I am so excited to dive into this topic because I believe imposter syndrome affects millions of women entrepreneurs and many times, we don’t even realize what it is.
IE 103: Steps to Overcome Imposter Syndrome with Jaclyn Mellone
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Jaclyn Mellone and I met at Podcast Movement in July of 2018 and I knew I had to have her on. Jaclyn is a marketing and mindset coach and she helps experts create profitable personal brands. She has been producing her podcast, All Up in Your Lady Business, for over 3 years and there are currently 300+ episodes you can catch up on. (The podcast will be going through a rebrand in January of 2019 and will become “The Go-To Gal” podcast.)
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Unless you read a ton of self-help books and listen to a lot of podcasts in that vein, you may not even know what imposter syndrome is or how it affects you. Imposter syndrome can pose as many things, such as self-doubt and lots of inner mean girl talk. You may feel like you aren’t good enough to do the things you want to do.
It’s important to understand that imposter syndrome is common and can happen at any point in your business. You might be shocked to find out that some of your mentors and the most successful people in online business still struggle with imposter syndrome. It typically rears its ugly head when you are pushing yourself and your business to the next level.
As someone who wants to remain very transparent with you all, let me just share with you that this very week, I struggled with imposter syndrome. I was meeting with my own business coach, talking about goals for my business for 2019 and I could feel myself getting scared. The tears were forming in my eyes as I questioned who I was to even be thinking that I could accomplish these things she was talking about.
Why High-Achieving Entrepreneurs Struggle with Imposter Syndrome
One of the most important things to remember any time you deal with imposter syndrome is that you only feel this because you are doing big things. Most women don’t deal with it in corporate jobs. They can be super high-achieving in the corporate world and never experience imposter syndrome. Why?
Because they aren’t putting themselves on the line. Building your own business from the ground up is a scary thing. People might doubt you. You have plenty of doubt yourself. If you are a highly motivated, high-achieving woman, you can expect to deal with imposter syndrome every time you decide to take the next huge step in your business.
As a reading specialist in New York state, I had a very successful career. But my entire life wasn’t riding on that career. There was a definite path laid out for me to follow and all I had to do was walk along it. In the online world, there is no path. You have to learn as you go.
Imposter Syndrome Can Be Lonely
One of the most difficult things about imposter syndrome is the feeling of loneliness that it brings.
If you have an online business, you are already more than likely sitting in your house every day working alone. You aren’t surrounded by colleagues and coworkers. You don’t have a network of support around you. Take feelings of being less than and combine those with no support and you have the perfect set-up for loneliness.
And if you get brave enough to ask for support, you may get a mixed bag. Maybe you will hear that you’ve got this, that you’re smart and capable and you can do it! But maybe that person says they think you’re crazy and you should get a real job. Each person has their own beliefs so you have to be careful not to let someone’s limiting beliefs convince you that you shouldn’t do what you’re doing.
Before seeking support or trying to move forward, it’s important for you to do 2 things –
- Validate your feelings. Say to yourself, “This is what I am feeling and it’s okay.”
- Be aware of how imposter syndrome shows up for you. Do you procrastinate? Do you feel like you should wait to do whatever the big thing is? Do you self-sabotage?
Steps to Move Forward to get Past Imposter Syndrome
Once you have identified that you are dealing with imposter syndrome, there are some definite steps you can take to overcome it.
- Get it on paper. As soon as you start having the uncomfortable thoughts, get it out of your head and onto paper. In your head, it feels a whole lot bigger and more impossible to deal with. Getting it on paper allows you to use your logical brain to analyze it and begin to look at it with a new perspective.
- Separate fact from fiction. Here’s where a good friend can be helpful. Examine what you wrote down and let your friend help you determine whether it’s a true fact about yourself or merely a limiting belief. (We tend to believe everything in our head is a fact but that’s not true.)
How to Find the Support Network that Is Right For You
There have been times that I thought I had found a supportive group of people online only to find out that it wasn’t the right fit for me. Your personality and your needs will be different from everybody else’s. You have to find the right fit for you.
Jaclyn says that it is crucial to build real relationships with people before you need them. It’s like networking; you can’t wait until you need a referral to begin networking. You have to be building into people all along and developing real relationships.
The best way to do this is to jump out of the Facebook group with someone you’ve connected with inside the group. Get on a phone call or Zoom and get to know each other and hear the other’s voice.
If you want to really go beyond surface level relationships, then remember that vulnerability builds relationships. Let them see the real you with all your struggles and faults. Share yourself with them and invite them to do the same.
Rewrite Your Stories
Once you’ve gotten your thoughts down on paper, you’ve separated the fact from the fiction, and you’ve found someone you can be vulnerable with, it’s time to rewrite those stories that were in your head and reframe them.
In my coaching business, I see bloggers all the time who undervalue themselves when it comes to working with brands. They go all the way through my Pitch Perfect Pro course and then never send a pitch. They tell me things like, “I’m not ready.” Or, “I don’t have a big enough following.” And none of that is true.
Jaclyn says that when we face thoughts like, “I can’t ask for that much money. I don’t have as many followers as Susie over at that other blog. Nobody will pay me that,” we actually need to reframe what we’re saying in a way that is believable.
How can you reframe this thought that you can’t ask for a certain amount into an empowering thought instead of the disempowering thought that it is?
First of all, figure out what your competitive advantage is. Maybe you don’t have as many followers but your audience is super engaged. The people you compare yourself to have their own competitive advantage. Let’s rewrite the sentence from the blogger who thinks she isn’t ready to pitch a brand –
“I’m the right partner for this brand because their product is perfectly aligned with my audience and their needs. I may not have as many followers as Susie Blogger but my audience is highly engaged and will appreciate knowing about this product.”
The last step is to take action. You don’t have to take the big giant leap; just take a small leap in the right direction. This helps your brain to relax while also moving you forward.
When Jaclyn’s podcast was only 4 months old, she and her partner wanted to pitch for a sponsor. But the number of downloads they had weren’t conducive to getting paid sponsorships. They didn’t let that stop them. They pitched a brand whose tools they were using in their business and that aligned well with their audience.
With a fraction of the downloads typically necessary for a paid sponsorship, they got the company to agree!
They could have held themselves back with their limiting beliefs. They could have said they were too small, too new, not established enough. But instead, they decided to let their confidence guide them and it paid off big time.
What are your next steps? What could you do next that would take you in the right direction? What is the next small thing you could do that would move your business forward without completely freaking out your brain?
Be sure to visit Jaclyn’s blog to get the free goodies she has there for you!
Books Jaclyn mentioned regarding mindset-
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