Do you suffer from imposter syndrome?

I have a confession to make. I have been a victim of the comparison trap.

Normally I’m a pretty content person and I don’t need a lot to make me happy. I’m blessed with an awesome husband, great kids, a beautiful home, and good health! I don’t worry about having the latest fashion, the newest model of car, or the latest iPhone.

I just don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses, that is, until I started this business.

As soon as I set out to work with my first client that ugly, non-content, comparison monster otherwise known as imposter syndrome showed up on my door and decided to camp out for a season.

What is imposter Syndrome?

According to Wikepedia,

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenonimpostorismfraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.[1] Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success or luck.

What does imposter syndrome look like as an entrepreneur?

Recently a client shared with me a story about how she was having some success signing clients and was feeling really confident about her business until she logged on to Facebook and saw a post from a competitor.

She started to struggle with imposter syndrome and found herself having a very ugly conversation in her mind that went something like this:

“Yay! I just signed another client! If I keep this up I should reach my quarterly goals in no time!

“Why aren’t I getting that many clients? I work my butt off and I’m not seeing that kind of success yet. I’m never going to hit my goals. I suck.”

“Well if I had someone to watch my kids all day, and had a huge team, and a husband who is a photography and tech guru then I could be where she is too. It’s so annoying how everyone has help and I have to work extra hard all the time just to keep up!”

Does this sound familiar? Maybe you have had similar conversations with yourself.

I know I have and while I’m not proud of feeling this way, I also know this is normal and I might argue even healthy to an extent.

Can you relate? You’re feeling pretty good about where you are with your online business and then you log onto social media and suddenly you feel like you are so far behind everyone else.

No matter how hard you try you will never be as good as they are, make as much money, have as many followers, etc. etc.

When I start to compare myself to others it pushes me to work harder, try new things, and come out of my comfort zone. It’s when those feelings set in and paralyze you from moving forward with your goals that it becomes a problem.

How Do You Overcome Imposter Syndrome?

If you ever find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle of comparing your business to others here are a few steps you can take to move past those feelings and get back on track:

1. Have a clear set of goals for your business.

It is easy to get distracted by what everyone else is doing when you don’t have a clearly defined plan. What is right for someone else’s business may not be right for yours! Set long terms goals for your business.

Have a vision for where you want to be in 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years. In addition, set short terms goals that will keep you on track to reach those larger goals. I have a daily goal, weekly goal, and monthly goal. This keeps me focused on what I should be working on and helps me not get so caught up in trying to do ALL THE THINGS at once.

2. Remember your purpose for starting a business

Did you want to quit your full-time job so you could stay home with your children? Did you want to make a little extra money each month to help with household expenses? Maybe you are trying to pay off debt.

It is so easy to forget our “why” when we start trying to keep up with everyone else. I read income reports where mompreneurs are making $100,000 each month and start thinking to myself I need to do that.

But then I have to remind myself that while my business is a priority it’s not my main focus at this time. I want the majority of my time to be focused on my home responsibilities and raising my kids.

That means I do not have the hours to dedicate to my business that would be required to bring in that kind of money. It’s just not my season right now and that is ok. Remembering that helps me to stay on track with MY goals and not get caught up in trying to follow someone else’s business model.

3. Remember everyone’s situation is different.

Maybe you have older children who are all in school and can work 6-8 hours a day on your business. Someone else might have full-time childcare, a housekeeper, and a virtual assistant.

The point is we all have unique circumstances which play a key role in how quickly we can grow our businesses. Focus on what you can do with the time you have. Kids grow up, circumstances change, and maybe you will have more time to dedicate to your business in the future.

4. Keep a “for later” file.

Instead of getting caught up by every shiny new thing you can do for your business keep a file on your computer or a secret board on Pinterest where you can file ideas you want to try later.

For example, have you read a great article by a competitor in your niche about how they are using Youtube to grow their business? Rather than running out and starting a Youtube channel and purchasing a bunch of fancy video equipment file that idea away for later.

Maybe revisit that idea in 6 months or 1 year and see if it fits in with your current business plan. Work on one thing at a time and perfect that one area before you move on to the next. There is this misconception that you have to be everywhere all the time. You don’t. It’s better to be awesome at a few things than just be mediocre at a lot of things.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your business. It takes time, hard work, and dedication. Keep your head down and focus on the goals you have set for yourself. When you get caught in the comparison trap don’t let it get you down. Everyone goes through it, especially when they are first starting out. Just do you and your business will be amazing!