Impostor Syndrome? 6 Tips for Finding the Confidence to Start Your Business
Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough? Maybe you sometimes get the idea that everyone around you knows what they’re doing while you haven’t got a clue. You worry that at any minute the game will be up and you’ll be discovered for the fraud that you are. If this sounds familiar, then it’s possible that you’re experiencing a touch of impostor syndrome.
Impostor syndrome, also known as perceived fraudulence, is a psychological pattern in which an individual consistently doubts their skills and abilities, and believes themselves to be less competent than others perceive them to be. It is a common phenomenon in business, where people in important jobs become concerned that they are not good enough for the role and feel like a phony.
But this feeling is not a reflection on your abilities. It is a form of anxiety characterized by difficulty accurately assessing your talents and attributing your success to luck or other external factors. Simply put, you have no idea how brilliant you really are.
But impostor syndrome can hold people back in many areas of their life. It can manifest itself as anxiety and low self-esteem, making it difficult for you to advance in your career. For example, your doubts may prevent you from applying to a role you are more than capable of doing, or your low confidence may impact your ability to network with important people in your industry. Crucially, it can be an obstacle to following your dreams. If you have long harbored visions of running your own business, your impostor syndrome might stop you from taking the leap and making a go for it on your own.
But life is short, and you shouldn’t let your ill-founded doubts prevent you from chasing your dreams. Your low confidence is a devil on your shoulder that constantly whispers in your ear that you aren’t good enough, but the truth is that anyone can start a business. Perhaps you want to set up an accountancy firm, a retail outlet, an HVAC marketing agency, or a fast food restaurant. Even if you don’t have all the knowledge and you lack experience, these obstacles haven’t stopped other successful entrepreneurs from making their millions.
If you want to start a profitable company, you need to learn to battle your doubts and find the confidence you need. To help you on your business journey, here are some tips for banishing impostor syndrome for good.
Follow the example of others
Everyone starts out somewhere, even the most successful billionaires in the world. If you tend to compare yourself unfavorably with others, it’s worth taking a look at where some of these big names started out.
Take Richard Branson for example. He is one of the richest people in the world, with a multi-billion dollar company to his name. But he started out as a school dropout with dyslexia from a poor family. He started small, with an unsuccessful magazine venture and then a small record store, and his hard work and commitment eventually caused his business to skyrocket. He had no experience when he started out, but he put his back into it and learned the necessary skills along the way. And there’s no reason you can’t do the same. As Branson himself famously said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
Accentuate your positives
If you are in a position to start your own business, you have clearly done something right. You are knowledgeable about your chosen field, and you have some experience to back it up. Rather than focusing on all the reasons that you can’t do something, it is much more helpful to focus on your strengths and positive attributes. Take some time each day to reflect on what you have achieved and the things you have done well. Ask yourselves what characteristics you have that would be useful in starting a business and how you can use these to your advantage.
Work on your weaknesses
There is no such thing as perfection. Every single person, no matter how successful they are, has weaknesses. And one of the positives of your impostor syndrome is that at least you can identify yours. We can only speculate on how differently the 2016 presidential election might have gone if a certain candidate had had a little more self-awareness of their own character. Perhaps you struggle with networking, or you lack certain technical skills that your company will need. Once you know where your deficiencies lie, you can work on self-improvement.
When you struggle with low confidence, there are often certain triggers that cause your feelings of self doubt to intensify. These triggers might be related to certain negative people who make you feel bad about yourself, or they could be a result of social media. Whatever your triggers may be, try to avoid them as best you can. This could mean cutting toxic relationships out of your life, or spending less time comparing yourself to others on social media.
Question your thoughts
If you overheard someone criticizing a person who you respect and admire, you wouldn’t take their remarks at face value. You would question these comments and speak up for the person about whom they are targeted. So why should you accept criticisms about yourself, especially when you are the one voicing them? Next time you hear your inner voice telling you that you;re not good enough or you won’t succeed, don’t just let them wash over you. Fight back against these negative feelings and ask yourself whether they are rational or valid. Doubting your doubts is the first step to achieving self confidence and taking control of your life.
Don’t fear failure
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how we learn about ourselves and grow as humans. Although failure can be hard, it is not the end of the world. It is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Don’t wait for life to pass you by. Fight your fears and start your business. YOu never know, you might just be brilliant at it.
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