For today, I want to talk to you about imposter syndrome because this seems like a huge huge problem for a lot of people who want to build their online businesses, who want to create courses, share content online, and so on.
First of all, let me just say this before we move anywhere, the term imposter syndrome is not very accurate because it makes it sound almost like a mental illness when in reality, most of us experience it from time to time. Some people let themselves be more absorbed by imposter experience, others developed ways to overcome this feeling of being like a fake.
I was not surprised when I found that it was a struggle for most of my clients who went through my Stress-Free Courses Accelerator program. So for a lot of my clients, self-doubt and imposter syndrome are the main factors that slow them down in creating their own online courses and building a thriving online biz.
I also have some people close to me who often self-doubt way too much and I am usually the one cheering them up along the way. I am writing this post for them as much as for all of you reading it and I hope it will help you see yourself in a different light.
If you feel like it’s your story too, definitely read until the end of this blog post because I’ll give you a printable file that will help you document things that you need to overcome the imposter syndrome!
The interesting part about imposter syndrome is that it can manifest itself in many different ways. You might be struggling with one or a few of them.
Does any of this sound familiar? You often find yourself:
- Not able to realistically assess your competence and skills
- You frequently say things like “oh I was just lucky”, so you feel like your success was all due to external factors.
- Or maybe you are constantly overachieving or setting very challenging goals and feeling disappointed when you fall short. Actually, this last one sounds a lot like me.
All in all, what you are doing basically is sabotaging your own success. And we are on a mission today to bring this to an end! Since we are mainly talking about building an online business, all the tips of overcoming imposter syndrome will be tailored towards helping you with your business goals.
1. Focus on Them Instead of Focusing on Yourself
And the first tip is to Focus on how you will help other people instead of focusing on yourself. When you do it, you will shift the focus from your own internal feeling of being a fraud.
When you shift the focus, that feeling technically disappears. Imagine you are in the middle of a group call or a live webinar and this tricky feeling of being a fraud starts really bothering you. What you need to remind yourself that very moment is that you are on that call or webinar to help your audience or clients. This little trick always helps me when I start feeling something like this in the middle of a client call or a business meeting.
2. Start a Journaling your wins and mistakes
You see, as imposter syndrome has the ability to internalize your accomplishments, you might be at any level of success compared to many other people but you will keep feeling like you are a phony.
Now, what can really help you is to start documenting your achievements. Write down everything you’ve learned, what is your skill set, what you are really good at.
But don’t stop there. Now the second part of the task is to write down right next to the first list, the areas on which you might need to improve or write down what were your past mistakes. Look at them and answer yourself honestly. Does this second list make the list of your accomplishments and successes insignificant?
Did you have those successes or did you not? Of course, you did, you just wrote them down, they are all facts of your life story. And you need to learn how to acknowledge them alongside all the things you want to improve in yourself!
3. Be open and talk about what you feel
Do you think, I don’t experience imposter syndrome? Oh my Gosh, if you just have seen me on one of the calls we recorded for a partnership video… you can go watch that on my Youtube channel.
I was so overwhelmed thinking that the other person who was on the call with me was a genius at public speaking, and I felt I was not an expert. It was so bad that I couldn’t even complete some sentences and words that I started.
Luckily it was just a recording and we could cut off all the awkwardness but I can tell you that I absolutely hate live video because I get anxious sometimes to the level when I simply can not speak, the words are just not coming out of my mouth and the only thing I can think of is oh my God why did I agree for this live video… I wish I could just run away and turn off the camera right now.
What can you do about it when this is happening?
I can tell you what I do… I start talking about what is going. I am very open about it and I often even start joking about my anxiety and inability to speak. You know a little bit of humor helps release the pressure in awkward situations. But if instead, you try to keep your fears and imposter experience as your little secret, it will let them grow bigger inside you and make things worse.
4. One Small Step at a Time
Another strategy that always works like magic for people who face imposter syndrome in the form of perfectionism, is making smaller steps instead of trying to figure it out all at once and then get started.
This one is a biggie in the business world. So many people are delaying and delaying the day when their online business will get started because they want to make sure they know it all in advance. But believe me, every successful entrepreneur you admire had very humble beginnings which you probably haven’t seen because nobody knew about them back then.
If we talk about big projects like creating an online course, if you’ve been delaying this forever because you want everything to be perfect on the paper or in your mind at least, what I teach in my Stress-Free Courses program is doing a pre-sell and letting your first clients see your work-in-progress when it’s not finished yet.
For perfectionists who struggle with starting any project, the best way to overcome it is just to do a pre-sell and give yourself a limited amount of time to complete the tasks.
When you force yourself to release your course on a schedule and people already paid you for it, your internal perfectionist just doesn’t stand a chance to survive in your busy schedule. You’ll have to deliver the course and that’s it.
It’s a great strategy and I find that it works for me and my students also because, with a pre-sell of your course, you basically get paid to create it, so you don’t feel like you are doing a huge amount of work upfront without knowing if you’ll ever get rewarded for it.
5. Don’t Try to Be the Ultimate Expert
Another face of the imposter syndrome is trying to be the best expert in your field and always feeling like your expertise is not enough.
Are you constantly searching for pieces of training or certifications because you think you need to improve your skills in order to succeed? Even though you are highly skilled, you underrate your own expertise.
This is again is one of the very common issues that my students are experiencing and what stops them from creating their online course.
What I can tell you for sure is that you don’t need to be the best expert in the topic to create an online course. Even if you know other experts who know more than you, so what?
There are still so-so many people who are behind you in this area of knowledge and who could benefit from you sharing what you know with them. Think about the people who you will serve with your program and don’t compare yourself with other experts.
And focus on measuring your own achievements instead of comparing them to the success of the others.
We all have very different starting points in life and I am not going to compete with Einstein. Obviously, he was a gazillion times smarter than I am but does it mean I should just give up on myself and say well if I’ll never be a genius like him then why even trying to learn something new?
No, we all should be on a mission of becoming a better version of ourselves instead of trying to be better than others.
So as I promised, you can now download a free printable checklist that will help you go through all these little tasks that I talked about today, especially the one where you need to start journaling your wins and mistakes or areas you need to improve.
If you adopt these strategies and start using them in your life today, I’m sure you will see yourself moving so much faster towards your dreams and goals.
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