In the words of Michelle Obama, who said, ' I still have a little imposter syndrome…it doesn't go away, that feeling that you shouldn’t take me that seriously. What do I know? I share that with you because we all have doubts in our abilities, about our power and what that power is.’
The former first lady is not the only ONE who has experienced Imposter Syndrome. We all have at some point in our journey. Whether that’s with our business, career, relationships, parenting, or measuring up to the ever-shifting standards of success echoed by social media, peer-comparison, and even more so, our inner critic.
So what is Imposter Syndrome anyways?
It's the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or legitimately achieved due to one's efforts or skills. It shows up in feelings of self-doubt, personal incompetence, and experiences of feeling like a phony or fraud. It arises from various factors, primarily family dynamics, low self-esteem, fear of failure, societal expectations, and racial and/or gender discrimination, to name a few. The tale signs that you or a loved one might be experiencing a case of Imposter Syndrome might look like the inability to realistically assess your competence and skills, overachieving, overwhelming self-doubt, and sabotaging your success. Although Imposter Syndrome affects both men and women, studies have shown that it disproportionately affects high-achieving women.
An often-overlooked contributor to Imposter Syndrome is the family background and parental style you were raised in, which can manifest in several ways. For instance, receiving no praise from your parents, grandparents, or carers growing can lead to the belief that you are not worthy of praise because you're a fraud and not good enough. Equally, sibling comparison can cause feelings of inadequacy.
If you heard your parents comparing your achievements to your sibling or putting conditions on your reward, such as not getting to play with your friends because you didn't do your chores, it can lead to the belief system that your self-worth is tied to peer comparison or punishment. Alternatively, family labels can also render the effects of Imposter syndrome. For example, perhaps you were overly praised and given the title of the 'smart one' or 'sensitive one,' which have become the identity sabotage in your adult life.
What does Imposter Syndrome have to do with my business?
Well, think of this, your business is a direct reflection of yourself, meaning the thoughts, beliefs, convictions that you ascribe to knowingly or unknowingly due to your subconscious programming at play. Imposter Syndrome, if left unchecked, can creep into your business; for instance, you feel like you can't keep up with the constantly changing business trends, or perhaps your business is thriving, but you often compare yourself to more successful businesses.
Great, well, what can I do about it?
Check your thoughts by taking time to reflect. Imposter Syndrome comes from limiting beliefs, which are essentially thoughts, opinions, and convictions you have held to be the absolute truth but are limiting what you believe is possible for yourself or what you will allow for yourself.
An effective exercise you can do today is the 4 Steps To Turning Imposter Syndrome on Its Head:
Step 1 Identify Your Limiting Belief
Pick a top limiting belief surrounding your Imposter Syndrome.
Step 2 Document Your Limiting Belief
Step 3 Reframe the Belief
Step 4 Declare Your New Belief
Come up with an Identity focused affirmation (ideally starting with I AM..) to support your new thinking. Ensure to place your new declaration on a post-it and in a space, you can access daily. Speak life into your belief through daily repetitions until it becomes your new normal.
You are not alone. And although the inner work may be testing, remind yourself of what is waiting on the other side of Imposter Syndrome.
By the way, we invite you to meet Kwasi Kwarteng MP Secretary of State Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Come and meet businesswomen and men who support them from all corners of the globe.
Step Up To Ask The UK Goverment Anything About Business next Wednesday
Meet the UK Secretary of State Next Wednesday (26.01.2022) at 13:00 GMT online with WinTrade Global to ask him any questions you have about business in the UK and what the government is doing for us women in business.