How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is one of the most common, limiting behaviors that women entrepreneurs experience.
It’s why we talk ourselves out of getting started, or following through on our dreams—falling victim to procrastination, perfectionism, overwhelm, emotional burnout, people-pleasing, fear of success or failure.
Even if you’re already on a roll, it can compel you to sabotage your own success—despite having external proof that you’re the real deal!
On my journey, I’ve discovered 6 steps to overcome imposter syndrome.
They are: cultivate self-acceptance, visualize your success beforehand, walk your talk, invest in your growth, create an environment that affirms your greatness, and empower your mindset.
I spent so many years…dreaming, planning, learning, preparing for the day I would eventually tell my story, and launch my heart-centered business.
But, as time passed I still didnt feel ready.
I thought that since I didn’t have it all together, reaching out to help others (despite years of wisdom, education, and experience) made me a fraud.
I had so many unconscious fears and false beliefs about my potential, that I’d literally created a lifestyle that allowed NO space for me to just be myself.
So, in December of 2012, I said NO to playing small as I stepped onto that plane with a 1-way ticket to New York City.
Finally, I said YES to me!
Taking a risk—taking inspired action allowed me to see how everything I touch either flourishes or falls away in order to move me further in the direction of my purpose.
I AM NOT an imposter—I AM a fiercely inspired woman with a powerful message!
And that is when the name and mission of my business was revealed to me—Everything She Touches…
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter symdrome is the result of having a limited mindset around the capacity of your potential to make an impact in the world.
When you believe you’re an imposter, there is a natural tendency to resist being further associated with the activity, people or behavior perceived to be the stimulus of this uncomfortable feeling—even if you were on the right track.
You immediately begin to look for external proof that you’re not ready, under qualified, or that you just don’t fit it—remarks or gestures from others, your story, comparison to other people, society’s education standards, etc.
Finding NO external proof that you’re an imposter—you start to look within.
Your mind is always determined to validate your beliefs. This may sound like,
Who am I to speak up about this issue?
Who am I to show the way to others when I’m still learning?
Who am I to teach other people how to improve their lives when mine isn’t perfect?
In this article, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa defines imposter syndrome among highly successful women as,”…the persistent feeling that, despite their well-deserved success and accolades, they are somehow frauds and will soon be exposed.”
But it doesn’t just affect women who’ve already made it–according to society’s stereotypical definition of success.
It also affects women women who’ve awakened to a higher calling to fulfill their life’s purpose in a way that differs from their past experiences.
Women like you and me.
Despite an abundance of natural gifts, talent, knowledge, wisdom, and experience…
Despite an intense desire to make a difference by contributing our stories, ideas, and services as heart-centered leaders…
Most of us carry an unconscious fear of being seen for who we really are—being found out.
And this fear is what drives us to make decisions that are OUT of alignment with our purpose—until we awaken to the truth of who we are, and why we’re here.
How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome in 6 Steps
On my journey, I’ve discovered 6 steps to overcome imposter syndrome. They are: cultivate self-acceptance, visualize your success beforehand, walk your talk, invest in your growth, create an environment that affirms your greatness, and empower your mindset.
Step #1: Cultivate Self-Acceptance
Self-acceptance is the first step to overcome imposter syndrome, and any other false belief system that imposes limits on your capacity for happiness and success.
By choosing to embrace ALL of who your in the present moment—you give yourself freedom to be unapologetically you!
Every time you dim your light, lower your voice, repress your story, and hide your gifts to please others—you reject yourself, and send a false message that you need other people to tell you how and when to show up.
For myself, I’ve discovered that the key to self-acceptance is increasing self-awareness through compassion, gratitude, and meditation.
Compassion seems obvious through interactions with others we care about, but how much compassion do you extend to yourself?
Do you beat yourself up when you fall short of an expectation or make a mistake?
Is your inner dialogue tainted with self-blame, self-denial, or self-criticism?
“The way you do anything is way you do everything.”
—Dominique D. Wilson
Flattery stems from self-rejection, whereas compassion is an extension of self-love.
Be kind to yourself first.
Be patient with yourself—understanding that life is a journey of continuous learning, and mistakes are a vital part of the journey.
