Overcoming Imposter Syndrome with Integrity: A Guide for Purpose-Driven Female EntrepreneursDec 17, 2021
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of, or even experienced "imposter syndrome." How I define it (in simple terms) is, knowing you're on the path to becoming the business owner you want to be, but not being there quite yet so you feel like a fraud. And as a heart-led, purpose-driven entrepreneur who values showing up in integrity, being a fraud or an imposter is the LAST thing you want to be, right?!
Before diving too deep into overcoming imposter syndrome so that we can become the business owner we want to be, while staying in integrity, I believe it’s critical that we address the larger cultural context within which it exists.
How Entrepreneur Culture Perpetuates Women Experiencing Imposter Syndrome
No matter where you look, women of every age, race, background, and status have said they’ve experienced imposter syndrome at some time or another. However, we need to address the larger entrepreneurship culture at play in order to truly understand why and how women continue to experience this feeling.
Imposter syndrome is essentially a lack of confidence in our current position. However, we know that confidence is not equal to competence. So, why does such lack of confidence make us believe that we are incompetent? Without a doubt, women have a harder time finding role models who are like them, earning the trust of colleagues and peers, and truly experiencing real confidence as an entrepreneur – exactly the opposite of what white male entrepreneurs experience. Women of color have it even worse.
Being called an “imposter” is a heavy term – especially when all we’re feeling is unsure or anxious about our current position, which as we know is a natural part of the process of growth. We know that, as women, our feelings and emotions are constantly called into question, and typically labeled as irrational or hysterical – perpetuating the idea of imposter syndrome only adds to that.
While it’s completely natural to experience the feelings of imposter syndrome, the term and concept as a whole don’t fully capture the gender, race, and class dynamics at play within entrepreneurship culture that make it more difficult for women to succeed and feel confident doing it. The issue is not the woman experiencing these feelings – the larger issue is the culture as a whole.
Staying in Integrity While Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
I know that most of us have experienced the feelings of imposter syndrome at some point or another throughout our entrepreneurship journey, and I know how tough it can be to overcome these feelings and get your confidence back so you can become the business owner you truly want to be.
Overcoming these feelings can be a bit tricky. In order to grow into the business owner you want to be, your daily actions and thoughts need to align with who you want to become rather than with old patterns, habits, and beliefs that have previously kept you playing small. However, inflating your achievements and past experiences in order to be perceived as the business owner you want can be misleading to clients who think they’re getting one thing, when in reality they’re getting another.
I see this happen all the time online ... for example, I came across someone's website recently (who I personally know) where they described themselves as a 7-figure coach. This is the same person who I had a conversation with a few days prior about how they had to file for bankruptcy. So sure, they want to be a 7-figure coach and are working towards reaching that goal, but claiming to be that right now is not the way to bust through imposter syndrome with integrity.
The good news is I've found 5 things you can do to overcome feeling like an imposter, while staying in integrity, so you can soar toward that big vision you hold for yourself faster.
5 Ways to Stop Feeling Like an Imposter in Your Business
SHOW UP IN ACTION
Whether you decide to get up an hour earlier, go for a walk instead of watching TV, or book that call you've been putting off, decide how you'll show up as the business owner you want to become, and then start taking action NOW. Like I said above, it’s important to start living life as the person you want to become in order to truly grow, rather than staying stuck in old patterns and expecting things to change.
SHOW UP MENTALLY
Showing up for yourself mentally is essential for growth. Thoughts form actions, and actions shape what happens in our lives. I always recommend practicing meditation to help you gain perspective and feel more secure in who you are today, so you can grow into who you're becoming from a strong foundation.
SHOW UP PHYSICALLY
Check that your environment and wardrobe reflect the business owner you want to become. Spaces and things hold energy, so make sure the energy you're surrounded by pulls you forward instead of holding you back.
SHOW UP VULNERABLY
When it comes to your clients, you don't have to be the "expert" you think you have to be for them to respect you and want to work with you, you just have to be a few steps ahead of where they are now, while showing up vulnerably to create connection and trust. I don't know about you, but I respect and trust people MORE who come from a place of always learning, rather than claiming to be the end-all-be-all authority on a topic.
TAKE IT DAY BY DAY
It can be overwhelming to look at everything you have to do to grow into the biz owner you want to become. But when I think about it as bite size actions, like in every moment I simply have to make one choice that moves me toward my goal, it feels more manageable.
After over a decade in business, one of the biggest things I've learned about my relationship to imposter syndrome, is that I'll ALWAYS want to be further along than where I am now.
Sure, I love my business and the life I'm creating, and practice being grateful and content with where I am now. But at the same time, I don't think I'll ever stop yearning for more ... because I love to learn new things and work toward new goals.
In fact, I don't believe I'll ever be "there" (wherever "there" is) because there's no final destination in business when, one day, everything is perfect, there's only evolution along the journey.
If you’ve been struggling with imposter syndrome too, I invite you to join us in the Impact Tribe – you’ll find a community full of female entrepreneurs just like you, on a similar path, who are there to support you every step of the way. Learn more and join us today at the link below!