Fear and lack of confidence are things that stop so many talented entrepreneurs and particularly expats from succeeding in business. However, after years of working with my clients, I have realized that you can’t get rid of those feelings, but you can work with them! There are tools and strategies to deal with the imposter syndrome and build confidence to succeed in business.
What is imposter syndrome?
You’ve probably felt it before. It’s that sinking feeling that you are going to be found out for being a fraud. This feeling can persist even though the reality is quite contrary – you are actually doing a great job! Often, even very successful people suffer from imposter syndrome.
You’re probably experiencing imposter syndrome if you having these kinds of repetitive thoughts: “I am not capable of starting an online business” or “I am going to eventually be found out that I am actually not an entrepreneur”. The interesting thing is that when your business starts to grow, the imposter syndrome can take new forms. It can express itself as a constant comparison to other, perhaps more successful people. It also often comes hand in hand with perfectionism and procrastination. In reality, imposter syndrome is just another form of fear. You can be afraid of failure but you can also fear success!
Imposter syndrome and eXPAT Entrepreneurs
If you’ve experienced imposter syndrome yourself, you’re in good company—70% of us will experience it at some point in our lives and women, minorities, and yes, even entrepreneurs seem to be MORE AT RISK for suffering.
An article from The New York Times titled, “Dealing with Imposter Syndrome When You’re Treated Like an Imposter” explains it in this way, “a lack of representation can make minorities feel like outsiders, and discrimination creates even more stress and anxiety when coupled with impostorism.”
Expats, immigrants, and migrants may all feel like an “outsider” at some point while living outside of their home country. It can be incredibly normal for these thoughts of feeling like a fraud to pop up more frequently.
If you’re both a global nomad AND an entrepreneur then you may experience even more imposter syndrome. Entrepreneurship is bound to be an emotional rollercoaster. Entrepreneurs often feel much more pressure from society to be really successful and perform their best, and this is coupled with work that involves risk and a great deal of uncertainty. There’s no recipe to follow with how to be a successful entrepreneur.
How to deal with imposter syndrome?
When we notice imposter syndrome coming up, along with the fear and lack of confidence that comes with it, we usually tend to want to get rid of them. We want to feel fully confident all the time! Unfortunately, I often have break the bad news to my clients – that just isn’t possible.
We can’t completely eliminate imposter syndrome, but we can learn ways to make sure it doesn’t hold us back from doing what needs to be done to be successful. We can also learn to quiet it down so it’s not so loud. Acknowledging and accepting that you are experiencing it right now removes a lot of its negative powers. Naming it and saying out loud to yourself what you are experiencing at the moment, will be a good first step in dealing with imposter syndrome. Perhaps you would even like to have a conversation with it? Ask what it is trying to tell you? Because usually, those feelings are trying to protect us from perceived danger, such as judgments or negative feedback.
Would you like to know more about how to effectively deal with imposter syndrome as an expat entrepreneur? Listen to a podcast episode of Tandem Nomads I was a guest on and dive deeper into understanding imposter syndrome. Please leave a comment or simply send me an email if you have any questions. I am always happy to help!