step of your adventure by launching your business, now let’s take the next step together.

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