Overcome imposter syndrome in entrepreneurship
The tapes that play in our mind when we feel out of our depth are familiar:
…I don’t belong here…
…I’ll never figure it out…
…Everyone else has it together…
…I should’ve known better…
These signatures phrases of imposter syndrome feel all-too-familiar, especially for women. Just the act of typing them puts a knot in my gut.
For someone who is part of an established company, there are lots of helpful tips that focus on overcoming imposter syndrome, like tips and coaching to help you prepare for meetings, have tough conversations, and practice courage to use your voice in a crowded field.
For the entrepreneur, though, who is often starting a company solo or with a very small group of co-founders, the situations are different. Imposter syndrome replays all the insecurities you felt when deciding if you should launch your business, reminds you of all the risks you took, and undermines your confidence in seeking financing or new clients.
It also kills your drive to keep creating, experimenting, and connecting.
An invitation to overcome imposter syndrome
Let’s try something here.
To start, take a moment to identify a specific situation where you experience imposter syndrome.
Now, continue thinking about the situation driving your insecurity, but pause to imagine yourself standing in a doorway. A doorway to pivoting your business plan, developing a new product, pursuing a new business partner, launching a marketing campaign, securing funding, or pitching your company for the first time.
You could step into that opportunity by an act of determination. Maybe you feel like you have to force your way in. Perhaps you are worried that nobody will notice you, that you will appear foolish, or that others will question your right to be there.
Stop. Instead of having to walk into that opportunity by your own determination … instead of having to overcome your imposter syndrome by sheer willpower … listen for an invitation.
The invitation into that opportunity might not explicitly be from the other people you work with, but listen to the invitation God might be extending to you in that moment.
Consider these reflection questions (we might even call them prayers) to listen to how God is inviting you into a space where you don’t feel adequate:
- How is God inviting you to walk more closely with him?
- How is God inviting you to reflect his character that is good, creative, and initiative-taking?
- How is God inviting you to trust and follow him?
- How is God inviting you to care for the flourishing of others?
And now, reconsider the situation where you don’t feel like you belong. It might be your first ever pitch event, a networking community, or a new client meeting. It also might be your accounting software, your sketchpad, or your project management tool.
What is different about your sense of belonging, if you are responding to an invitation from God?
When the tapes start to play in your mind, pause to remember that in each step of your entrepreneurship journey, there is an invitation from God who made you, knows you, and cares for you.
And then take a step in response to the invitation
If listening for an invitation from God to help you overcome imposter syndrome is a meaningful practice, I’d love to hear from you. Or, if you’re looking for a community to encourage you, find me in OCEAN’s Mighty Network community!