5 Ways to Overcome the Imposter Syndrome


Every entrepreneur, startup founder, freelancer, and business owner knows the dreaded feeling of the imposter syndrome. It’s a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments, according to Psychology Today. It’s this feeling that you are posing as a “fraud” in the industry and “scamming” people that are paying you to provide the service/product.


The mental phenomenon was studied to an extent in 1978 when psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes found that “despite having adequate external evidence of accomplishments, people with imposter syndrome remained convinced they didn’t deserve their success.” As you can imagine, the imposter syndrome is still alive and well in 2020. In fact, with social media at our disposal and the vulnerability of posting about one’s new idea, business, or startup, more people than ever before are afraid they are going to be “outed” as a novice in their new venture.


Rooted in a lack of confidence and experience, imposter syndrome will impact more women than men this year, convincing them to close up shop, turn around, and go back into the shadows.


However, despite its name including the word syndrome, the imposter syndrome is not an actual psychological disorder that is unbeatable or requires medical treatment. Rather, it’s a mindset roadblock that too many entrepreneurs allow to control their future. As a female solopreneur myself, I know the imposter syndrome all-too-well. That’s why I am going to provide 5 amazing ways to overcome this doubting voice in the back of your mind:



  1. Say It Out Loud and Stare It In the Face: Secrecy can turn the tiniest problem into a something that causes you to lose sleep. Speaking life into the feeling or the doubting can help you to understand it, beat it, and work past it. If you acknowledge that you are feeling this imposter constraint, tell your friends, mentors, and family. They will tell you all of the reasons why it’s just negative self-talk and why you ARE qualified. It will diminish its power over your professional endeavors.


  1. Separate Emotions from Rational Business Thought: We are only human, which is why it’s normal to bring your emotions into your business. It is, after all, your personal creation and project. However, in order to succeed in business, you need to be able to step aside and recognize when your emotions are holding you back. Realizing that negative self-talk is merely just that will set you free from the imposter syndrome. Look at the facts, your accomplishments, your testimonies, and your experience. That’s what counts.


  1. Perfectionism is Impossible: Perfecting anything is impossible. Perfection merely doesn’t exist in everyday life. Working to try and reach that level of perfectionism will slow you down and cause you to dive into wasteful mind games. Work diligently, with precision, and to your satisfaction, while letting go of this false idea of “being perfect.” It’s an impossible standard to hold yourself to, and it will never thrust you into higher levels of success.


  1. Visualize Success: Think of the big picture. Where do you want to see the business in 5-years? What do you need to do to get there? Educate yourself, practice, take on more clients, and grow as a business professional. You will have roadblocks along the way, but realize that every billionaire in the world was where you are right now. They had to “fake it until they made it,” too. Clearly, it paid off. Keep your eye on the prize so you’re not as obsessed with the distracting issues.


  1. Celebrate the Small Wins: Instead of focusing on that feeling of being an imposter, why not focus on the positive things you’ve achieved this week? Did you sign a new client? Did you receive a positive review? Did you publish an article that reaffirms your expertise? Celebrate these moments and allow them to fill your mind. It will leave less room for the self-criticism.

Your mindset is entirely what will separate you from the competition. It’s not something that is inherited, but rather, something that is learned. Imposter syndrome creeps into every new entrepreneur’s mind as they gain their business footing. Realize it’s nothing more than negative self-talk. Don’t give it the power and attention it demands.

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Author: Alexandra Fasulo


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