Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome Propel Businessworks August 2023

Self-taught and self-studied, addicted, and borderline obsessed, I may not have “formal” marketing education per se, but with over 30 years of observation and learning on my own, you might say experience is my foundation. And many would agree that is more valuable.

But that doesn’t stop the brain from doubting what I know… and that is when a simple knock at the door can allow imposter syndrome to creep in for an unwelcome stay.

To the world I.S. is commonly understood as a false and sometimes crippling belief that one’s successes are the product of luck or fraud rather than skill.

To the one wondering why they think they should be trusted, it can be paralyzing.

How and when it first showed up for me…

In my early Propel days I was idea central. I had so many plans and knew what I needed to do. Lists abounded and one-by-one they were checked off as I launched and grew the Propel name and brand. I was, afterall, a small business developer, an advocate and strategist. Lists and homework assignments were easy.

But when the pedal hit the metal, all the ugly lies reared their nasty heads. The truth of what I knew instinctually and what I had learned became a sticking point for me personally when “professional” after “professional” asked where I had gathered my skills, or where I went to school.

Answering those inquiries I felt like a deer in headlights, but each time I put on my vest of confidence as I explained my love affair with marketing and communications, and how I am a lifelong student of it. Not one person ever questioned me further, but that didn’t stop my mind from reeling.

“Is that enough?”
“Am I enough?”
“Do they trust me?”
“Are they snickering in their heads?”

But the fact of the matter remained. I had built many a website that generated exposure and income for many small businesses. I had consulted on many brands, designed and developed brand language and communication strategies, and I had worked with my parents’ businesses since the age of ten, learning every aspect and how each role worked together to build a well-oiled and cohesive company with a good reputation.

I was no fraud. I wasn’t faking it.

In fact, I had built an arsenal of excellent tools that would pave the way for strong strategy combined with detailed organization and responsibility skills that catapulted precise execution.

I was a professional in my field.

And that was just one string of commentary I held onto.

Here’s how to squash Imposter Syndrome when it comes attacking…

  • Stay current and educated on what’s happening in your industry. Keep a pulse on what’s new and how things are changing.
  • Stand on all your experience. No one can take that from you.
  • Listen to the yay-sayers. The accolades you receive and the encouragers around you don’t lie, so don’t let any negativity take up free rent in your mind.
  • Embrace mistakes as an opportunity to learn and improve. No one is perfect and each opportunity is worth the growing pains you might experience.
  • Take criticism with a grain of salt while also learning what you need to from situations you encounter and work you’ve done.
  • Remember why you are doing what you do. If your why is strong enough, the lies will always die.
  • Keep record of your wins and successes so you have a strong and accurate mirror reflecting your accomplishments back to you.
  • If you’ve found yourself out of practice due to life circumstances and have to re-enter the game, just dust yourself off, grease the wheels and get back into action. It’ll all come back to you, just like riding a bike. (ask me how I know! 😉)
  • Never, ever give in or give up!

Overcoming imposter syndrome isn’t easy, and the army of lies won’t back down – you must PUSH them down. Know who you are! Don’t let anyone or any thought second guess you!

Rise to the call and take back the confidence you have earned in knowing your field inside and out. And remember – a bird never questions who he is, what he can do, or what he knows. He just is – a bird.

You’ve got this, so own it!

Jamie Teasdale

Jamie Teasdale founded Propel Businessworks, a small business development company, in 2009. Since then, she has been lending insight and creativity to businesses all over the U.S., giving them the tools they need to plan, promote, and prosper.

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