Learn How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome With These 9 Tips

January 1, 2020 | A Little Easier #22
If you want to start a business or explore a passion, but you feel like you've got no right to do it, this is for you. Here's how to overcome Imposter Syndrome. 

I’ve been avoiding changing the focus this show from general productivity / life hacks to making online marketing Easier for… well… forever.

My heart has been in the entrepreneurship space for a long time. But, my head refused to let me go there. Why? A sneaky form of Imposter Syndrome had its hooks in me.

Just recently, I learned that Imposter Syndrome can take different forms. And that my particular evolution — not feeling like enough of an expert — isn’t one that gets talked about a lot.

If you’ve wanted to start a business, explore a passion, or get into a hobby, but you feel like you’ve got no right to do it, this post is for you.

Let’s talk about how to overcome imposter syndrome.

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome: Tips from Marie Forelo

Here’s a summary of 6 tips from the incredible Marie Forleo on how to overcome imposter syndrome:

1. Share the shame

  • Lots of folks, especially high-achievers, resist talking about their shame
  • Unfortunately, Imposter Syndrome is totally rooted in shame
  • The best way to combat shame is to dive into it!
  • Talk to someone about the shame you’re feeling and syphon it all out of your head!

2. Shine your light out

  • Think of your attention like a flashlight
  • You can only shine that light in one direction
  • If you shine the light on your own insecurities and doubts, that’s all you’ll see!
  • But, if you shine the light out on your audience / customers and the problems they’re having, the fears and doubts melt away

3. Start a hype file

  • Set up a place (a physical file, a notebook in OneNote or Evernote, a Google Drive folder, etc.) where you can keep any positive stuff that happens in your business
  • Things like nice comments, good reviews, uplifting emails, insights you find on the web, milestones you’ve accomplished, etc.
  • Then, when you start to feel low, review the file!
  • Personally, I love this idea! I’ve got to get mine set up ASAP.

4. Track successes AND stumbles

  • In addition to tracking your successes (maybe in the hype file from Tip #3), Marie suggests tracking stumbles too
  • Why? Because you can learn so much from those failures when it’s easy to reflect on them

5. Develop a go-to mantra

  • So far, I’ve been pretty skeptical about mantras. But! I love this take on it.
  • Marie suggests a couple mantras to use when you’re doubting yourself that I’d absolutely use! They’re real and full of profanity (love it!):
    • From Mindy Kaling: “Why the fuck not me!?
    • From Marie Forelo: “You’re Marie Fucking Forelo, you’ve got this bitch!
  • I’m definitely a realist, so mantras don’t usually speak to me. But! Asking, “Why the fuck not me!?” resonates with me like crazy.

6. Stay humble

  • Lastly, Marie cautions folks suffering from Imposter Syndrome about overcompensating
  • In other words, avoid becoming a huge douchebag asshole to cover up the fact that you’ve got some shame
  • If you find yourself turning into that idiot we all hate, head back to Tip #1 and try that ASAP!
  • You, and everyone around you, will thank you!

Watch Marie cover all of these tips on MarieTV

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome: My Own Insights

Imposter Syndrome with a twist

I’d seen Marie’s video, and read about these tips in her book Everything is Figureoutable, so I’ve been on the lookout for Imposter Syndrome for quite a while.

But, what I didn’t recognize was that I had a bit of a mutant version of IS going on.

The basic definition of Imposter Syndrome is: “the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.” Or, in short, that you don’t deserve success.

My version had that, but with a twist: You’re not an expert, you don’t have enough success, so you can’t talk about it. Yet. 

The “Yet.” part was especially frustrating. I kept avoiding talking about online marketing, but the desire was always there, dangling in front of me.

It wasn’t until I had the (recent) realization in Tip #7 below that I finally snapped out of it.

7. You don’t have to be an expert

  • This is where I struggled. A lot.
  • I thought that, to talk about a topic, you had to be an “expert”
  • But, after a truly amazing conversation with my good friend Colleen, I learned that’s not true
  • I realized that, as long as I don’t claim to be an expert, I have just as much right to talk on the subject as anyone!
  • In fact, given all I’ve learned in this space, I think I’ve been denying others some really helpful information
  • Overall, I learned that I can share my journey, and what I’m learning along the way, and that people will resonate with it

8. Remember: Your ideas matter.

  • This is another idea that I had to remember: My ideas matter. Period.
  • The same is true for you!
  • A while back, I created a desktop background that reminds me of this idea every time I sit at my computer. It’s a gorgeous photo of the ocean and night sky with the words YOUR IDEAS MATTER set among the stars. (Hint! It’s the same photo from the top of this post!)

    how to overcome imposter syndrome starry night lake mountains your ideas matter desktop screenshot low res

  • If you like it, I’m happy to share the full-resolution version! I’ve got a smartphone version too ?
  • Hit the button below to download for free!


9. Share with someone you trust

  • Last, this is a take on Marie’s tip (Tip #1) to share the shame
  • I don’t think we always label what we’re feeling as “shame” though
  • So, I take it a step further: share the struggle
  • And, be sure to share it with someone you trust, who will give you honest feedback
  • For me, that’s my friend Colleen. The conversation I had with her changed my entire perspective and gave me my passion and sense of direction back. I’m so grateful to her, and that I shared my struggle with her!

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