Imposter Syndrome: How can you overcome it?

Recently, we wrote about comparison within business and how to avoid it, but there’s another sneaky friend of comparison that often gets in the way within business, and that’s imposter syndrome.

Like comparison, imposter syndrome often steals the confidence we have within our own work, which is why it’s good to notice when it shows up so you can deal with it effectively before it starts to linger too long.


What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is when feelings of inadequacy arise, despite being outwardly successful.  Someone with imposter syndrome will experience levels of self-doubt within their work and accomplishments, fearing that they are an ‘imposter’.  It can be quite a common thing to feel, especially with business owners.

Over time, if imposter syndrome isn’t dealt with, it can lead to chronic burnout due to the perfectionist nature of constantly feeling like you have to prove yourself and your worth.  With it being a form of self-doubt, it can be caused by comparison, unrealistic expectations, negativity, and pressure from outside sources.

It was found that 82% of people experience imposter syndrome at some point in their lives, so you’re definitely not alone if you feel this way too.


How to Spot the Signs

Some of the main signs of imposter syndrome include:

  • Self-doubt: Constantly doubtful of your work and not feeling like it is good enough.
  • Unrealistic goals: Setting goals that are unrealistic and too difficult to achieve will often lead to feeling like a failure when they aren’t met.
  • Downplaying expertise: Downplaying expertise, rather than having confidence in their knowledge and skills.
  • Perfectionism: Holding unattainable standards and spending too long on tasks.


How to Overcome It

Challenging imposter syndrome can be a difficult thing to overcome, however there are some simple steps that can be implemented to help.

  • Changing thought patterns: Reframe negative, doubtful thoughts and try to focus on your achievements. Being kind to yourself and acknowledging everything you have achieved is the first step.
  • Trust: Trusting those that support you and believe them when they give praise, try not to focus on the negative thoughts.
  • Seek Support: Whilst imposter syndrome isn’t a mental health condition, it can lead someone to experience low mood and low self-confidence. If it is something that is affecting your mental health and business as a result, it could be worth seeking extra support through a therapy or a mental health professional.
  • Stop Comparing: As mentioned, imposter syndrome and comparison are closely linked, so a way to help ease imposter syndrome can be by avoiding comparison. Try not to overly compare yourself and your business to that of your competitors.


Final Thoughts

Whilst it’s normal to experience imposter syndrome from time to time, it is important to recognise if it is impacting your wellbeing in a negative way.  Being aware of how it can show up and some of the tips to overcome it can help.

Not only can imposter syndrome show up throughout your business, particularly in challenging situations or comparing too often to competitors, but it can also show up on your awards journey.  That’s why it’s so important when entering business awards to give yourself plenty of time to go through your entry.  Awards are actually an amazing way to stop imposter syndrome in it’s tracks because the process of going through your achievements can put them into perspective and remind you of how far you’ve come.

We are here to help highlight your achievements within business and demonstrate just how great the work you do is.  If you’d like to start your awards journey, contact us today!

Pure Awards is an expert business award writing, grant writing and content creation agency with over 10 years’ experience.  For more details about our services and who we are, visit our website.