Give yourself infinite second chances, and have faith just as you would with a child learning to walk.
Self-acceptance is the natural result of choosing to live in a state of gratitude because it mean that you see the good in all things.
Gratitude means being aware that there is a perfect balance that exists throughout the entire universe, and that nothing is black-and-white.
Nothing is all good or all bad—there are actions and consequences.
“What you focus on grows.”
—Dominique D. Wilson
When you can accept this fundamental truth (nature proves it over and over, just look out your window), you will see the perfection in all life and begin to experience more of what your heart truly desires.
You will see that every challenge you’ve ever faced made you stronger, wiser, more aware, and better equipped with empathy to help someone else in the same boat.
You will see how all of those closed doors and NOs caused you to create your own YES!
You will see how those people who you though hurt you, actually played a role in expanding your awareness of what is possible through the power of Love.
As a daily practice, write down 5-10 things you’re grateful for each morning. This will help you begin each day with a high vibration, and prepare your to practice self-acceptance.
To read more about The Power of Owning Your Story, click here.
Meditation is a very practical way to increase your self-acceptance by training you in the art of detachment through silent observation.
The more you can observe your life experiences without developing an emotional attachment to outcomes—the greater your capacity will be to simply accept what is.
You can start with guided meditation, soft music, or simply sit in silence for 5-10 minutes in the morning (or before bed). Over time, increase the duration of your meditation to 20-30 minutes as you see fit.
Step #2: Visualize Your Success Beforehand
Visualization is an effective technique to align your physical awareness with the power of your intention.
“Begin with the end in mind.”
—Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Many star athletes visualize their plays before games, in which they simple execute the vision.
If you didn’t grow up seeing examples of powerful, successful, and happy women who you felt you could relate to—it won’t feel normal to create this in your own experience.
Imposter syndrome feels like you’re trying to be someone who you’re not—even if you’re being yourself.
Visualizing your success beforehand will help you to ensure that the picture you see in your mind is the same one that you create through your behavior. This will help you feel authentic in the work you’re doing to create the life that you desire.
What do you want to experience in your life? How do you want to feel in your body, relationships, and career?
Take a few moments each day to close your eyes, and simply see your dream life in your mind. Use your imagination to guide your focus toward what is most meaningful and authentic to you.
Over time, success will begin to feel like less of an experience that is outside of you because you will understand that you are creating it from within.
Step #3: Walk Your Talk
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than telling people to do something that you aren’t willing to do first.
To overcome imposter syndrome, you must walk your talk!
If you’re advising others on eating healthy, listening better, managing their money, healing themselves, being a more supportive parent or spouse, exercising, self-responsibility…
You should be modeling that advice in the way you live your life.
With that said,
“Falling off the wagon doesn’t make you an imposter—it meas that you’re human!”
—Dominique D. Wilson
Your personal struggles do not negate your experience and expertise, so don’t beat yourself up for failing to meet some expectation you set up for how your life should be.
One way to handle this is to just be transparent. You don’t have to tell people every detail of your life, but you can share that you’re working to overcome a challenge as well.
This helps your audience (clients, family, friends, colleagues) to feel encouraged and validated in their struggles, and they’ll feel more connected to you.
If you need to temporarily step away from your work (or situation) to re-center, and prioritize self-care—that’s okay too.
Step #4: Invest in Your Growth
One thing that contributes largely to imposter syndrome is a mindset block around money.
If you feel awkward when it comes to sales, or find yourself undercharging for your services—bring your awareness to your own growth.
Do you actively invest in your growth—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? How much?
Do you invest in books, courses, mentoring, coaching, counseling, and learning by immersion to stay current with what you know?
Do you prefer free resources (e-books, downloads, mini-courses, webinars, podcasts, etc.) over paid ones for your education?
When you invest in yourself, you send a message to our subconscious mind that says, “I AM worthy.”
If you have NOT invested your own money into your growth, you will likely feel shame, doubt, or guilt when asking other people to invest in what you offer.
“Sharpen the saw.”
—Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Another contributor to impostor syndrome is a mindset block around authority or expertise in your niche.
If you know that you’re not truly an expert in what you’re selling (ideas, programs, products, services), or if it’s been a while since you practiced or learned anything new in your field—it may be time to take a class, attend a conference, or hire a coach, etc.
