6 Ways to Combat Imposter Syndrome

imposter syndrome
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You have big, beautiful, game-changing ideas: but it can be hard to feel brave. Imposter syndrome is a term more people in business arenas are discussing. Essentially, imposter syndrome is defined as self-doubt, or feeling like a fraud. That’s not you, sis, but it can totally feel like it. 

💭It’s the internal script of:

I don’t deserve this

I can’t do this

Or, in a social business context:

I’m not on par with these people

Spoiler alert: you are. 💣

According to a study cited in Forbes, as many as 75% of professional women admit to facing imposter syndrome in their careers. This is sometimes called a power gap, and often leads to self-limiting thinking and behaviors. It makes sense: if you don’t think you can, you probably won’t. It’s not that you legitimately can’t do something, but this feeling that you don’t belong, or you don’t make the cut, stops you before you start.

We are tempted to launch into all of the affirmations in the world right now, because we already know you can do whatever it is you want, and you do deserve it. But these straight-up negations of deeply held internal beliefs are easier said than accepted.

There are plenty of barriers to overcome when you start a business. For all of the successful coaches, course creators and creatives in the world, there are just as many who are too afraid or anxious to start. The world needs what you have. To that end, let the team at The Legal Godfairy take you through these six ways to combat imposter syndrome.

You deserve it all. That’s why we’ve made some of the most complex, foundational documents and systems you need for your business available to you online. Shop our collection of contracts and be sure to follow our blog or reach out if you need a cheerleader, champion or coach: because we already believe in you.

imposter syndrome

1. Acknowledge Your Truth

To start: you better arm up with truths. Negative thoughts will come, but they should be like flies you barely notice and swat away. You may be thinking, “Impossible — these feelings are legit.” And they are real, but they don’t have to shape your reality.

Our girl Gabby Bernstein sums up the feeling this way, “This belief system that we are somehow not worthy or not enough becomes a part of who we think we are. Consumed by self-doubt, we push to show ourselves and the world how great we are, so we aren’t ‘exposed’ as the imposters that we feel like deep down. We overachieve so that no one will ‘catch on.’”

This is important:

Don’t just dismiss or ignore feelings like this, sis. You have to own them, admit them to yourself, then have a counter-narrative at the ready.

We like this point-counterpoint approach to combating imposter syndrome. Here are some examples:

If you hear:

I can’t do this.🤦‍♀️

You say:

I can do this.🙋‍♀️

Then, be ready to tell yourself why:

I can create this course because I am very experienced, I have great and unique ideas, and I know how to do it. I can do this and succeed doing it.

Depending on your personality, it is helpful to tap into both your thoughts and feelings, like this:

I think I could fail at this, and that makes me feel anxious. However, I know who I am and what I am capable of, so I am unlikely to fail. Even if I do fail, I have worth and value apart from this type of achievement.

The goal is not to fake it ‘til you make it, it’s to reframe how you see yourself, how you see the world, and speak truth to your inner being.

2. Identify Your Triggers

As you launch a new endeavor, or continue to scale a business, there will be endless chances for imposter syndrome to creep back in. Like eating or exercise or spending, or any other life habit, you must know your triggers:

  • Who do you see online that makes you feel low or deflated?
  • What messages negatively impact your mindset or self-esteem?
  • When do you feel threatened?
  • When do you feel tempted to quit, lie, or escape?

There are some very simple ways to tune into this, and the first is physical. Do you notice when a certain someone or something comes across your social media feed, that you have a physically anxious response? Pay attention to your heart rate and then to thought patterns that launch in response to being exposed to something.

Whether you have just made your first hire or have a large team, there may be an opportunity here to start outsourcing things that trigger you. Don’t underestimate the power of simply removing triggering clients, colleagues, or situations from your direct view. Sometimes, this is a powerful form of self-care that alleviates anxiety.

3. Rescript Your Inner Monologue

Acknowledging your truth as a countermeasure against feelings of fraud is a good step, but you may need to go further. Now’s the time to introduce those positive affirmations and thoughts we talked about earlier. Through mantras, which are simply repeated phrases, you can rescript your inner monologue. This can interrupt imposter syndrome and literally retrain your thought patterns to run in a more life-giving way.

