You’re a Fraud: 5 Ways to Help Overcome Imposter Syndrome


You’re a Fraud: 5 Ways to Help Overcome Imposter Syndrome

YOU can’t do that!

Nobody is interested in what you have to say.

Competitor ‘x’ has better products than you.

They will find out that you are a fraud.


A few years ago I won a coaching award – I couldn’t believe it!  I don’t mean in the “I’m so excited to have won” couldn’t believe it.  Instead I mean in the “I have conned them into giving it to me” couldn’t believe it.  I convinced myself that I had somehow made these intelligent, articulate, experienced and morally exemplary people give me an award that I didn’t deserve.

This was six years ago and it has taken me this long to shut out that little voice in my head that tells me I’m a fraud.

So many people around the world suffer from imposter syndrome and many of them are highly successful, driven, established and well-known individuals.

Talented star of the Harry Potter movies and UN Ambassador Emma Watson says she often feels like an imposter and Best-Selling business author Seth Godin wrote that after a dozen best sellers he still feels like a fraud all the time.

So how as Small Business owners can we combat that dreaded voice that tells us we are no good?

Here are some tips that might just help:

1. Know that you are only human and so is everyone else.

Often when we are feeling like a fraud it’s because we perceive ourselves as being less than someone else.  We see other people’s actions and successes through false eyes and build them up to be bigger and better than anything we have ever done or ever could do.

On the flip side, we often see our own achievements as being a fluke or luck and downplay the significance of them.  We are all the same – we all have failures, it’s just that it is easier for us to notice the success of others and the failure of ourselves.

2. Make a list of what got you here.

Imagine you were going for the job of your dreams and had to list all of the skills, knowledge and experience that you had in order to get it.  Would you leave off your achievements, skills and accolades on your resume, or would you list everything including your Scout badges?  I’m guessing that you’d list every conceivable achievement that was relevant to the position you were going for.

It’s a good thing to do when we’re wanting to shrug off the things that we have done that make us who we are – we dismiss the work that we have done, the qualifications we have worked so hard for, the awards we have won and the testimonials we have gained.

Related: Imposter Syndrome: Living Like a Goldfish in a Blender

3. Make it about them.

Rather than worrying about what people will think or say, take the focus off yourself and ask yourself how you can be of service to others.  Think about the problems you solve for your ideal client, rather than worrying about having all the answers or performing to an unrealistic level.

Think about the “why” of your business – who do you want to help, what change do you wish to bring about, what is your gift that you are giving to the world?  Remember that you are not trying to impress, you are trying to help.

4. Stop that comparison.

Whilst ever you are looking over the fence at someone else’s flowers, you will not be feeding, watering and nurturing your own garden.  You might have different soil in your garden, different seeds, different ground levels, a slightly different sun angle and no trees to block the wind.  You are comparing your garden to another that is completely different.

Even if you try to grow the same flowers, the outcome could be very different for all of the reasons listed above.

5. Remember that the voice in your head telling you that you’re a fraud is not real – it’s just trying to protect you.

If we look really hard, we can often think of a time when we were growing up that we felt as though we didn’t belong in a certain situation, or we were trying to hide who we really were or what our life was like.  The part of us that’s trying to keep us in our comfort zone always becomes loud and overbearing when we are putting ourselves out there in the realm of change.

The more we dare to push our boundaries, the louder that voice will get until it’s often all we can hear.  This voice is not logical, it comes from our emotional centre, so we cannot reason with it, but we can acknowledge it and put ourselves out there anyway.

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