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Do you feel like you’re not good enough to achieve success in your home business? Do you worry that everyone will figure out that you’re not “the real deal?” Unfortunately, these beliefs and fears can hold you back. The good news? Many people are struggling with the same thing, and there is hope. Keep reading to learn what is imposter syndrome and how to overcome it.
For most of my life, I didn’t think I was a good writer. In my teens and 20s, if I had to list my top ten skills and abilities, adding writing never even crossed my mind.
You see, my mom is a talented writer. She wrote for magazines and had a column in our local newspaper for many years. She can knock out a feature story like nobody’s business. And she has a way with words that creates imagery so flawlessly.
Then there’s my older sister. She can create worlds and characters that people actually enjoy reading about. She knows how to string together plot elements and write a story.
With strong women writers around me, I knew what good writing was. And in my mind, my writing didn’t measure up.
I never got the hang of pulling out the exciting threads to create a feature story. And my fiction leaves much to be desired. My words don’t work well, and my plot jumbles around in my mind until I don’t even remember what each character is supposed to be doing during each chapter of the book…
This constant comparison of my writing to others made me believe that my writing was terrible. Thus, it wasn’t something I had ever envisioned myself doing professionally.
But then, life happened. And money got tight. We were broke, so I started looking for ways to make money online. I stumbled across freelance writing. And it looked like something I could do. Except for one thing…
In my mind, I wasn’t a good writer.
This limiting belief held me back for a long time. I genuinely believed that clients wouldn’t like my work and they’d wish they’d hired a real writer instead.
Because to me, I definitely wasn’t a real writer.
But, I needed a way to make money from home so I didn’t have to give up homeschooling and go back to teaching. I kept returning to freelance writing and then talking myself out of it.
When I finally got brave enough to send my first pitch, I decided I wouldn’t charge much money since I wasn’t a good writer. That way, the client wouldn’t be out much if they didn’t like it.
So I quoted $20 to write a 1,500-word post.
And you know what? The client didn’t hate it. In fact, they asked me to write more.
The more I wrote, the easier it became. And, the more I enjoyed it.
Pretty soon, I started looking for more clients and asking for more money.
I’m so happy to call myself a writer. I certainly don’t write fiction stories. And I don’t create beautiful pictures with my words.
But I know how to break down complex topics into bite-sized chunks and help people learn new things. I found a way to combine my passion for teaching with writing, and it’s something I can do well!
I’ve come a long way and overcome many limiting beliefs over the years. And, though imposter syndrome still occasionally pops up, I’ve learned to overcome it.
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is the belief that you’re not good enough or qualified to do something, despite evidence to the contrary. It’s feeling like a fraud and being afraid that you’ll be exposed as one.
This can happen in any area of life, but it’s prevalent in women and high-achievers. And it’s definitely something I’ve struggled with as a freelance writer.
There are a lot of articles out there about imposter syndrome and how to deal with it. But most of them focus on things like changing your mindset or building up your confidence. And while those things are essential, they don’t always work for me when I’m in a self-doubt spiral.
Instead, I’ve found that the best way to deal with imposter syndrome is to have a plan for when it strikes. That way, you can take action and get out of your own head.
When these feelings strike, I don’t have to stop and think. I can look at my action plan and do the next thing.
To help you overcome imposter syndrome, here is my five-step plan for when it hits.
5 Simple Steps to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
The next time you feel like you’re not good enough, try walking through each of these steps. They’ve helped me!
1. Acknowledge the Imposter Syndrome
The first step is to acknowledge that you’re feeling like a fraud. It’s vital to be honest with yourself and admit that you’re struggling. This isn’t a weakness, it just means you’re human.
Go ahead and say aloud, “I feel like an imposter right now.” Getting the thought out of your head and into the open can help give you the strength to combat the words with the truth.
Because, at the end of the day, you aren’t an imposter. You might be new or inexperienced. But you aren’t a fraud!
So acknowledge you’re feeling like one, but don’t stop there.
2. Identify the Root Cause
Once you’ve acknowledged that you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, it’s time to figure out why. What is it about the situation that’s making you feel like you’re not good enough? Is there a particular task that’s stressing you out? Or are you worried about what other people will think?
Why do you think you’re feeling this way? Overcoming imposter syndrome requires some reflection and mindset work. Neither are easy, but both are essential for you to move on.
So think about what is really causing the feelings you’re experiencing. Are you scared of failure? Or of success?
Identifying the root cause can help you to understand your feelings so you can start to address them. It will take time, but as you get used to thinking about these things, it’ll become easier.
3. Make a List of Your Accomplishments
This step is all about reminding yourself of what you’ve already achieved. When you’re feeling like an imposter, it’s easy to forget all of the things you’ve done that prove otherwise.
So, take some time to write down your accomplishments, big and small. This could include getting a promotion at work or completing a complex project. Or, it could be something as simple as learning a new skill or hobby.
Seeing your accomplishments written out can help you see yourself in a more positive light and remind you that you can do great things. Even if they aren’t in the same field you’re exploring now.
Wins begat wins. So focus on the good and remind yourself that you can do this!
4. Find a Role Model
Another helpful step is to find a role model who has achieved what you’re working towards. This could be someone you know personally or someone you admire from afar.
Read their story, and see how they overcame similar challenges to the ones you’re facing. This can help to give you some perspective and show you that it is possible to achieve your goals.
If possible, connect on social media. Take time to tell them how inspiring their story is to you. You never know – they may be struggling to and your words might be just what they need.
But even if you never actually connect, you can use someone else’s success to prove to yourself that it is possible. You can do this!
5. Take Action
Once you’ve gone through the first four steps, it’s time to take action. You’ll never overcome imposter syndrome if you let it stop you from ever doing anything.
So pick a direction and take one baby step forward. It may require you to move through the fear. And that’s okay. When you get to the other side, you’ll be able to look back and realize that it wasn’t that bad.
Often, your worst case scenario never comes about. Instead, you’ll find that things typically go much more smoothly. And that gives you confidence to try again the next time.
Dealing with imposter syndrome can be a challenge, but it’s something that you can overcome. By having a plan for when it strikes, you can take action and get out of your own head. And you’ll be one step closer to achieving your goals.
Need a Coach?
If you’re struggling to overcome imposter syndrome alone, it might be time for an outside perspective. Let Lisa coach you through this and help you get back on the right track to success!
Pin It For Later
Here’s a quick infograph version of the steps to overcome imposter syndrome so you can refer back to it.
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.