Running a business by yourself is hard.
You can’t just be amazing at what you do. You’ve also got to go out and talk to people, calculate your tax return, secure new work, send out invoices, then come up with a shiny new marketing plan…
…whilst maintaining the slick, professional image of someone who knows exactly what they’re doing.
But if you’re secretly waiting for someone to tap you on the shoulder and expose you as a complete and utter fraud, rest assured: you aren’t alone.
‘Impostor syndrome’ is that persistent, stomach-churning fear of being found out. It’s a fear that affects more of us than you might think, including people who have achieved truly great things.
People like the Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet, who once said: “Sometimes I wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and I think ‘I can’t do this. I’m a fraud.’”
A recent survey by the healthcare company AXA PPP also concluded that “one in five SME owners suffer from impostor syndrome”, with almost half of them convinced that someone else could do a better job of running their business.
So, what can we do about this cruel affliction?
You might be surprised at how effective openly acknowledging these fraudulent feelings can be.
(For example, doesn’t it make you feel slightly better that a) there’s an actual term for feeling this inadequate, and b) you’re not alone in feeling that way?)
Try surrounding yourself with a trusted support network, and make sure you sound off to them every once in a while. Give them a chance to reassure you, and you them.
No one person can get absolutely everything right. Including you.
On some days, it’ll feel like you’ve got all the answers. On others, it’ll feel like you know absolutely nothing at all.
The great thing is, that’s all part of being human. It means you’ve got just as much right as anyone else to have an ‘off’ day, or to get something wrong.
So, when that happens – as it inevitably will, simply dust yourself off and move on to the next task.
Celebrate your success
It’s easy to let success slip by, or simply pass it all off as a fluke, as you worry over what could go wrong in the future instead!
But hard work and success should always be celebrated. When something goes right, learn how to acknowledge it, then reward yourself with a well-deserved pat on the back.
You could start simply, by recording your successes into a dedicated journal, which also works well as a ‘pick me up’ read (along with a welcome cuppa!) when a bad day strikes later on.
The business world can be terrifying, sometimes. But you know what? We’re all in it together. Even the greatest businesspeople get it wrong every once in a while, they just know it’s your attitude that counts.
So, go forth and vanquish that dreaded impostor syndrome, once and for all!
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