I had a pretty rubbish week at the end of January. I won’t go into all the gory details, but it reminded me of an article I’d read in the past about ‘Imposter Syndrome’. The article said that “Research from AXA PPP healthcare reveals that one in five SME owners suffer from Imposter Syndrome – the fear of being exposed in your job as a fraud, inadequate or a failure despite evidence proving you’re successful and capable.”
That week I felt just like this and it made me wonder how many other small business owners feel like this too? What brought this about was a nasty email from an (now ex) client, slating the work that I did for them, my costs (which are extremely competitive I will have you know) and my knowledge. It was an email that came completely out of the blue and just knocked me for six. Communication had been good, feedback had been excellent and I’d really helped them (so they told me). So, to get an email contrary to that was really upsetting.
I consider myself a very professional businessperson. I treat others how I would expect to be treated myself, am honest and loyal to my clients. I studied hard at university and continue to study with my CPD, I’ve gained over twenty years’ experience, am a Chartered Marketer with great clients and testimonials and have won several awards. Yet, I still sometimes feel like I have Imposter Syndrome. Receiving an email like that, or a bad comment about you/your work or meeting a tricky client can really knock you down.
I never imagined that I’d run a business – I didn’t have a clue where to start, but was thrown into this situation when I was made redundant and I just got on with it. In that respect I have to pinch myself sometimes that I’m coming up to my eight year anniversary. There is no way I’d be doing what I’m doing eight years down the line if I wasn’t any good.
Findings in the report suggested over half of SME owners affected (52%) admit that low self-esteem led them to feeling like an imposter, with four in ten (42%) comparing themselves with others and over one in four (27%) doubting their decisions.
So, my message to anyone out there who might feel like they have Imposter Syndrome is to just go for it. You are good at what you do; otherwise, you would not be in the situation you are in. Believe in yourself and others will too. You are unique and the service or product you offer is unique to you and you should be proud of it. You don’t need to compare yourself to others, be confident in your strengths and what you do.
Finally don’t ever feel like you’re on your own, there are so many other small business owners out there, so get out and meet them, go for a coffee with someone you trust and build a supportive network around you. A good talking to can often sort you out (as my husband regularly does!)
So, I’m back on it this week! Bring it on!