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Banishing Imposter Syndrome

That nasty little gremlin we all get unwelcome visits from...

You know that voice, right? The one that whispers and nags, "You're not good enough. You don't belong here. You should be doing more. They’re doing better than you. Maybe you should just get a real job". That annoying little gremlin many people call imposter syndrome, and trust me, we've all had our run-ins with it.

Starting a business means diving into the deep end of uncertainty, facing challenges, and second-guessing every decision. Some days you feel like you’re absolutely killing it! Other days, it can feel totally exposing.

There are 5 core areas that are recognised as forms of imposter syndrome –

Perfectionism: You’ve got a brilliant eye for detail and want everything to be a high standard, but it’s slowing down your progress and you’re missing opportunities, or you're spending much longer on things than you need to. You might say things like… let me just finish this bit first... I just need to make some more of... before i can... I can’t... that bit still needs tweaking... I need more information, and then i can...

Self-Doubt: You have moments when you doubt your abilities, have confidence wobbles, second-guess yourself and/or question your decisions/path/approach. You might think things like.. am I doing enough? Do i know enough? Is it working? It’s not going to work! I should be further along by now! Maybe i should do this thing also, in case it doesn’t work! It's not really a business, and will probably always just be a hobby/side hustle.

Comparison: You find yourself constantly comparing your progress to others. You might say things like... but they did it that way and it worked. But they have more followers than me. They’re making more money than me. They have a better life balance than me. They don’t get nervous or anxious like me. I’m failing by comparison.

Fear of failure: You worry about what will happen if things go ‘wrong’, or differently to the way you planned them. You might think things like... what if it doesn’t work... It’s too risky. I’ll look silly. People might judge me. What if no-one likes it! What if it doesn’t sell...

Overworker: You’re all about the hustle culture or juggling a lot in life. You often find yourself running on fumes, burning out and/or having your creativity run dry. You might say things like... I’ll sleep/rest when i’m dead. I don’t need to/have time to take breaks. I have to work extra long hours/days to be successful. I’m working long days, but not making much progress. I don’t really do things for myself/have time for ‘me’ time.

Any of these ring true? I've pretty much ticked off each one of them over the years.

I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of the name ‘imposter syndrome’. These chosen words, that we use to describe very normal and human feelings, sounds like a disease. Almost as though we’re broken, or somewhere we’re not supposed to be. This is fundamentally not true!

As a small business owner myself, I’ve had my own experiences of ‘imposter syndrome’. 

In my case, it was exasperated by years of working in the fashion industry and having more than my fair share of exposure to toxic work environments. Those doubts and wobbles happen so sneakily, regardless of perceived confidence levels and expertise and gradually compound over time. Sprinkle in any challenging life experiences, our being in a fast-paced, tech heavy world, where it’s so easy to compare ourselves to others, and add in a big ole dash of financial and social pressure… it’s no blooming wonder we have moments of self-doubt, fear or comparisonitis... and that’s without being a biz owner.

So, how do you tackle imposter syndrome head-on? Here’s my take on it.

Normalise It: 

Experiencing imposter syndrome as a biz owner is as likely as having it rain during a British summertime picnic – it’s practically guaranteed! Even the most seasoned entrepreneurs and celeb icons have felt it. Knowing you're not alone is half the battle won.


Talk About It: 

Don't simmer in silence. Open up to trusted confidants or fellow business owners who get it. You'd be surprised how much relief sharing can bring and how much inspiration you’ll find just from having the conversation.

Challenge Your Inner Critic: 

When the gremlin pipes up, hit it with a reality check. Remind yourself of your accomplishments, skills, and the mountains you've already climbed. Keep a ‘proud moments' album in your phone for those days when self-doubt clouds your vision.

Set Realistic Goals: 

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is your empire. Break your goals into bite-sized chunks and savour each milestone along the way. Progress is progress and no matter how small you perceive it to be, it’s worth celebrating!

Seek Support: 

Surround yourself with cheerleaders who lift you higher. Whether it's a supportive community or a trusted business coach/mentor, having a safety net can make all the difference.


Be Kind To Yourself:

Treat yourself like you would a friend in need. Embrace the imperfections, celebrate the wins, and know that you're doing the best you can with what you've got.

Remember, there is no such thing as stagnant growth. As long as you keep reading, learning, sharing, listening and don’t give up. You’re growing 

Sophie x

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