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  • Writer's pictureKayla Droog Consulting

Ditch imposter syndrome in your business

Even though I have been self-employed for several years now, I still have points where it feels like I don’t have a “real” business or I won’t be truly successful until I get to a specific milestone.

I have so many big goals and ideas about where I would like to get to and what I would like to accomplish in my business, and it feels like I’m just not getting there. Or at least not getting there fast enough. And who am I to have these big dreams anyway? 

I look at what other business owners are doing and everything they have accomplished, and I start to feel like I don’t belong or I’m never going to get there.

But I know this is my brain being hard on me! 

I have seen so many entrepreneurs struggle with imposter syndrome at different times. It is so common! But there are so many things that we can do to bounce back and keep going when we feel like our business isn’t good enough.

Listen to the audio:

A deep dive into imposter syndrome

Today we're going to do a deep dive into managing impostor syndrome as an entrepreneur. I don't know if I know any business owners who have not experienced impostor syndrome at some point. We all go through it and it can really impact your business and your confidence. So today we're going to be discussing some reasons why you might be experiencing it and what to do about it. 

Imposter syndrome really has no bearing on who you actually are, your abilities, or how well your business is doing. It really is just your brain lying to you. 

Let's go through some of the common scenarios that I have seen and what to do. 

Celebrate your wins

One of the things that I commonly come across that can contribute to impostor syndrome is not taking the time to celebrate your wins. I know this is something that we hear a lot. You need to celebrate your wins. You need to acknowledge things that are going well. But it's common for a reason. 

Celebrating your wins is so important, and it’s something that is easy to skip. We want things to go well in our business, obviously, but when something does go well it's so easy to just sigh in relief and move on to the next thing, because there are so many things that are stressful and maybe don't go well. 

It’s so easy to focus on what isn’t going well, because things that did go well are things we no longer have to worry about. But when we take the time to pause and acknowledge those things that we succeeded at, those things that we were great at, then it's going to boost our confidence and help us recognize our progress and feel grateful about where our businesses have gotten to. Whether you are brand new to business or you have been in business for decades, this is something that is important to do regularly. 

One thing to think about when we're thinking about our wins and acknowledging them and celebrating them is to ask yourself if you are internally motivated or externally motivated. Let’s say you sit down and journal about all of your wins this week. Is that enough to feel motivating to you? Is that enough to make you feel good about the progress that you made? 

Or are you the type of person where what really gives you that sense of validation is hearing it from someone else? If that's you, don't feel bad, because I'm often in that situation where it really only feels like a real win if somebody else is celebrating it for me or with me. 

If this is you, there are some different things that you can do. One of the things that I recommend is to find a group, or at least one business owner, that you can talk to about your wins.This could be someone local that you can get together with in person or somebody that you can talk to online or on the phone. It doesn't matter. But just having someone that you can say, "Hey, I did this amazing thing" to who's going to be genuinely excited for you and genuinely supportive of you is so important. 

And it really helps if this person is a business owner, because they get it in a way that our friends and family who are not self-employed are never quite going to get it. I recommend finding that business buddy who is going to pump you up. 

Another thing that I like to do is to keep any communication from my clients where they told me about a win that they had that I helped with or something that I did that was great. Even just a message that says, "You are amazing!" when I send somebody something. I keep all of those and when I need to, I look at them and remember all the great things that I've done and all the great things that have happened. Especially if I'm in a low moment where I'm having impostor syndrome and things are not going the way that I want them to. 

I encourage you to collect these little bits of positive communication and keep those for when you need them as well. And they don't have to be formal testimonials or anything like that. Just any little messages or things from your clients. Or find something else that works for you. This is just what works for me. 

Focus on right now

Another thing that I see that can contribute to imposter syndrome is always being focused on what's next. Whether you are making small strides or big strides in your business, if every time you finish something or reach the next level you only think, "Okay, what's next?" then you are constantly going to feel like you're not there yet. You haven't gotten to the level you want to be at yet. 

We really need to stop and appreciate the level that we are at right now. So, yes, knowing what is next is important, but acknowledging how far we have already come is so important too. Again, whether you are a new or experienced business owner, I guarantee that you have made strides. You have leveled up. Take the time, whether this is daily, weekly, or monthly, to look at the strides and the progress that you have already made. 

Don’t try to skip ahead

This next one is huge and I know a lot of people who are guilty of this. I am guilty of this! It is trying to skip ahead and speed through all the steps so that you can get to where you want to go in your business. But it doesn't work like that. 

You may be at Point A and want to get to Point Z in your business, but you can't just jump there. There are ways to maybe skip steps or get there faster, but you are still going to have to do the work that is in between. There is no miracle or magic that is going to get you from step zero to step 100 overnight. 

What I encourage you to do is slow down and appreciate where you are at right now. You may want to get from step zero to step 100, and you may only be on step five right now, but hey, you are making progress. You are working towards that goal. 

I know that it can be hard to appreciate where we are in the moment when it feels like we're at the bottom of the mountain and we want to get to the top. But every step along the way is important. Every step along the way is an accomplishment. Just because someone else is already at the top of the mountain, it does not negate how far you’ve come. Remember that we are all on our own individual trajectories and our own timing, and stop trying to rush ahead. Appreciate where your business has gotten to. Appreciate where your business is now. 

When I think back over the evolutions my business has gone through, it's amazing - even over the past 3 to 6 months. Change is happening all the time, and it's exciting and I love it. I love that there's never a dull moment and never the same day twice. If I'm not enjoying where my business is at right now, I can change it. 

Yes, there are a thousand ideas in my mind at all times and I have big things that I want to do and get to. Do I want to get there faster? Of course I do! But I am really focusing on enjoying where I'm at right now and what I am privileged to get to do right now. 

