Can you relate to this?
I decided I was going to quit my retail job and “be a VA”. I’d done some VA work prior to this decision and thought, easy peasy! I can do this. Then, there I was in the parking lot, about to hand in my notice, and I was having a freakout.
I was sweating and there was panic vibrating through my body. What was I thinking? I was an idiot; I couldn’t do this. There’s no way I could make a living by working virtually, helping other business owners! Who does that?
Fast forward to now.
I’m not only making a living doing work that I love, but I’m also getting paid to do it! That was a serious case of imposter syndrome!
Imposter syndrome is both real and deadly. I still get that nagging feeling at times, but I’ve learned to ignore it, and to fight back with thoughts of, “I’ve been doing it this long, there’s no reason why I can’t continue!”
Whenever we try something new, there is a sense of fear/excitement. It can often be difficult to decipher which one you may feel more of because they feel so similar. Taking that leap is scary, no matter what new thing you’re trying. One of my clients worked in a large, well-known company, and decided one day that they were going to make soaps for a living. And they’re doing exactly that. How awesome is that?
So how can we beat imposter syndrome? How can we avoid feeling like a fraud or a fake? Here are some tips that have helped me, and they may help you:
Realize that everyone feels this at some point
I’m very lucky to have a network of fine VAs in my corner. They gave excellent advice and reminded me that they’ve been in my shoes. It’s important to remember that no one was born knowing how to do everything. There is always a learning curve. Also, there will always be people out there with varying degrees of the expertise you’re after. Some are just starting out, some are about halfway through and others are professionals, rocking this thing!
You don’t know it all?
So, there’s more to learn? I hope so! Michael Scott, author of The Warlock said, “The day we stop learning is the day we die.” You will never know EVERYTHING, and that’s okay. As long as you have the means and resources to find out, you’re golden! Even when you are a pro at this, there’s always going to be more to learn.
Reflect on your success so far
Look at where you were, and then look at where you are. While it’s awesome to be humble, this makes it hard for us to remember our successes and toot our own horns. Sometimes we can’t see our success, and need an outside source to remind us. Make a list of the successes you’ve seen so far, and keep the list visible. Every time there is a new success, add it to your list. Read it often!
Record positive reviews
Similar to the above tip, create a file for collecting all the nice things people have said about you. Add to it whenever someone new says nice things about you. Then, when you are feeling imposter syndrome creeping in again, open that file and review it. This is a sure-fire way to restore your self-confidence!
Don’t play the comparison game
There will always be that person who appears to be rocking it so well that you think to yourself, “Why bother?” This is so wrong because you can’t see all the facets of their life. You can only see all facets in your own life. Beat imposter syndrome by going forth and creating the life you want. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Besides, everyone is pretty much just as lost as you feel… no one has it all figured out.
Face it head on
Whenever those feelings of self-doubt creep in, remind yourself that it’s “Imposter Syndrome”. Sometimes, just saying the words out loud can nip it in the bud.
But I made a big mistake!
What? You’re only human? Mistakes happen to everyone. Even the people you’re comparing yourself to make mistakes. They don’t dwell on it, and neither should you. Making a mistake doesn’t mean you’re a fraud, it simply means you made a mistake. Learn from it, determine how to avoid it in the future, and move on.
What happens if you quit your dream right now?
This is a very important question, isn’t it? If you were to die tomorrow, what would your regrets be? I used to play a game with myself when I was about to try something new and scary. I’d ask myself, “How would I feel if I didn’t do this thing? Would I regret not doing it?” If the answer was yes, I went ahead and did it. I somehow forgot that temporarily in the parking lot, but I’m glad I found my bearings again!
Fake it until you make it
Think about this: if we all waited until we knew everything, nothing would get done, right? Sometimes faking it isn’t a bad thing, because we’re all taught at an early age to “pretend”. Sometimes faking it is the only way to get through imposter syndrome and come out the other side.
We’ve all been there, and it likely won’t be the last time we’ve thought or felt that way about ourselves. But I hope you’ve found these tips helpful!
Comments or questions? Email me here.