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imposter syndrome

imposter syndrome

Deep within many business owners and entrepreneurs, there is often an undesirable emotion hiding, waiting to rise to the surface and revoke all of their hard work. It is an unpleasant and unwanted feeling that can impact even the best of us from time to time. If you give the unwanted emotion the power, it can hinder both your mental and emotional strength and ultimately bring your business and brand to a standstill.

This feeling has been coined as Impostor Syndrome.

This term was created in 1978 by clinical psychologists and refers to ‘high achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments as a persistent fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’”.  

In a nutshell, when you encounter imposter syndrome, you essentially worry that others will find out that you have been ‘faking it’ all along. Rather than achieving something and feeling as though you will be praised and deserve affirmation, you feel as though you will be found out.

When this imposter syndrome begins to settle in, you can feel as though you are not good enough or not worthy of success. It is at this point that it can begin to seriously impact your business.

Succumbing to imposter syndrome can begin to lead to extremely negative repercussions such as a decline in motivation and drive. The quality of your work can begin to slip as you are so caught up in your insecurities that it becomes almost impossible to focus on the task at hand and tackle these tasks with a clear head. Worst of all, in an effort to fight these feelings and emotions, in an effort to ‘fake it until you make it’ you can easily begin to start taking on work that is actually beyond your capabilities, which ultimately leads to a greater sense of imposter syndrome.

It is not surprising that this imposter syndrome may particularly affect those that work in creative industries. We live in a world where there is an inescapable myth that there is only a minority of those who are super achievers and are born with this unique aptitude, while others can only hope to get by and be successful with our subpar talents. For creatives, when they experience success, they may begin to worry that this was simply founded on luck, rather than true and honest creative talent.   

Sadly, recent research has found that this imposter syndrome phenomenon can be extremely harmful to careers. Researchers from the University of Salzburg has recently conducted a survey of more than 200 professionals and had found that individuals who experience imposter syndrome can ultimately get paid less, are less likely to win promotions, are typically less satisfied with their work and are overall less committed.

Many entrepreneurs and businesses owners begin to doubt themselves and not because they question their knowledge or the value that they can provide, but rather because they genuinely don’t believe that they deserve the one to do so.

Another way that most people are guilty of imposter syndrome is through social media and their users over confidently showcasing their lives, using social media as a highlight reel of their life, rather than the reality of the good, the bad and the ugly. Every post contains the perfect image, staged events and ‘moments’, carefully thought outfits, clever and well-crafted captions and the constant updates of the success and positivity in each of our lives. The reality of the situation is that running a successful business is not always easy or glamorous, no matter the industry or profession.

However, many businesses fall into the same traps of ‘faking it’ and portraying on social media that they are more successful than they actually are and implying that their experience is more extensive than it is in reality. It is important to note that doing this is not incorrect.

Businesses and entrepreneurs alike, are more affected than most with this yearning to appear perfect and successful. Many of these businesses owners have their entire livelihood riding on the success of their business which is why they try that much harder and look that much better, to ensure anyone who may be looking to find their brand.

Each and every post on social media has been deliberately chosen to include the most aesthetically pleasing photo and contains the best call-to-action which are all working together to serve the ultimate end goal of their marketing strategy. This, however, is something that all brands should be aiming to do, and that is to create the best possible content for your brand.

Still, what if every now and then brands mixed in a little more authenticity to their brand’s social media channels.

We are not suggesting that you flood your social profiles with inferior images and posts that breach your brand’s style, or to post a recorded video that contains terrible audio because as a brand you must have standards in your authenticity, but rather, embrace your flaws and imperfections as a brand.

Share your struggles and fear, express the challenges that you have overcome, stumble over your words or share a cheesy joke, whatever it may be, as long as it is authentic to you and your brand.

When you begin to break down the walls of portraying the perfect image and rather show your audience what you and the brand really are, what is actually on your mind and your individual playful personality, you will find that all of a sudden, people will begin flocking to work with you. And not just any people, but the right kind of people that like the brand who and what they really stand for.

We are all guilty of feeling like we have suffered from imposter syndrome, no matter on how small or large of a scale, but you are not an imposter. As a business owner you have already exhibited how hard you can work, your dedication and as an experienced and skilled business person who people want to hear from and work with you! Embrace that!

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