How To Guide: Managing Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome can easily be seen as a little bit of a ‘trend’ or something that doesn’t apply to us. However, it is a real syndrome and is more common than you might think. Not simply a feeling of being an imposter in our own work or life, but a more complex set of feelings that can undermine how we work.

So how can imposter syndrome present itself? Here are just some of the established ways in which we can be effected with a couple of ideas to help us combat their effects:

  1. Perfectionism – a thankless feeling that some of us find hard to avoid. Perfectionism can stop us ‘launching’ things or delay productivity because things aren’t perfect..and we can focus on our failures instead of strengths. Perfectionism can be driven by fear of failure and can be exhausting. If you feel that you have perfectionist tendencies, it can be useful to remember how you don’t expect perfection from others and that letting go of perfectionism won’t ruin your business.
  2. Super hero status – are you driven to be all things to all people? Do you feel hat you’re failing if you can’t be parent, business owner, sibling, volunteer & more, all at the same time? Perhaps you can learn to recognise the signs and be kind to yourself, remembering that prioritising your key roles is enough. My favourite reminder is that you can’t pour from an empty cup.
  3. Goal setter – do you set yourself very high goals or expect goals to achieved very quickly while feeling a failure if they’re not? It can be useful to track success along the way so that you can see the progress you’re making. It isn’t always the end goal in micro business but that you’re on the right trajectory. Give yourself some praise.
  4. The need for expertise – do you hold back or put off saying what you want to because you don’t yet feel qualified enough to? Are you waiting for a time when you have enough knowledge or expertise? Remembering that knowledge and continued professional development is great, but it’s important to also remember that your customers and clients come to you because they are inspired, engaged and like to learn from you. No one ever has all the answers and that’s ok.
  5. A loner – technically called a soloist, perhaps you see this in yourself? You prefer to work alone for fear of asking for help and others realising that you have a gap in your knowledge or a fear that you will be ‘found out’ in some way. Clearly not asking for help or getting help is never a good idea in micro business, so take time to seek out those you really trust and dive in to get help – it will be a game changer.