YOU are your best investment.
Know your stuff, refresh your skills, update your knowledge base—sharpen the saw.
Step #5: Create an Environment that Affirms Your Greatness
Your environment plays a HUGE role in your ability to overcome imposter syndrome, as well as your capacity for happiness and success. By environment—I mean the people, things, and energy you surround yourself with.
Experts say that you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time around.
So, if you’re ready to shift and elevate to a mindset that says YES to your big vision—then, it’s time to find other people who believe wholeheartedly in your greatness.
They will hold space for you to expand, uplift you in times of self-doubt, and remind you of your potential. They don’t need to be convinced that you’re capable—they already know because it’s their belief about who we are as humans.
You can find these people in mastermind groups, community groups, faith-based organizations, meetups, Facebook groups, and at conferences for starters.
THINGS & ENERGY
Don’t be afraid to declutter your physical space and energy from time to time.
If you have clothing, books, shoes, pictures, and items laying around your home that aren’t in alignment with the woman who you are at present, yo may want to get rid of them.
Also, be mindful of old habits lingering around that take a toll on your energy and lower your vibration—gossip, bad news, violent images and words, people with a toxic/negative mindset, etc.
Read my post, “16 Ways to Declutter Your Energy”
What image do you identify with right now?
What do you want to create space for in your life?
Surround yourself with things that reflect your beauty, power, and freedom—crystals, sacred texts, art, incense, plants, candles, floral bouquets, colors, positive quotes and affirmations, vision boards, tapestries, photos, natural body care and cleaning products, satin sheets, etc.
Holding onto things that no longer reflect who you are leads to stagnation, incongruence, old habits, negative though patterns, and inauthenticity.
Remember, being true to yourself and saying YES to your desires is key to overcoming to imposter syndrome.
Step #6: Empower Your Mindset
Overcoming imposter syndrome requires an empowered mindset, which refers to what you believe about who you are. For me, there are two practices that have been especially helpful in this arena: challenging limiting beliefs, and creating effective affirmations.
CHALLENGE LIMITING BELIEFS
Limiting belief disguise themselves in behaviors, such as: imposter syndrome, shiny object syndrome, procrastination, perfectionism, indecisiveness, impulsivity, and people-pleasing.
It’s important to dissect these behaviors so that you can isolate the underlying limiting belief, challenge it, and then overcome it. You can do so through the daily practice of journaling for self-empowerment.
You can read more about that in my article entitled, “16 Ways to Journal Like a Boss.”
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you have a desire to make Facebook live videos so that you can expand your brand awareness, but every time you’re ready to click that big red “Go Live” button, you forget what you want to say or don’t think it’s good enough.
The behaviors are imposter syndrome and perfectionism. The underlying belief may be, “My message isn’t powerful enough for people to find value in it.”
Now, you can challenge that belief by asking yourself, “Is it true?”
One book that’s helped me tremendously in this process through my journey is called,
CREATE EFFECTIVE AFFIRMATIONS
Effective affirmations are statements of truth that are relevant to you, and your specif challenges.
I recommend following the 3 P’s when writing affirmations. Make them personal, present, and positive.
Personalizing your affirmations means using ‘I’ statements, as well as choosing affirmations that are directly opposed to limiting beliefs that you’re ready to shift out of.
Always write your affirmation in the present tense. Rather than saying “I will…”, say ” I AM…”
Finally, use positive language for your affirmations by avoiding words such as: ‘won’t, don’t, can’t, no, not, etc.
Here’s an example:
If you’ve isolated a limiting belief, such as the one above: “My message isn’t powerful enough for people to find value in it.”
You can reframe it into a powerful counteracting affirmation, “I AM a powerful agent of transformation, and my message is valuable.”
“Affirmation is the act of speaking the breath of life into an intention.”
—Dominique D. Wilson
Don’t just rattle off your affirmations.
Allow yourself to experience them by feeling the emotional impact of your words.
You may need to combine movement with your affirmations to cultivate a tangible feeling as you say them (dancing, jabbing, kicking, hand gestures).
This is how you go from just talking out loud to actually tapping into your creative power to manifest real results.
In Peace & Beauty,
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