*By Natja Böttcher*
One of the challenges that many entrepreneurs face is impostor syndrome, a feeling of self-doubt and fear of being exposed as a fraud. Studies have shown that as many as 84% of entrepreneurs experience this phenomenon, with leaders being particularly affected. In this beginner’s guide, we will explore the causes of impostor syndrome and provide strategies for overcoming it.
## Causes of Impostor Syndrome
Impostor syndrome, originally identified in 1978 by psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes, is often rooted in childhood experiences. Children who were not instilled with a sense of self-worth may grow up believing that their value is based solely on performance. This pressure and fear of failure can lead to self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy.
Individuals who experience impostor syndrome often employ different coping mechanisms. Some lean towards perfectionism, obsessing over every detail and setting excessively high self-imposed standards. Others resort to procrastination, constantly belittling themselves and envisioning failure. Regardless of the coping mechanism, the end result is the same: a persistent feeling of being an impostor.
## Overcoming Impostor Syndrome
To overcome impostor syndrome, follow these steps:
### Step 1: Recognize Negative Behaviors
The first step towards improvement is recognizing the negative behaviors associated with impostor syndrome. Be aware of moments when you doubt your accomplishments and question why it is difficult for you to acknowledge your own achievements. By recognizing these doubts and fears, you can begin to address them.
### Step 2: Separate Feelings from Facts
Remember that your thoughts and feelings do not define your competence or worth. Instead of fixating on perceived deficiencies, focus on your abilities and the reality of your accomplishments. Challenge the negative thoughts and remind yourself of your achievements.
### Step 3: Appreciate Small Successes
Your worth is not solely determined by major accomplishments. Take the time to acknowledge and appreciate the small successes that are often overlooked. Celebrate each milestone, no matter how small, and recognize the progress you have made.
### Step 4: Embrace Failures as Opportunities
Failure does not define your worth or competence. Instead of hiding failures and feeling like an impostor, view them as opportunities for growth. Learn from these experiences and use them as stepping stones towards future success. Embrace failure as a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey.
### Step 5: Accept Compliments
Many individuals with impostor syndrome struggle to accept compliments and downplay their achievements. However, appreciating your own accomplishments becomes even more challenging when you cannot accept appreciation from others. Learn to accept compliments gracefully and recognize that they contribute to building your self-worth.
### Step 6: Seek Support
Self-doubt is a universal experience, and overcoming impostor syndrome may require outside support. Consider seeking coaching or mentoring to help change your behavior and strengthen your self-esteem. Connect with other entrepreneurs to share experiences and remind yourself that you are not alone. Surround yourself with a supportive network that can provide guidance and encouragement.
### Step 7: Understand that Success is Attainable
It is important to remember that success in business is not reserved for a select few individuals with extraordinary abilities. Business owners are ordinary individuals who can learn and develop the skills required for success. Recognize that you have what it takes to overcome impostor syndrome and achieve your goals.
## Impostor Syndrome FAQs
**How do people with impostor syndrome think?**
People with impostor syndrome often feel that despite their accomplishments and abilities, they are not truly competent. They attribute their achievements to luck or external factors. As a result, they downplay their successes and live in fear of being exposed as frauds.
**Do entrepreneurs have impostor syndrome?**
Yes, impostor syndrome can affect entrepreneurs too. The risks, responsibilities, and challenging environments that entrepreneurs face make them particularly susceptible to impostor syndrome. Many successful entrepreneurs struggle with self-doubt and fear of inadequate abilities.
**How do entrepreneurs overcome impostor syndrome?**
Entrepreneurs can overcome impostor syndrome by acknowledging their own successes and developing a deep awareness of their strengths and abilities. Building a supportive network of fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, or coaches can provide opportunities for exchanging experiences and gaining support.
About the Author:
Natja Böttcher is a certified coach and writer from Germany. She specializes in helping ambitious job seekers find clarity in their career paths and land their dream jobs. You can learn more about her coaching services on her website [www.natja-boettcher.com](https://natja-boettcher.com/) and connect with her on [LinkedIn](https://www.linkedin.com/in/natja-b%C3%B6ttcher).
Implementing these steps can help you overcome impostor syndrome and build confidence in your abilities as an entrepreneur. Remember, you have what it takes to succeed.