If your friends and family had to describe you in one word, what would it be?
For me, it’s determined.
I’ve always been described as determined – even as a young child (which at times people categorized as “stubborn,” but I’ll address that another day). I’ve always been motivated. If I wanted something, I worked hard to get it. Luckily, those characteristics stayed with me into my adult life.
I am ALWAYS working toward the next thing, needing something to look forward to. So, when I found myself in the working world, those traits naturally had me envisioning a growth path at the marketing agency I was working for. What position could I work toward? What are my next steps? How can I prove myself?
And, 3 years and one promotion later, I was offered a Director-level position. This was the best-case scenario for me – a young, independent woman working her way up and achieving her goals.
But, I turned the offer down.
Thinking back on it now, it doesn’t make sense. And, to my boss and colleagues at the time, it didn’t make sense to them either. I was the perfect fit for the role.
So, why did I turn down the position everyone else would have jumped at?
Here’s what went through my head:
- I’m only 25 – no one will respect someone in their mid-20s in that role.
- I don’t have enough experience compared to my colleagues.
- I’m a young woman working with clients in a male-dominated sector. How am I supposed to prove myself as a subject matter expert?
The imposter syndrome was real. If you’re unfamiliar, imposter syndrome affects “high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success.” (American Psychological Association) Imposter syndrome makes you feel like a fraud when in reality, you’ve worked your butt off to achieve success. So why don’t people just push past that unacceptance and move forward with their successes?
Unfortunately, imposter syndrome has more than one negative impact. It also overcomes some with a fear that at some point they will fail, and others will unmask them as a fraud. Imposter syndrome is common in our world today, whether you’re climbing the corporate ladder or betting on yourself as an entrepreneur. It has its ways of creeping in.
So – how do we kick imposter syndrome to the curb? I want to share 3 tips with you.
1. Recognize your expertise
Chances are, if you’ve been given a promotion or feel inspired to set out on a new career path, there’s a reason for it! Take a step back and allow yourself to list out all your accomplishments, as uncomfortable or difficult as it may be. How have you made an impact? What are you good at? What compliments have you received? Recognize your expertise – it will go a long way.
2. Surround yourself with a supportive community
In my situation, I turned to my mentor and trusted colleagues for feedback. What did I discover? That when a community of individuals has your back, you can do anything. They give you the hard truths and encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone. A supportive community doesn’t have to be a mentor or co-workers, it could be a Facebook Group for those with a goal similar to yours or a larger-scale professional organization.
3. Change your thinking
Rather than dwelling on whatever failure you’re fearing, adjust your mindset to look forward to the inevitable positives that you will encounter. This can be learning new skills, managing a team, meeting new people you can look up to, and making an impact on those around you. You are bound to have many more successes than failures. Keep in mind that failures are NOT the end of the world. They are a tool for learning and improving.
To close out my story with one of those happy endings we all love to hear, I overcame imposter syndrome. Through mentorship, optimistic thinking, and a professional development plan I titled “Overcoming Imposter Syndrome” (determined is one of my strongest personality traits, remember?) I was able to say goodbye to imposter syndrome. The best part? Three months later, I started my Director-level role. And I absolutely killed it. 👊
If you’re a direct seller or entrepreneur that feels stuck or like you don’t have what it takes to succeed, we encourage you to join the Ship.com Facebook Group filled with motivated individuals just like yourself. Surrounding yourself with a supportive community is a huge step in overcoming imposter syndrome, and in this group, you’ll connect with our Customer Success team and other entrepreneurs taking on the live selling world.
Remember, your purpose in life is not to fear failure. It’s to thrive.