Are you succeeding in life yet at times you feel like a fraud? Whether this feeling refers to your professional development or your “at home” performance know that you are not alone, keep reading to learn if you might be suffering from a phenomenon called ‘impostor syndrome”.
Entrepreneurs can be tough on themselves. There is vast empirical evidence that despite consistent external validation, entrepreneurs often lack internal acknowledgment of their own accomplishments.
In this blog, Titan Leader Kata Phipps (BA (Hons), PG Cert, PG Dip (Clin) PG Dip (CY), MSc (Psych), MA (CY)) discusses the reasons that lead us to be the “last to believe” our true worth and how to overcome this false ideology we can have of ourselves.
Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where people feel like they don’t deserve their accomplishments. Internally they feel like a fraud, or they worry that one day someone will find out that they are not good enough.
Most of us have experienced feelings of doubt and unworthiness at some point in our lives. But when your accomplishments are a result of your own knowledge, hard work, and preparation and you still feel inadequate ... you're probably suffering from impostor syndrome.
Studies have found that 70 percent of all people feel like impostors at one time or another. But even though it’s very prevalent, it’s rarely discussed. When we don’t discuss this issue out in the open people feel incredibly alone. Many successful people have come out and admitted to having bouts of impostor syndrome, including Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, and Richard Branson.
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Entrepreneurs are one of the largest groups to wrestle with feelings of worth, achievement, and self-esteem. No matter how successful Amazon entrepreneurs are on the outside or how much external evidence there is of their skills or competence, they often feel as though they don’t fit in with their peers.
Entrepreneurs who struggle with impostor syndrome are convinced that they don’t deserve the success they have achieved. More importantly, when we don’t feel we deserve our success it contributes to greater feelings of depression, inadequacy, difficulty in relationships and low self-esteem.
As Amazon entrepreneurs, we face daily challenges to our self-confidence and they can make it an uphill battle to achievement. So, while climbing to the top, be sure to recognize your value and never lose sight of your inner worth.
Let’s add more hats to the mix, are you a good mother/father, wife/husband/partner, and a decent homemaker?
If your kids are dressed and fed, you have not burnt down your home and you haven’t killed your other half (in your mind, every now and then doesn’t count) then the answer is YES!
For many career-driven people, myself included, while we know that “going to work” can be tough, often find ourselves overwhelmed, and at a crossroads; perhaps even opposite feelings than those we experience in our successful professional lives. This is absolutely normal considering the premium our culture places on perfection at home AND at work, I mean, we run our own businesses, right? Surely, we have it all? Well, not.
Our topic thoughts of juggling it all, being available in the late evenings to catch up on work, on weekends, and what feels like all hours, is simply unrealistic. Add sleep deprivation to the mix and it becomes simply overwhelming.
As a result, any success achieved in business silently tricks our minds into self-sabotage, where we know that achieving success in the working world is likely to mean that we are not “good enough” at home. We believe that one achievement is rooted in neglecting the other one. We don’t embrace triumph nor celebrate ourselves enough, because we feel, deep down, that we are not fully worthy of the achievement, we did have to compromise to get there in the first place, right? Well, WRONG.
So, what do we do?
I am going to teach you now some strategies to spot it, overcome it, and pivot from it.
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Recognizing these signs is the first step toward overcoming them:
Pay attention to your language choices, both when you're talking to other people and when you're talking to yourself - especially when it comes to talking about your accomplishments. If you find your own success or the praise others give you uncomfortable, do some reflective thinking on where those types of thoughts, would you double guess them if they were directed to one of your colleagues?
REMEMBER Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, and Richard Branson?
Well in the words of famous actress Tina Fey herself, “remember that the beauty of the impostor syndrome is that you can vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud!’ So just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud with facts and tangible achievements.”
For this you need to be able to apply step 3:
You can feel worthy without being entitled, to cope with impostor syndrome you have to find a healthy balance between the two.
While striving for perfection is certainly noble, and we are all guilty of that a little, it’s usually not realistic - and often, it's counterproductive because it only makes us feel worse.
Perfectionism only feeds into your impostor syndrome. When you feel like a fraud, it's usually because you're comparing yourself to some “perfect” outcome that's either impossible or unrealistic.
Many people who suffer from impostor syndrome are high achievers; people who set extremely high standards for themselves and are committed to doing their best and being the best, no pressure!
"What steps did I take and what work did I put in to get to this point?"
You can answer this question using affirmations - just short, focused, positive statements about a goal you have. In this case, one might be as simple as, "I worked hard – and I always work hard”. Repeating affirmations like this can improve stress and anxiety levels, perhaps because these positive statements build a bridge into your subconscious mind.
To help show yourself that you're actually doing well, keep track of your wins in a private document, a pick-me-up jar, or something you can access quickly when the thoughts arise.
Give people a chance to prove you wrong. No one should suffer in silence. Sharing your thoughts and experiences with someone else will make you better equipped to deal with your self-sabotaging tactics and your impostor syndrome. Share them with a mentor, a manager, a partner. Sometimes, that little outer feedback is all we need to keep going. There is no shame in needing a bit of recognition.
The best mentors are forthcoming about the struggles they've gone through and the mistakes they've made in their careers, and you may find that they have some helpful stories or advice for how to deal with what you're feeling.
Keep Richard Branson's famous quote in mind: "If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes. Then learn how to do it later."
If you are not sure you can succeed in a role, know that you were asked to do it for a reason! and there's nothing wrong with learning new things and asking questions along the way. In my personal experience as a successful CEO, I tend to hire curiosity and potential, rather than knowledge and comfortable people.
Feelings of failure are hard to get rid of; That's why the best angle from which to tackle your impostor syndrome isn't getting rid of it completely; it's stopping it from hindering your success. Just embrace it and ride the wave…
That’s all great for work but what if these feelings actually attack our “at home” performances?
So, in this blog, we have identified what that little yet annoying self-deprecating feeling is called (self-sabotage)
Invite self-sabotage in and remind yourself what it is, what it means, why it happens, and then overpower that sucker!
Kata Phipps is a Chilean-come-British clinical psychologist who traveled the world accompanying her military husband, until coffee mornings didn’t quite fit the life vision she had in mind. After mastering several fancy letters to follow my name in the academic world she decided to translate those skills into the e-commerce jungle, allowing her to change her life completely in just 10 months. She is now a multi 7 figure seller, multi-brand owner-entrepreneur in the Amazon world, a Titan Network Leader and a mother of two
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