There’s an ugly rumor floating around in the entrepreneurship blogosphere that, if you buy into, can really damage your chance at success in your business.
And yet I see so many brilliant, ambitious women struggle with it.
This thing hangs like a heavy, dark cloud over everything we business owners are trying to accomplish, and it can destroy us at any moment. And I’m sick of it!
Confronting all this in my own mind has led me to confess something in today’s post that I’ve been keeping inside for a long time, and it turns out I’m relieved to put my truth out there.
It’s time we talk about this issue honestly and openly, so that we can support each other in moving past it. Only then can our businesses and professional selves thrive.
Are you with me?
Self-Shaming, Comparisonitis, and the Curse of the Imposters
A lot of women business owners feel like they don’t fit the ideal entrepreneurial model. If you’ve ever hesitated to introduce yourself to strangers as an entrepreneur, or have ever said “Oh, I’m not really an entrepreneur,” you know exactly what I mean.
They have some set of traits, skills, experience, credentials, or even just a specific personality type in their mind that they think of as entrepreneurial, and they don’t see themselves fitting the bill.
This comes from the tendency of many women to compare themselves to others and be overly self-critical while doing so.
We all know how this goes…
- We set our peers (in this case, other women business owners) on a pedestal and assume everything they do comes naturally or easily to them.
- We compare ourselves to others endlessly and shame ourselves when we don’t measure up. (But then how can we, when we’ve set the bar so high?)
- We remember our failures with perfect clarity and gloss over the times we kicked ass and took names.
- When we do experience success, we downplay it or attribute it to luck or the contributions of others.
It doesn’t help that in this day and age, we’re bombarded by social media showing us 24/7 how amazingly brilliant and creative and unstoppable and successful all the people around us are. (I feel exhausted just typing that sentence!)
It seems the expectations around what we can and should accomplish in our careers and businesses comes as much from outside as within.
All of this pressure and self-shaming can build up until we start to feel like total frauds. Almost every high-achieving woman I can think of has felt this way at some point.
When your self-doubt builds up to the point that you start to feel like a phony, you’re experiencing what’s known as imposter syndrome. This is a very real psychological phenomenon (though not a diagnosis or illness) that especially affects women and minorities, people who take on new challenges, those who differ in some way from their peers, and perfectionists.
Sound like someone you know?Click to TweetBelieving there is some mold of the ideal entrepreneur, and that if you don’t fit that mold you’re somehow doomed to failure, is not a good long-term plan for your business.
Don’t let yourself buy into it!
I Don’t Fit The Entrepreneurial Mold Either (And I’m Okay with That)
You’re not what you consider to be the “model entrepreneur”?
Well, guess what. I’m not either! Far from it, in fact.
I’m incredibly, horrifically slow to make decisions. It took me one and a half years to finally offer Make It Work Online, which is now my most successful program, and two years to put Make $10k out into the world.
It’s even worse in my personal life. It took me two years to buy a car and seven years to commit to remodeling my house (a project which STILL has made very little progress, by the way!).
I’m not especially imaginative, either. I’m most certainly not an idea factory, and I enjoy being an organizer and boss more than focusing on creative stuff.
I’m also not “multi-passionate,” I don’t have the desire or stamina to work endless hours, and I don’t really like all of the day-to-day tasks I have to do to make my business work.
Not exactly the model entrepreneur we constantly hear about online.Click to TweetBut I don’t tell myself that I’m not meant to be an entrepreneur because I don’t possess all of the skills and traits I’m told are required to be one.
Instead, I recognize the skills I do have and leverage them. For the areas where I may not be so strong but have some aptitude, I commit to learning and trying my best.
As my business grows, I’m learning which parts of running it that I don’t really like all that much or would rather not spend time on. In these cases, I hire the best help I can afford.Click to TweetI don’t expect myself to be the “perfect entrepreneur,” and neither should you!
Only You Can Convince Yourself You’re in the Right Place
If you think you might not have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, think again! You may not fit the exact model people like to talk about online, but who cares?
Believe that you have everything that you, your business, and your clients need, and just roll with it. You’ll be surprised by how much power this can have!
Recognize your own skills and achievements. Write them down, paint them on your office walls, or even order yourself a trophy if you’re the competitive type! Can’t think of any? Go check out some of your positive feedback from clients and folks on social media.
What, you don’t keep a positive feedback file? You totally should! Go make one right now. (Seriously, go do it!)
All set? Good. Now make sure to save all of the wonderful things people say about you in there for a rainy day.
Acknowledge that there are some things that just aren’t your bag. The adage is true: Nobody’s perfect. When you come face-to-face with something that you’re not all that great at, all you can do is give it your best shot.
Can you imagine how exhausting it would be to be amazing at everything, anyway? No, thank you!
Accept who you are right now, in this moment. You’ll be different next year, or even a few months from now. We all change and learn and grow as time goes by, so there’s no need to dwell on it.
And there’s absolutely no reason to set the bar so freaking high! I’m not saying to aim for mediocrity, but try not to set yourself up for failure either. Allow yourself time, patience, and grace.
You’re only human, and that’s plenty good enough.
Stop comparing. Seriously. You just have to stop, and that’s all there is to it. I was so much happier when I finally got this!
Remember that mistakes are inevitable, and it doesn’t mean you are a failure. In fact, failing doesn’t even mean you are a failure. It just means you tried something and it didn’t work out. It happens to even the most amazingly successful people.
All the brightest stars have been dimmed by failure at some point.
Celebrate your successes as they happen. Make them a big deal, and congratulate yourself on being the amazing, trailblazing, ass-kicking entrepreneur you are. Then in the darker moments, when you feel like a fraud or that you’re not measuring up in some way, call upon the memory of those successes.
Surround yourself with others who deeply believe in you. There is nothing shameful about asking other knowledgeable people for help or support, and nothing wrong with needing a few cheerleaders from time to time.
The best way to make sure you have access to both when you need them is to immerse yourself in a community of like-minded, kick-ass women who are on the same journey.
(In fact, being part of a group just like this – in addition to coaching with me – is the most powerful part of my Make 10K program!)
I Believe In You! Now It’s Your Turn!
I know you have what it takes to create the business of your dreams, make a great living, and have a beautiful life. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t!
But my belief in you isn’t enough. What matters most is that you believe in you.
Take the gifts you have, the skills you’ve developed, and your vision for the future – all the fabulous things that make you who you are – and build your business around that.
I’m putting this super empowering challenge out there today and I want to see ALL of my readers take it on for themselves. It will be a game changer in so many ways.
What are your greatest innate gifts? How do they play a part in what you do?
What are the skills you’re proudest to have developed?
What is your most recent business success? How did you celebrate it?
How will you strive to overcome self-doubt going forward?
Declare it in the comments below!