As an aspiring entrepreneur, you have probably faced moments of doubt. You begin to wonder if you are really good enough, if you can really achieve your goals, and if you will ever find real success in your career. While these feelings may be discouraging, the good news is that as a first-time entrepreneur, you are not alone. Many others in your position are also dealing with that has been termed “Impostor Syndrome.”

Impostor syndrome encompasses a wide range of feelings. It includes worrying that you aren’t smart enough, talented enough, or good enough to achieve your dream.  As an aspiring entrepreneur, you might fear that others will find out that you really aren’t as smart or as good at your job as they assumed. Sometimes, people begin to think that it was luck, not skill, that helped them to achieve success. While some people allow Impostor Syndrome to discourage them from achieving their dreams, it can also encourage people to work harder, helping them to prove to themselves as well as others that they can achieve their dream.

Even the Most Successful People Deal with It

When you are dealing with Impostor Syndrome, you may begin to feel like no one else has felt the way you feel. You might start to feel that everyone else is confident and like you are the only one simply pretending to feel confident. Yet, an estimated 70 percent of people in the United States have faced Impostor Syndrome. Some of the most successful people in the United States can be counted among those who have faced it during their career.

A recent Entrepreneur article talked about some people who have admitted to dealing with Impostor Syndrome. For example, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that during college at Harvard, she felt like she didn’t deserve to be there. She said, “There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.” Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor said she sometimes does not feel like she is completely a part of the world she occupies. She also admits that sometimes she wonders if she measures up to what is expected of her.  Others, including successful entrepreneurs, actors, and musicians, have also admitted to feeling a bit like a fraud at times.

The Negativity of It

Unfortunately, if you allow the negative feelings to take over, Impostor Syndrome can destroy you as a first-time entrepreneur. An Inc. article from last summer talked about how Impostor Syndrome can destroy people’s chances of success. People begin sabotaging their own success.  Because they doubt themselves, they fail to try their hardest. Sometimes, they think if they stay in the shadows, not standing out too much, others will not realize they are actually a fraud. They may also talk themselves out of doing something they really want to do, convincing themselves that they’ll just fail anyway. Unfortunately, this lack of confidence in themselves and their reluctance to take chances may prevent the person from achieving entrepreneurial success.

See the Good in Impostor Syndrome

Ultimately, one important key to moving from an aspiring entrepreneur to a successful entrepreneur is to use Impostor Syndrome to your advantage. While it can bring you down, discouraging you, and preventing you from achieving your goals, it can also be a great thing. Realizing that you are not perfect and that you need to work harder to be your best could help you to become your best.

One way to see the good in Impostor Syndrome is to talk about it with others who may be facing the same feelings. While many entrepreneurs are reluctant to admit that they doubt their own abilities, admitting it can help others, who may feel the same way. Impostor Syndrome may also help you to be more careful. While being too cautious on your path to entrepreneurial success is not a good thing, double-checking yourself and thinking through an idea will help you avoid blind confidence. In the end, allowing yourself to fail sometimes and accepting that entrepreneurial success may take time will help you fight Impostor Syndrome.  When you are feeling down on yourself, remember to focus on your successes, even if your successes feel small.

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