Level up in order

The next thing I see that can contribute to imposter syndrome is not leveling up in order. What I mean by this is trying to skip steps or trying to do things before you are ready to do them. There's two things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to leveling up your business. 

The first one is: don't try try to do too many things at once. I see this so often and it's one of the things that can make us feel like a failure in our business. And it's not our fault. We just got shiny object syndrome and we're trying to do too many things and we need to simplify. 

When you try to level up several aspects of your business at the same time, it is going to be overwhelming. You are probably not going to be able to do any of them well, because you are not able to give any of them the individual attention that they need and deserve. It will probably take longer than it needs to and you may even have to go back and redo some of those things, because they are not at the level that you need them to be when you were so distracted doing them the first time. 

I encourage you to level up one, maybe two things at a time. Really give them your focus and your attention so that you can do them right the first time.

The other thing that you need to keep in mind when you're leveling up your business is do the steps in order. This is going to look different for everybody. There is not one right way to grow or build a business. But think about it like this. If there is something that you want to get to, that is not happening in isolation. There are other steps and other factors that contribute to it, and you need to do them in a certain order so that you are able to do that thing. 

For example, let's say that you want to launch an online course or a group program, but you have never done that before. You might have a small audience on social media. Maybe you have a baby email list or no email list at all. Who are you launching to? 

It's not that you can't launch an online course or a group program, but maybe it makes more sense to spend time now on growing your list, growing your social media audience, and making sure that you've got a large group of people that you can launch to before you jump into that launch. You need to do those things in a certain order so that you can get the result that you want. 

Yes, that means it's going to take longer to get there. But when you get there, you're going to do it right and it is going to have a much better result than skipping ahead and jumping in when the other pieces of the puzzle are not ready yet. 

I struggle with this a lot because, as I mentioned, there are big things that I want to do and get to, but I know that I don't have the other pieces together yet. So stay patient. Recognize that every little step is contributing to that thing that you want to get to. 

Trust yourself

The final big piece that I see when it comes to impostor syndrome is business owners not trusting themselves. Not trusting their knowledge, their expertise, their abilities. Not trusting their intuition. And this is a big problem, because when you don't trust yourself and you don't trust your instincts, you may not take the right steps in your business. 

It's going to feel like you have no right to be a business owner and you don’t even have a real business. Again, that is your brain lying to you. 

The first thing that I would like to remind you is that you know more than you think you do. I see business owners who get caught up in taking courses, watching webinars, and trying to build their knowledge, when what they really need to be doing is building their confidence. You already probably know most or all of what you need to know, and you need to lean into that. 

You don't need more knowledge, you need to take more action. When you're worried that you're not doing enough in your business or that your business isn't making enough progress, trust your instincts. They are going to tell you what you need to do next. 

Usually at that point what I see people struggle with is the follow-through. If that's you, find some sort of accountability partner or coach or somebody who is going to help you take that action, and make those things a reality, and take that next step. And the next thing to do is trust the process. Lean into your values. Lean into what makes you you. What makes your business unique. What position you want to take in your niche. There is nobody quite like you. There is nobody doing what you do exactly the way you do it. Lean into that and trust that even if it takes time and effort, you're going to get there. 

When I think back to the early days of my business and the times when I struggled to believe in myself and believe in what I was doing, I offered services I didn't love, because I felt like those were the only things that people were going to pay me for. I said yes to clients and situations that I knew were not the best fit, because I was worried about not having enough income coming in. Now I am privileged to be at the point where I offer the services that I love and I am able to turn away clients that I know aren't a good fit without being worried about paying my bills that month. 

When you really lean in to your instincts and you focus on what you want to be doing and who you want to be doing it with, and you say no to situations that you know aren't right for you, you stop ignoring red flags and doing it just for the money, then you will leave yourself open for more opportunities. There are things that will show up that are nothing like what you expected, but that are going to be amazing and help you along the journey of getting where you want to go. 

When you lean into those good things, it's going to make you feel better about your business and about yourself, and like you are on the right path, doing the right thing, and you can do it. Conversely, when you keep saying yes to these things that you know aren't right, it is just going to feed that impostor syndrome and make you feel worse about your business and what you're doing. 

Avoid social media

My final recommendation - I know this is hard: stop comparing yourself to other businesses on social media. They are showing you a little sliver of their life and their business. Stop comparing it to your entire messy whole. You are not seeing anyone else's whole messy life and behind the scenes, so how can you compare their public facade to your multi-dimensional life? You can't. 

I recommend being really aware of your mood and your mental state when you choose to scroll social media. If I am having a bad day or I'm feeling bad about myself or my business, I do not scroll through my business social media, because it's just going to make me feel bad about where other people are at and making me feel like I have not made enough progress in my business compared to them. If I do need to scroll social media when I'm in that mood, I look at cat videos. 

But when I am looking for inspiration, ideas, or I'm feeling good about where my business is at, I'm okay to scroll social media in that mood, because I am not going to allow myself to absorb that imposter syndrome as much as I would when I'm feeling crappy. I encourage you to do the same thing and not scroll when you're feeling bad about your business. 

I hope that you find these tips useful when you go through those points when you're experiencing impostor syndrome in your business. And don't go through it alone. Make sure that you have people that you can talk to about it in your life. You can always reach out to me. 

Know that everyone goes through it. You're not alone and there's nothing wrong with you. It's completely normal. But it doesn't have to be your reality.  You are capable. You have made progress in your business. Don't let your stupid brain tell you otherwise. 

I hope that you find some tips here that help you at some point. If you have any questions about any of this, let me know down in the comments or feel free to reach out.



Kayla Droog Consulting supports heart-centered small business owners with the back-end systems setup and updates they don't have time to do, so they can focus on serving their clients and growing their businesses!

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