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By the time I was in my early thirties, I had built a profitable business, hired great staff, developed a strong client base and had grown my company into multiple offices across North America. One would think I’d be jumping for joy, or at the very least, patting myself on the back for achieving these goals. The truth is, I was far from it.
Despite my proven success, I still felt like I wasn’t good enough for the job (one that I created, no less). I was constantly afraid people were going to find out that I wasn’t smart enough, savvy enough or experienced enough to be at the head of the table.
Sound familiar? If so, you know how debilitating it can be.
It’s called imposter syndrome, and it’s a very real thing many people deal with throughout their lives and careers. While everyone can experience self-doubt from time to time, I’ve found that women often suffer the most from it. It’s taken years for my confidence and self-esteem to expand in relation to the success of my business. And now that I’m in a much more comfortable place, I look back and realize what a waste of time and energy it was to worry I was going to be “found out” instead of believing I had earned every right to be there.
Here’s a little secret many of us don’t share: Oftentimes, we don’t know what we’re doing.
We all talk a big game, but you never know what’s really going on inside someone’s head. When you’re starting a business from scratch, taking on a new role or trying anything new, there’s no way we can predict the outcome. So we feel like a fraud. We convince ourselves we’re ill-equipped at the role, that someone else can do it better than us.
Before you succumb to imposter syndrome, here are three tips to banish self-doubt and take on what’s ahead with complete confidence.
1. Read your resume.
Life gets so busy that we can often forget all the achievements and experiences we have under our belt. When you’re starting to feel like you’re not good enough for whatever lays ahead, scan over your resume for a quick reminder of the skills, expertise and knowledge you’ve accumulated over the years. Even if it’s not directly related to the role or issue that’s causing your self-doubt, a little refresher on what you’ve overcome may offer the grit you need to forge ahead.
2. When in doubt, plan it out.
I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as being too prepared. Think of every worst-case scenario, and think of three solutions for each potential problem. While I’m not suggesting you agonize over issues that don’t exist, I do recommend writing out a plan in case something goes sideways. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be when the going gets tough.
3. Become a mentor.
You may be thinking, “If I’m feeling insecure, shouldn’t I seek a mentor, rather than be one?”
Hear me out. Sometimes when we rely on other people to boost our self-confidence, we forget to become our own cheerleaders. While I’m a firm believer in mentorship and asking for help, I also believe in paying it forward. Personally, being a mentor helps me just as much as it helps my mentees. That’s because I’m really good at solving other people’s problems and reminding them of how great, smart and creative they are.
So why is it so hard for me to do the same for myself? Mentorship gives you that lens to step back and reassess your own problems like you would anyone else’s.
Imposter syndrome can still rear its ugly head any time I feel out of my element, but now I’m wise enough to recognize that it’s a waste of time and energy to continually question my instincts. So whenever you’re feeling like you’re not good enough, use these three easy tips to remind yourself you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.