When reflecting on my journey as a small business owner, there are a few things that I didn't anticipate starting a business would look like. I didn't realise it would be so do-able, so enjoyable, nor so all consuming. One of the biggest surprises though, was how much mindset and personal growth I would experience through the process.
Once you start putting yourself out there, especially onto public social media, you come across fears that you never realised were holding you back. You also are likely to meet with times of intense self-doubt.
Can I really do this?
Who am I to ask for money for this?
Why would someone choose me?
Am I good enough?
Will everyone think I'm an imposter in this space?
I don't think I'd even heard of Imposter Syndrome before I started my business, but I know it now. And I also hear it every day from new and seasoned business owners.
Imposter syndrome is the thinking that you are an imposter in the space you're operating in. It strikes when we first start out in business and we are mingling with others who've been running businesses for a while. We think, "what am I doing here? or "I don't deserve to be here."
It also happens any time we are looking to take our business to the next level.
It's pretty pesky like that.
Having a curious, logical mind, I decided to investigate what I could do with these feelings of self-doubt. Are they a signalling a legit issue, or are they just being a pain? How do I tell?
A reflective journey
So, here are my 5 steps to dealing with self-doubt, aka imposter syndrome, in business:
Write down all your doubts (am I good enough? Do I have enough training? Etc). Write down everything that comes to your mind. Use a separate line for each of them as we'll do some review in a minute.
You may also like to categorise them together (e.g. everything to do with training/education, personality, experience etc.)
For every point you have listed. Think about: is it true?
This is the time to be honest with yourself. Is this thing on my list honestly true? You may also like to engage a trusted friend's advice here if you have trouble being objective.
If it's not true, let it go!
If it is true, go to the next step.⬇.
Then ask: Is it necessarily a problem?
OK you might be shy, but does that really matter if your dream is running an online business? Try to think objectively here as much as possible. Is it really a problem, or is it just a barrier you've invented. Try to articulate as best you can what the actual problem is.
If it isn't a problem, then you need to look at embracing that area of uniqueness. Everyone was made with different skills, talents, personalities etc. We aren't meant to be exactly like that other business woman on Facebook, or that perfect Instagram boss lady.
We are simply meant to be the best version of ourself, not someone else's best version.
If it is really a problem, go to the next step ⬇⬇.
Then ask: is it permanent?
Is this something that can't change, or can you take steps to change it?
If it's something you can change, and are able to change, then go and do it.
Maybe you can look into study, or look for a mentor? Maybe it is changeable, but it's not possible right now in the situation you're in (e.g. due to time or family commitments)
If it's something you can't change, or can't change right now, go to next step⬇⬇.
5) Park it.
Park it for a bit. Either try something else for a while or re-evaluate or re-work your answers above. Set a timeframe for when you'll revisit it and put that in your diary.
Clarity or cloudiness?
Sometimes feelings are helpful signals to us in business, and sometimes feelings cause us unnecessary barriers to growth.
You may or may not find this process above helpful, but I do hope that you are able to take some time to reflect on what is causing your imposter syndrome and if there's anything you should be doing about it.
Wishing you a profitable time of reflection and a clarity in moving forward with your business.
As always, if there's anything I can do to support your social media or content marketing while you're taking time to work on bigger things in your business, please let me know.