Updated: Feb 24
I sat down at my desk intending to do my first Instagram live, but told myself I couldn’t. Why? I was wearing an Oodie, hair in a mum-bun, and no makeup. Plus, I had client work to do.
I was making excuses.
I was nervous to do a live video.
Imposter Syndrome! That little voice inside my brain trying to protect me from this new thing I was trying. Making excuses for me. Giving me reasons not to do it.
I did it anyway! In the Oodie, barefaced (admittedly with a good filter!), and with scruffy hair - because that’s who I am, and authenticity is really important to me.
That was two years ago, and since then, I’ve worked hard on silencing that niggling little voice. It still comes back whenever I’m doing something new or higher level, but I’m better able to recognise and banish it now.
Imposter Syndrome is real and if we are not careful, can dominate how we talk and feel about ourselves and our businesses. It can stop us from celebrating our successes, encourage us to focus only on our challenges, and cause us to negatively compare ourselves to others.
You might be feeling bad about yourself because you aren’t fully booked, but Jane is constantly on Instagram sharing that she is at capacity. But what does that mean? 5 hours? Or 35 hours? Individual circumstances make a big difference. What’s important in their business isn’t necessarily what’s important in yours.
A client came to me recently in some shock. She had put together a pitch for OBM work (her first OBM role), and before sending it to the client, showed it to her partner. Who was astounded by everything she was capable of doing and the results she had achieved for others. Had my client acknowledged that to herself at any point? No.
It is easy to forget or underestimate how much we know and the skills and experiences we have built up over the years, but these are vital in order for us to promote our business effectively.
And we can’t rely on others to point out how bloody amazing we are, we HAVE to do it ourselves.
Imposter Syndrome makes you feel like you are faking your abilities, regardless of the success you have experienced.
So, how can you combat feelings of self doubt or imposter syndrome? You may find it helpful to:
Talk to others about how you are feeling. You may be amazed to discover that others feel the same as you!
Stop comparing yourself to others. That fully booked VA mentioned above? Ignore her! You know that comparing yourself to others in this way is not going to be of any benefit in the long run.
Pay attention to the language you use about yourself. If you keep telling yourself that you can’t do something, or that you’ll fail if you try, you will start to believe it. Instead, try to turn it on its head by reminding yourself how far you have come and that, yes, you do deserve this client.
Review your skills and abilities. If you are really struggling with feelings of self doubt you might find it beneficial to do a full review of your skills. Write down all the systems you can use, explore what you have done in previous roles as a self-employed VA, or as an employee of a business. Remind yourself of this list (and update it) when you are struggling.
Don’t let it hold you back. Regardless of how you are feeling, don’t let feelings of imposter syndrome hold you back from pursuing your business dreams. You can do this!
If any of this resonates with you and you want some support to overcome your own imposter syndrome, then please reach out - you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org - I’d love to help x