Overcoming Impostor Syndrome as a Business Owner
Our business is nearly finalized. Joe and I currently run three websites – I’m actively putting together The Social Well, Joe runs EccentricWare, and of course, this site, thehollypeck. Soon, we need to go sign paperwork for our corporation (not just an LLC, we’re going with an S Corp!). I’ve already brought in more than $200,000 in sales from two completely different business. My team of nearly a hundred Color Street nail bosses has sold more than $150,000 worth of nail polish (and yes, it’s an $11-14 product) in the past year. On Black Friday, I bought website hosting, the Divi Wordpress theme, and installed WordPress and the theme without blinking an eye. Why then, do I feel like such an imposter? Here’s just a few reminders for myself, as I personally work on overcoming imposter syndrome as a business owner. My hope is that these words may resonate with you as well.
What is Impostor Syndrome?
Let’s go straight to the dictionary for an answer:
“Originally called impostor phenomenon, impostor syndrome, as it’s now usually called, is commonly understood as a false and sometimes crippling belief that one’s successes are the product of luck or fraud rather than skill.” Retrieved from Merriam-Webster “Words at Play” blog, 11/30/2018.
Have you ever heard someone who, when asked about their success, just kind of shrugged, and said “right place, right time”? That is a form of impostor syndrome right there.
Sure, there is a time and a place for “old money” or for those who have connections (though, from my observations, they don’t tend to downplay their success as much as those who have worked hard for it).
Why Impostor Syndrome in Business Hurts You
Impostor syndrome leads you to believe that you’re only successful because you got lucky. Because you just happened to start in the right place at the right time.
You know, folks may SAY that – I mean, I’ve heard it in business many times. Truthfully, I’ve even thought it (much to my chagrin).
“How did she hit that top rank in her direct sales business?”
“Just got lucky, I guess – joined at the right time and was in the right place.”
I could not possibly hate that more. Here’s the thing: some may THINK that they see luck, but it’s disguised as hard work.
The same thing happens in the blogging world.
“How does she make a living out of her blog? I mean, come on, it’s sooooo basic. Just post stuff on the internet, and people buy. How hard is that? She must have just started blogging at the right time. It’s too late for me to do that; so many other people do the exact same thing.”
Again, stop. Behind the scenes, successful bloggers are constantly tweaking their blogs; learning SEO strategies, creating courses to share their knowledge, promoting their posts, scheduling content on social media, etc. The work could go on constantly until the end of time.
But let’s go back to the core here: if you attribute your success to sheer dumb luck, you invalidate the power of all the work that you did to achieve success.
You hear me?
There are enough people out there who will put you down; you do not need to join those ranks.
Let’s Talk About How to Conquer Impostor Syndrome (in Your Business)
Friend, first off, acknowledge your success.
Pause. Look around. Look how far you’ve come, and how much progress you’ve made. That didn’t just happen. It happened because you put your head down, and you did the work. You’ve progressed further than you’ve ever dreamed possible.
Secondly, look at what didn’t happen. Did your work change your goals? If you’re like me, then YES. When you started to hone in on your goals, hopes, and dreams, you probably experienced a shift. A fine-tuning, if you will. Work shapes and refines you, and helps you to gain that laser focus on your goals. Revel in that: you are not an impostor in your success. If everything had been sheer dumb luck, then it wouldn’t fit your goals, hopes, directions, and dreams.
Finally, if you’re still claiming that your success is the gift of serendipity, then I’d encourage you to sit down and take a second look. Look at what led up your success. See the late nights spent working. Note the financial sacrifices. Dedication and discipline were hallmarks of your journey.
Tell me in the comments – do you struggle with impostor syndrome? What do you do to help work through it? How do you overcome it?
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