One of my LinkedIn sisters asked me what was the biggest challenge to being an entrepreneur. I said, “Me.” Yes, even though I am the Doctor of Disruption and I’m encouraging all of us to tell our stories, I have a shit ton of self-doubt. Questions like, “who the hell do I think I am” and “who cares what I have to say” hound me to paralysis. But then I realize that this is exactly what the status quo wants me/us to believe that we are imposters. That’s a great way to silence us, right?
Imposter syndrome is the insistent incapacity to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved because of one’s own efforts or skills. Sound familiar? Well, it should.
One study found that 75% of women executives experienced imposter syndrome in the workplace. Dr. Z, I’m not an executive; I’m an entrepreneur, university professor, or social worker. Stop, do you work long hours to prove your worthiness? Are you afraid to ask for help or ask questions? Do you feel anxious when you’re tasked with finishing a challenging project? If “yes” to any of these, that’s imposter syndrome.
Here are ways to dismantle imposter syndrome. First, stop with the story you’re telling yourself about what a loser you are. Mitigate the negative self-talk with loving and positive words. Look for the facts not the lies you’re telling yourself.
Second, remind yourself of your personal and professional achievements. Integrate and celebrate them. A win is a win, and it’s ALL you. Third, find a mentor or sponsor in whatever field or area you want to excel in. This is an opportunity for women to come together in community to lift us all up.
Do you see how our culture disconnects ourselves from ourselves and from each other? Together, let’s disrupt the imposter syndrome story that we aren’t good enough and tell the stories about how we are worthy.