One of our favorite leaders in this space is Rha Goddess, who talks about practicing a sacred pause. Until your inner monologue is full of goodness, you need to practice a pause in which you revisit your calling: Why are you doing this? What are you truly capable of? What are your dreams? What do you deserve? Speak life over yourself, or as Rha puts it, “Give voice to the world you want to see and the person you want to be and leave the rest alone.”

4. Focus on the Positive

With every truth, every reframing, and every pause: focus on the positive. Imposter syndrome is self-destructive. The best offensive strategy is self-love. There are a few ways to exercise self-love, and they aren’t about bubble baths or hammocks, although we aren’t knocking chill time — by all means, treat yourself, but try these first:

Emphasize your best traits — We probably don’t have to explain that you won’t be the only one who struggles with self-doubt, and you won’t be the only one to call out the negative within yourself. While there is plenty of love in the world, there are also plenty of naysayers. You are your own best advocate, but do you even know what you’re best at? Take some time to really consider what you love and like about yourself. Often, these strengths are the reason you are pursuing a certain field or goal. Don’t underestimate yourself.

Let other people praise you — Why not with the #humblebrag? You are good at a lot of things. You have advanced skills, and frankly, are hella awesome. Lean into that. Let others see it. And when they call it out in you: own that praise, sis. This isn’t the time to step back. Accept the good others want to send your way.

When in doubt, Brené Brown always has a quote to inspire self-love and self-acceptance. We love this one: 

“Worthy now. 

Not if. 

Not when. 

We are worthy of love and belonging right now. 

This minute. 

As is.”

You are worthy now. Believe it.

5. Visualize Success

Imposter syndrome is full of self-defeating messages about what you can’t do and what you don’t deserve. To resist that spiral, visualize success.

What would it look like/feel like if you got everything you wanted?

As you build a business, it’s easy to get consumed by all of the many tasks. If you are an entrepreneur, you may have a high risk tolerance, but that doesn’t mean the risk isn’t present, or truly felt. It’s essential to rise above the struggle or the hustle and get your head in the clouds a little bit.

Lyn Christian, founder of Soul Salt and renowned life coach, teaches strategies for becoming your authentic self. These are intimately connected to visualizing success. She recommends these exercises:

  1. Take personal inventory of who you are, what you feel, and who you want to be
  2. Be present in the moment, calling attention to the now
  3. Assertively speak your truth
  4. Take daily action toward authenticity
  5. Gain (and regain) perspective
  6. Recognize your internal and external influences
  7. Build a system of social support

Let’s turn to that last one to wrap up.

6. Surround Yourself With People You Trust

No woman is an island.

Imposter syndrome can lead to feelings and behaviors that isolate you, and the outcome of that is not good. Not everyone in your business life, or even family life, is going to be a helpful voice in your battle against feelings of self-doubt or fraud. We aren’t offering up any advice on how to solve for every relational challenge in your life, but we do know this:

Not every relationship is healthy.

You can’t trust everyone.

But you can trust yourself.

Your instincts are good. Do the people in your immediate circle build you up or drag you down? It’s important to honor yourself enough to set boundaries. Learn to recognize things like gaslighting or subtle digs. Don’t stand for sarcasm that makes your heart race or your cheeks flush. Take a stand. Be strong.

If you’re going to do all of the work of retraining your internal monologue, you can’t have the messages other people send your way negate that work. Find and invest in relationships that build you up.

You are worth this work, and it is work worth doing.

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Work With Us

Here at The Legal Godfairy, we’re more than just a resource for reliable legal materials. We’re also about stepping into power and freedom while working from a place of rest, flow and ease.

As you build your business, we firmly believe that our shared humanity means we’re all in this together. Our work is built on impact and alignment and activated for the success of the movers, shakers, and overcomers who are moving toward the best kind of good for themselves and for the world around them.

It is with all of the confidence in the world that we say to you: you’re good at this. And we can’t wait to see how high you fly.

Contact us to learn more about working with us directly.

*Disclaimer: This blog post has been prepared solely for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to provide, nor should it be relied on for, legal advice. Should you require advice regarding a specific matter, appropriate legal or other professional advice should be obtained.

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