Women Entrepreneurs and the Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome

As a young woman entrepreneur starting out in my first business I was pretty audacious, but before I achieved the success I wanted I had one big obstacle to overcome: the imposter syndrome. Women entrepreneurs may experience the imposter syndrome more than our male counterparts, although some men have talked about experiencing it too.

Also referred to as “imposter phenomenon” and “fraud syndrome,” the imposter syndrome, according to Wikipedia, “is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.” In other words, people with the imposter syndrome can have all the success in the world and still feel like a fraud, or feel like someone is going to figure out that they aren’t really that successful after all.

Even the most successful people in the world go through this, so if it’s something you’re feeling too just know that you’re not alone. Neil Gaiman, author of The Sandman and the hit animated film Coraline, has suffered from the imposter syndrome despite having won some of the most prestigious awards in his industry. More about his story in today’s episode of She Takes on the World TV…

In this imposter syndrome episode I’m going to help you conquer this crazy idea once and for all, and shift to a place of feeling deserving of everything you’ve accomplished and everything you will accomplish. Check it out:

Now I want to hear more about your “brag bio” from the assignment I gave you in this episode: Tell me one accomplishment you should absolutely be proud of, whether you’ve let the imposter syndrome get in your way or not.

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6 thoughts on “Women Entrepreneurs and the Imposter Syndrome

  1. Great exercise, Natalie!
    So here’s one of my major accomplishments to date: My first big interpreter job that I had while still in college!
    It was HUGE and I received amazing feedback!
    Yes, I had SO much fear and self-doubt the day before and even that same day!
    I felt like I wasn’t “ready” yet to do such a big project. But I just started before I was “ready” cause I was so passionate about that project, that I just moved through that “imposter syndrome”!
    And the minute I started interpreting, the minute I saw people smiling and being fascinated by what I had to tell them all that fear and self-doubt just vanished. The imposter syndrome just disappeared and I had a blast doing that work for the rest of the project!
    Lesson learned: Passion moves mountains as long as we focus on getting our message out there and allow ourselves to use our voice!

  2. Hi Natalie. I love your videos, book, blog, and amazing work. You have helped me tremendously.

    My major accomplishments to date: Submitting my third book to my publisher on August 26 after four years of going through my own imposter syndrome journey.

    I was afraid to write my experiences. I did not think people wanted to read my words. This summer, I watched a lot of inspiring TED Talks and Marie TV. I also read your book, Marianne Williamson’s new book, Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Amy Jo Martin’s new book, and Cyndi Lee’s yoga memoir. These books were medicine for my soul. All of these tools gave me the confidence to give two presentations about social media leadership, a key topic in my upcoming book, at the BlogHer conference in July. The feedback I received made me just dig deeper. Right after the conference, I took a yoga and writing workshop taught by Kimberly Wilson at Tranquil Space in DC that opened my heart and soul up to who I am truly. I started using a series of affirmations on August 1 (some are based on your book) that have helped me stay focused. Throughout this summer, I have learned to step into who I am and believe my daily affirmation: I AM UNAPOLOGETICALLY AUTHENTIC, FIERCE, AND HUMAN.

  3. The quote from Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love is one the most most amazing quotes EVER.

    The impostor syndrome? I see it ALL the time with my clients. Nothing a little (yet powerful) coaching can’t cure.
    One must face this impostor in order to move past it (don’t let it run your life subconsciously ya’ll).

    And don’t let the lies from your impostor stop you: they’re liiiiiies!

  4. This is such great practical advice for imposter syndrome. I really identify with the feeling, but haven’t found a way of overcoming it effectively as yet. It’s always bubbling away under the surface! Thanks for the tips. I know one area I’m held back in because of imposter syndrome is following up. I convince myself people don’t want to hear from me, but have recently scored some amazing clients with just a gentle nudge email.

    I love this post on imposter syndrome that’s specific to writing too. http://beafreelanceblogger.com/impostor-syndrome/ As an editor, I encounter so many people with imposter syndrome, which is really hard for them when it comes to putting their words out into the world. Will be directing them here too in future!

  5. I love, love, looove this episode, Natalie! Thank you! The Neil Gaiman and Marianne Williamson’s quotes are brilliant, and it’s so helpful to learn from your experiences! One of my accomplishments that will appear in my new “brag bio” is that I aced all my international human rights law courses at Oxford – and I’m not even a lawyer or law student!

  6. I would just like to start by saying I love your site and your info! This actually helped me out. I have just started my own company and have been going back and forth with this since the day I decided to start it. My negative thoughts have centered around people not believing me about the benefits of my products 🙂 but I know that’s not true! So I would have to say that my biggest accomplishment to date would be the switch in thought and knowing that I am offereing more benefit then people actually think.

    Thank you for the reminder!


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