I started my first business at 9. The daisy café. A delightful little establishment set up in my sister’s bedroom serving food I made my parents’ kitchen. It never occurred to me that I should have to pay for the food I used. I had no concept of the cost of goods.
Fast forward to when I was 18 and I started a wedding floral design business. My customers loved my designs and my profit margins were fantastic! Probably because I was delivering my corsages in ziploc bags. It didn’t occur to me till later that I should be buying the nice but expensive display boxes to deliver my items in. I had no concept on the value of presentation.
Fast forward again to when I was 22 and my husband had a nice camera I thought I could probably wrangle pretty well. I called myself a professional videographer and started booking gigs. It wasn’t till years later that I even realized there were associations, trainings and even certifications possible in my industry. I had no concept that people derived their value from outside trainings and certifications.
In my mid 30’s, things started to crumble a bit. I was balancing kids that just kept being born and businesses that needed more of my time and attention. I felt like a joke and a failure. I remember one time my husband went out of town on a trip and left me with the kids and I had this panicked thought- what if they find out I’m here alone with minors. Who the heck is “they” anyway? It really is easy to over think things and slip into judging yourself for what you should know or where you should be.
Welcome to Imposter Syndrome. It’s a learned behavior and we’re gonna talk about healing from it.
When we’re young, we thought we could do anything. Compare my teenagers’ confidence in their own street smarts compared to me. Uh no, kiddo, but think what you want. Now compare the teenager to my extremely intelligent, skilled, and talented grandpa. He used to spend hours in his shop solving a building problem only to wonder if he did it the best way.
Sometimes more we know about something the less confident we actually feel about our knowledge. This is entirely normal. It becomes a problem when we let this turn into a syndrome and let it hurt our progress.
Ok so as a business owner, how do we deal with the nagging thoughts in our heads that we’re not enough and someone’s gonna find us out.
You DO Have valuable experience. And because of that knowledge and experience, you DO know what could go wrong and you have had years of comparing your success to others. Let’s go back to basics and work on dissolving your imposter syndrome.
I want to give you 3 real solid tools you can make your own and apply immediately into the conversations in your head.
One more thing before we get started- Imposter Syndrome does NOT make sense logically.
How could Einstein have said to a friend “The exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.”
So we’re not going to use logic to try to heal from it. We’ll go to our heart.
Get clear on your personal purpose. This actually may be a process that takes some time, but today I want you to tell yourself this:
“I know that I have a purpose and a story that drives me and I will be patient with myself but vigilantly pursue figuring it out.”
If you’re here listening to me, you’re on the right track! You’re showing up to figure this out and you are unwavering in your quest. I promise you- you will get to that clarity.
I love this quote from Marrianne Willimanson.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am Ito be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
You are a passionate entrepreneur but passion without purpose has no direction.
As you create the clarity of your personal passion, you will use it as a type of test to decide if the directions you’re headed are on the right track.
Get clear on who you serve.
Recently I was working with an adult who had a cut on their finger. It was obviously infected but they were ignoring it. It kept bothering them until my assistant offered a band aid. It was then that the person sheepishly admitted that they didn’t know how to use a band aid. We were blown away. My assistant was 100% confident AND enthusiastic in helping this person learn how to use an antibiotic and band aid. She didn’t for once think “am I the right person to do this or should I have sent them to a specialist?” She saw this person’s pain and immediately knew she could help.
The point is, when you know who you serve and their pain is as obvious to you as we noticed in this person, it’s easier to feel confident that you can help them.
You still may not know if your products or services are perfect, but Your clarity in personal purpose plus understanding your ideal customer’s pain will create answers. Your devotion to understanding your customers pains will guide you to the right business actions.
Practice Belief. Don’t OWN the imposter syndrome
Belief is everything because if you don’t believe you can access those answers, you are never going to get rid of those feelings.
Watch for validations- even if they are just personal to you- You don’t need a fantastic google review to validate that what you’re doing is right.
You’ll feel your belief grow as you win things like —a better closing ratio or a more efficient email routine or more people staying after your class to chat and connect with each other or attracting the attention of an influencer who would like to collaborate. Those can all be private wins that feed your belief.
If you believe you can do something, then you will make different choices. You’ll try new things and you won’t beat yourself up if you fail. You’ll try gain.
If you’re living in imposter syndrome, you won’t take risks. You won’t grow. You’ll shrivel.
Remember how I naively and confidently built my businesses in my younger years? I didn’t have all the answers but I also didn’t know that I had to have the answers. I believed I could and I did. Set the past failures and trauma aside. Lean into the belief that your personal purpose and passion are powerful and the people you serve want what you can offer.
I have a coaching client who has been through 6 or 7 pivots in her business strategy in the last year. She doesn’t know how to market perfectly to her ideal customer or how she’ll monetize long term. She doesn’t even have a website, but she is relentless in working to figure it all out. She’s gaining traction and it’s exciting. She actually just met AND closed a cold contact today.
She told me matter of factly “It’s about deciding. Is what you want really what you want? And if so, don’t let anything stop you.”
I do want to take a moment to address something I hear often in our academy program. Passionate entrepreneurs often want to feel and do big things but want to seen as humble and quite frankly “perfect” in the eyes of their customers and peers. This is not honest. They aren’t being honest with themselves or those around them. They are more worried about what people think than they are about using their unique skills and gifts to solve the pain of their customers. They’re also spreading the lie that it’s possible to be perfect. And that keeps hurting people.
Focus on staying true to the belief you have that what you have to offer really can change the world— the worlds of the clients and customers you serve.
Like Einstein you may never feel like you are totally up to snuff as to where you should be. And that’s OK. Right now, you have a drive to do better, be better and to love bigger.
At Soul Seed Academy, we work with courageous and passionate women to confidently build a balanced, profitable and meaningful business. Notice how I didn’t say we work with those who know their stuff and just need a better website. We help them take their courage and passion and direct it to gaining momentum and accomplishment in their business.
It’s absolutely NOT about building a facade of a perfect life or a perfect business. That’s not sustainable nor is it satisfying for anyone.
We focus on helping them overcome limiting beliefs and be confident in the steps they are taking to build and grow their business. You can do this too. Narrow down your purpose. Become obsessed with figuring out how your customer feels pain, and work on building the belief that what you have to offer is worthwhile and important.
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