There’s no denying it: Imposter Syndrome (also known as Impostor Phenomenon) is rampant in the professional world.
Every single day, successful entrepreneurs achieve things most could never dream of, yet still struggle with feeling like they don’t deserve their hard-earned victories. Some people even go as far as chalking up their success to “a stroke of good luck.”
To get a better idea of how the experience business owners have had with Imposter Syndrome, we surveyed over 150 successful Kajabi users. What did we find? Something pretty shocking:
A staggering 86% of business owners who made between $10k and $1 million on the platform said they’ve dealt with feelings of Imposter Syndrome.
(Hint: but they didn’t let it stop them!).
So, to all the people out there grappling with Imposter Syndrome, we’re here to say that you’re incredibly talented, you’re fully capable, and you’ve earned your accomplishments! It’s time to get out of your own way. Start making space for big dreams and bigger wins so you and your business can thrive well into the future.
Keep reading for important insights into how these Kajabi Heroes learned how to deal with Imposter Syndrome using the tactics outlined below.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Have you ever felt like you don’t deserve the success you’ve achieved in your lifetime? How about feeling like your accomplishments are due being in the right place at the right time? Couple those feelings with a sense that someone will “find you out”, and we’re talking full-on Imposter Syndrome.
So, what is Imposter Syndrome? In short, it is feeling inadequate or like a fraud in your current professional position, despite the fact that you have a proven track record of earned success. There’s a constant fear that you will be found out and a belief that all of your successes are due to luck.
Imposter Syndrome affects some of the most successful people in the world, including business moguls.
In fact, a majority of entrepreneurs and small business owners feel like imposters.
Yes, small business owners and entrepreneurs just like you! And Imposter Syndrome usually strikes when you’re about to start a new venture, receive recognition for your expertise, or reach new levels in your professional journey.
Vocalizing feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, or fraudulence opens up the discussion that we all experience dealing with Imposter Syndrome at some point in our lives. The key is not allowing those feelings to sabotage growth or future opportunities. Instead, recognize the feelings, dispel them, and focus on all the things you’re good at doing. After all, you didn’t make it this far by mistake.
Here are eight strategies you can implement to help overcome Imposter Syndrome.
1. Be honest with yourself and others
If you’re dealing with Imposter Syndrome, be honest with yourself. Do you have a trusted confidant that you can reach out to for some guidance? If so, have them talk you through how they view you as a professional. It’ll likely be much better than you currently perceive things, so try to internalize that conversation.
Go to a friend, family member, colleague, manager—anyone! What’s most important is that you open up the conversation so that you are no longer alone in overcoming Imposter Syndrome.
In our Kajabi user survey, we asked “Who, if anyone, have you talked to about feeling like an imposter?” The results were as follows:
- Family, friend, or significant other: 53%
- Boss or manager: 0%
- Peer or coworker: 28%
- Nobody: 18%
In a follow-up question, we asked, “Did talking to that person help you feel better?” The answers were:
- 84% of those who said Family, friend, or significant other said YES
- 92% of those who said peer or coworker said YES
There’s no doubt that speaking with family, friends, or a significant other can be more comfortable. However, data suggests that talking to a peer or coworker may be a more effective place to start.
But why? Because peers and coworkers have a more intimate view into your professional struggles as either your coworker or a businessperson, themselves. These people may be able to offer more meaningful and empathetic feedback regarding imposterism, especially if they’ve experienced it themselves.
On the flip side, if you see a coworker or peer struggling with Imposter Syndrome, offer a helping hand. Be honest with them and tell them about a time when you experienced a lack of confidence. Share how you overcame Imposter Syndrome to get to where you are today. A quick conversation can make a huge difference.
"Find someone or a group of supportive people that you can run things by that will help you stay the course, walk through fears, and celebrate your wins." --Tracy Williams
2. Give yourself a personal SWOT analysis
Oftentimes, the thoughts that accompany Imposter Syndrome are not based in fact. One way to overcome Imposter Syndrome is to give yourself a reality check by conducting a personal SWOT analysis.
In our Kajabi user survey, we asked successful platform users “What are some strategies you’ve used to overcome Imposter Syndrome?”, 17% of respondents said they’d given themselves a personal SWOT analysis.
This type of analysis examines your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). It can offer a wealth of insight into your present and future capabilities and where you might have room to improve.
To give yourself a personal SWOT analysis:
Start by mapping out your strengths and ask yourself these questions:
- What are my natural talents?
- What do people say about my strengths?
- How do I set myself apart from other professionals? (Think degrees, certifications, professional accolades/Board involvement, etc.)
Next, map out your weaknesses and consider these questions:
- Do I need to kick any negative work habits?
- Do I need to obtain more education, certifications, or build your professional network?
