Imposter syndrome is a universal experience many women face in both personal and professional settings.
Consider a talented and driven female entrepreneur who founded a technology startup. She had a strong educational background in computer science and had worked for several years in the tech industry before deciding to launch her own company. She had a brilliant idea for a new software application that she believed could disrupt the market.
As she began building her startup, she noticed that she often felt like an imposter in the tech world. She was the only woman in most of the meetings and conferences she attended. She started doubting whether she truly belonged in the tech industry and if her innovative idea was as valuable as she initially thought. This is imposter syndrome and if we allow it, Imposter Syndrome can manifest itself in multiple ways:
She constantly questioned her own expertise and felt that her male peers were more qualified and knowledgeable.
Despite her startup’s initial success, this founder attributed it to luck or external factors rather than acknowledging her skills and hard work.
Setting Modest Goals:
She hesitated to set ambitious goals for her company, fearing that she might fail to meet them. She never allowed herself to dream big.
As a result, this founder may have missed out on opportunities to secure additional funding for her startup and to establish partnerships that could have accelerated its growth. Her fear of failure and self-doubt could have held her back from taking the necessary risks and pursuing the ambitious goals that she was fully capable of achieving.
So how do we reject these feelings of self doubt that can oftentimes consume us? How do we avoid becoming this story?
Steps we can take to help rework our mind:
- Recognize and Acknowledge Imposter Syndrome: The first step is to identify and admit that Imposter Syndrome is at play. Understand that it’s a common phenomenon and doesn’t reflect your true capabilities.
- Challenge Negative Self-Talk: Replace self-doubt and negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Remind yourself of your accomplishments, skills, and the value you bring to your business.
- Seek Support and Mentorship: Surround yourself with a support network of mentors, advisors, and peers who can provide guidance, feedback, and encouragement. They can help you see your potential and hold you accountable for your goals.
- Visualize Success: Use visualization techniques to imagine yourself achieving your big goals. This can help build confidence and reinforce your belief in your abilities.
- Set Realistic Expectations: It is perfectly okay not to succeed at every opportunity you may pursue. We are not going to be the best at everything we do especially if you are entering a space you have never been in before. What matters is that you are seizing opportunities that allow you to learn and grow.
- Celebrate your wins: If it’s large or small, celebrate your wins. Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations is a part of the process of growing into a great entrepreneur!
Remember that it’s normal to have doubts and fears, especially when pursuing big dreams. However, by addressing Imposter Syndrome and using these strategies, female entrepreneurs can regain their confidence and dream BIG – making big change happen throughout the world.
If you haven’t already listened, I highly recommend watching this episode of my interview series, Venture Forward, where I had a great discussion with Nikki Barua. She shares direct insights for overcoming this alongside her personal journey.