- How do others perceive my weaknesses?
Next, map out your opportunities and think about these questions:
- What’s the economic outlook for my profession?
- How can my professional network influence personal and professional growth?
- What trends do I need to follow to stay relevant?
Finally, map out your threats and evaluate yours with these questions:
- What roadblocks do I face in my profession?
- Who is my biggest competition? (Personally and professionally—both count, and your answers might surprise you!)
- Is technology holding me back from expanding?
Once you’ve conducted your personal SWOT analysis, make sense of the information through one of two methods.
The first method is to match your strengths and opportunities to uncover areas where you can take meaningful action. Then match your weaknesses and threats to find areas you need to improve or maybe avoid altogether.
The second method is by looking at your weaknesses and converting them into strengths, and by examining threats and converting them into opportunities. Essentially, you’ll be turning a negative into a positive. This can be an empowering process and really push you to reach new levels in their personal and professional lives.
"You feel a fraud? Well, first test yourself to verify if that's just a sensation or a reality. If it's a subjective sensation stick to objective data and keep doing what you're doing. If it's a reality then study, train, work, improve until that is no longer the case. There's no such thing as perfection, but excellence is real, and you should aim at it." --Alessandro de Concini
3. Celebrate your successes
Take a look at your track record and see all the ways you’ve been successful in the past. Write a list and post it on your desk, refrigerator, or bathroom mirror. Post it anywhere you know you’ll see it throughout your day.
When we asked our successful Kajabi users what strategies they used to overcome Imposter Syndrome, 46% said they write out their accomplishments.
Sometimes all it takes a little reminder that you are, in fact, as awesome as your accomplishments say you are.
Keep your business successes front and center by regularly celebrating them. When we asked our successful Kajabi users how often they celebrate their business successes, the responses were:
- Often: 50%
- Sometimes: 38%
- Rarely: 9%
- Never: 1%
Half of the successful entrepreneurs celebrate their successes often. Proof that if you celebrate your accomplishments as they happen, it can help you be successful in your future endeavors.
Try tracking your business successes for a few months. Keep a log in a journal or a digital portfolio with all of the milestones you’ve reached and obstacles you’ve overcome.
You can always come back to these accomplishments and celebrate your successes whenever you feel Imposter Syndrome creeping in.
Don’t just keep success to yourself. Tell someone! When we asked successful Kajabi users how often they share their success with others, the responses were:
- Often: 39%
- Sometimes: 47%
- Rarely: 12%
- Never: 0%
None of our successful entrepreneurs keep their accomplishments to themselves. What’s more, 86% share their accomplishments with others at least some of the time.
Sharing your accomplishments with others may also help you overcome imposterism to reach your personal and business goals. Plus, you never know who you’ll be encouraging along the way!
"Celebrate your success! Yes, even the small ones! A cupcake, a latte, a glass of wine... take time to celebrate your progress. We all have big dreams and visions as leaders... celebrate the milestones on the way to the big dream." --Roberto Candelaria
4. Change your narrative
We live in a world of constant comparison. If you’re struggling with feeling like everyone is more successful than you, put that story to rest. Remember, people only highlight the good things happening in their lives. Rarely will you find someone documenting their failures for everyone to see.
The comparison game can lead people down the path of perfectionism. And while it’s okay to be a perfectionist, just make sure it’s balanced with a healthy dose of optimism for the future.
When successful Kajabi users were asked “I consider myself to be a perfectionist”
When those same users were asked “I consider myself to be an optimist”
These stats go to show that perfection isn’t totally necessary for success, but optimism likely is. It’s okay to strive for the best you can be. Just do so with hope for the future.
If you truly want to know how to overcome Imposter Syndrome, it’s by changing that inner negative voice into a positive one. Try to change your narrative to be more optimistic than critical.
If your self-talk could use an optimism overhaul, practice converting some of these common negative thoughts into positive ones:
- I’m not good enough > I can do anything I set my mind to
- I’m not smart enough > I’m learning new things everyday
- Why is this happening to me > Why is this happening for me?
- Things are always hard for me > I’m learning to grow and expand in new ways
- I’m scared I’ll fail > My past shows me that I can succeed
- I can never get it right > Things take me a few tries; I’m doing my best
Shifting how you talk to yourself is key to dealing with Imposter Syndrome. If you can truly believe the positive things about yourself and your future, your whole world will start to change!
"You're not alone and every level of success will bring a new level of growth. Work on knowing you are enough. The inner work IS the work. No strategy or tactic will do more than becoming the person you were put on this earth to be." --Heather Angell
5. Visualize your success
Success can be yours if you want it. In fact, many accomplished entrepreneurs practice techniques and exercises to envision victory. If you’re launching a new Knowledge Commerce product, visualize it reaching the right people and growing your brand exponentially before it even goes live on your website.
Visualizing success is a key characteristic among successful business owners and entrepreneurs. In fact, when asked how often they visualize the success of their business, Kajabi user survey respondents said:
- Often: 81%
- Sometimes: 14%
- Rarely: 3%
- Never: 0%
All of the successful platform users visualize their success at least some of the time. A majority of them do it often. But that’s not to say it wasn’t tough when they first started out on their business journey.
When asked “When I was first starting out, I could easily visualize the future success of my business”
When you take the big leap to launch a business, it takes time, hard work, and faith in yourself. Little by little, you’ll notice the success you visualize can and will become a reality. And what better proof could you have than your business’s success to help you overcome Imposter Syndrome?
By harnessing the power of positive visualization, you can break through any negative thoughts surrounding yourself or your business, so give it a shot.
"Visualize your success and remember that anyone who is successful is no different than you are." --Joy Smith
6. Recognize the signs
If you feel like Imposter Syndrome is sneaking up on you, start training yourself to recognize those feelings and stop them in their tracks. Try using gentle self-talk to work through uncomfortable feelings. Some entrepreneurs even use meditation or mindfulness exercises to refocus on reality when they begin to notice Imposter Syndrome intruding on their thoughts.
Not only does mindfulness help with overall job satisfaction, it can also help prevent work burnout.
When asked “What are some strategies you’ve used to overcome Imposter Syndrome?” 62% of Kajabi user survey respondents said they’d used mindfulness or meditation.
Try implementing small mindfulness techniques into your daily life. Things like thoughtfully observing your surroundings, focused breathing, and being kind to yourself, can help you squash feelings of imposterism.
If you’re at the helm of your company and notice an employee experiencing Imposter Syndrome, encourage them to mindfully identify and let go of those negative feelings. Be sure to remind them that you picked them to be a part of your team because of their amazing talents.
You may even consider making mindfulness and meditation courses a part of your employee offerings. Learning these techniques can set your staff up for long-term success in the workplace and contribute to business growth.
"You must be mindful of what you say to yourself as your brain will believe you, good or bad." --Jody Duron
7. Embrace failure
Failing at something can be scary, but it’s not the end of the world. In reality, failure is a regular and necessary part of growth. Without taking chances, how can you take your business to the next level?
Accepting that failure is bound to happen and not allowing it to dictate your future success is key to growing your business. Taking calculated risks and trying new things is exactly what’ll set you apart from the competition.
We asked our Kajabi Heroes “How often does fear of failure prevent you from trying new things and taking new risks with your business?” The results were as follows:
- Often: 6%
- Sometimes: 30%
- Rarely: 44%
- Never: 18%
The majority of respondents (62%) said fear of failure rarely or never prevents them from trying new things or taking risks with their business.
Bottom line: in order to be successful and overcome Imposter Syndrome, you have to be willing to take risks and embrace failure. Though, we bet that you’ll probably succeed.
And even if you do fail, a little resilience goes a long way in helping you and your business recover from a minor (or major) hiccup. Instead of dwelling in what went wrong, ask yourself what lessons you learned. When you encounter a similar situation down the road you’ll know exactly what to do and ultimately, overcome your fear of failure.
"Every failure is a learning lesson and it helps to hone your unique offer to the world if you are open to listening to the lessons provided." --Suzanne
8. Find your tribe
You are the company you keep, so it’s time to level-up! Surround yourself with like-minded people who are driven by success and want to keep growing. When you interface with people who strive to do great things, it’ll push you to do the same.
When we asked our Kajabi user survey respondents “When it comes to your business, how often do you ask for help?” The results were:
- Often: 43%
- Sometimes: 43%
- Rarely: 12%
- Never: 0%
No successful Kajabi users never ask for help. Moreover, 86% ask for it at least some of the time.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help if you’re experiencing imposterism, especially if it’s hindering your business growth.
You may even consider finding a professional coach or mentor you can look to for support. Of the successful Kajabi users we surveyed, 69% said they had one themselves.
There’s nothing like having a strong and consistent support system, especially when you’re a budding business owner. Start surrounding yourself with people who are on the same path as you – a path to success.
"When imposter syndrome is holding you back, people who could benefit from your help are missing out. Surround yourself with people who believe in the value you have to offer the world even when you can't quite see it yourself." --Zara
Get Out of Your Own Way
We hope you find these eight tips and tricks helpful in learning how to get over Imposter Syndrome. Remember, you are worthy of your success and you worked hard for it, too!
Build up a strong support system and find ways to prove your talent to yourself. Your doubts are your biggest obstacle to success. It’s time to get out of your own way and reach your fullest potential, just like the Kajabi users we surveyed.
Be sure to check out the Kajabi blog for more info on creating and growing your online business.