3 Steps to Combat Imposter Syndrome

Ever feel like a potato in a salad of experts?

This week’s newsletter is all about remembering where you started. I went all the way back to the 3 (three) key steps to entrepreneurial success. I know, I know, that’s great and all but you’ve come a long way…so, I’ve turned that trio into a formula to help combat imposter syndrome. BOOM.

*You’re like, how did she find this photo of me…..


When you originally signed up for this email you read about my entrepreneurial journey. If you want a refresher, you can read it here or you can listen to my latest podcast episode where I discuss my journey from ballerina to business babe.


In the podcast, I talked about the fact that I never really considered myself an entrepreneur until recently, honestly up until last year when someone asked I said I was a yoga studio owner or a yoga teacher. I never said that I was an entrepreneur, blogger, podcaster, or author (these are stated on my LinkedIn, but I don’t even know if that actually counts. When I launched Erin Runs an Empire I was like “oh yeah, I finally feel comfortable enough to say ‘My name is Erin and I’m an Entrepreneur.’” 


I’ll be honest with you, and you know I will, I STILL don’t really consider myself a “writer” or even “author” and I’ve been blogging longer than I’ve been a business owner and I have a published book that’s in Barnes and Noble. Like HI ERIN all the boxes are checked, I write 2 completely different blogs each week (this one you’re reading) and one for the yoga studio. I also write all of the copy that’s in the yoga studio’s weekly update emails each Monday…. all of that to say when someone says the age old question “What do you do?” I never ever, ever respond with “I’m an entrepreneur and an author.” That’s f*cking weird right?!?!?


How many times have you shrunk yourself down when someone asked you that question? 


Imposter Syndrome, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I’m sure you deal with it too. What does it actually mean? 

Dictionary Definition: 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.


National Institutes of Health (NIH) says: Imposter syndrome (IS) is a behavioral health phenomenon described as self-doubt of intellect, skills, or accomplishments among high-achieving individuals. While imposter syndrome is a commonly researched, experienced, and pervasive phenomenon, there is an unknown true prevalence. Currently, no formal or widely accepted medical definition exists. 


Here’s some other quick non-shocking information that you will be like, wow duh…. Also according to the NIH, Imposter syndrome (also commonly termed imposter phenomenon, fraud syndrome, impostorism, and perceived fraudulence) was first described in 1978 by Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., and Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D. as an observation first among successful women and other marginalized groups.


Who's shocked? I honestly even wonder if these women were feeling like imposters finding out about imposter syndrome - that sh*t’s deep. 


If you liked some of these facts about Imposter Syndrome, don’t worry I have a whole other email newsletter with more facts and more strategic actionable ways to get present and refocused when this sh*t comes up, but we have gotta start here with knowing who the f*ck you are, and that’s also the hard part. 


Let’s go back to the beginning, where I started, where you started, and how businesses start. The basics of starting your own business go like this:

  1. There’s a problem that was realized 
  2. There was some sort of market research, whether talking to people, putting numbers in spreadsheets, realizings of “I can do this…but better,” or if you’re like me there was a lot of “Watch me f*cking do this….”  (Quick to be clear….. those last few aren’t ACTUAL market validation and my professor would be mortified I wrote that, but he’s not subscribed to this newsletter.) 💁🏼‍♀️
  3. A solution is created to the problem using YOUR business. 

In doing a bunch of research for my graduate program I’ve talked to Social Media Agency Owners, Pediatric Clinic Owners, Physical Therapy Clinic Owners, Business Consultants, Other Boutique Fitness Owners, and SO MANY other women, and there are a ton of commonalities, a ton of differences, but what truly connects us all…. we each realized the problem we are solving for is important and we were so courageous, we opened a business to help solve hat problem. 

…. and then if imposter syndrome strikes we shrink down and it’s like we forget that we can actually do the thing we set out to do. 


So, what now? Most likely your imposter syndrome isn’t going away anytime soon, but you can realize it’s happening and do something about it. 


Take a Reality Inventory:

Notice this week how much imposter syndrome strikes, and each time it comes up…solve the problem and build your confidence like you built your business: problem, market validation, and solution….

  1. Problem: You feel like you are not an expert, not legitimate, and you believe you don’t have the skills. Listen, we both know I don’t have the skills to wire a new light in my ceiling, but I know I have the business skills to put in a new operating procedure or give another friend advice about their business. I’m clearly talking about the latter….
  2. Market Validation - Ask yourself a few questions: 
    • Have you had progress and growth in your current business? Hint: THE ANSWER IS YES B*TCH! You opened a business and you have clients or sell products and you’ve done it over and over again. 
    • Are you comparing yourself to someone else? Then, ask yourself why….
    • Lastly, what do you know is true about yourself and your expertise? Hint again: My answer would be “I’m an entrepreneur of 10 years. I do know what I’m doing, and even though I still have a lot to learn I do NOT need to second guess myself with this situation. 

3) Solution - Make the courageous choice of confidence and solve your problem.


Here’s an example of me in real-time writing this email…. I honestly have no idea whether to write “Who is,” “Who’s,” or “Whose” and once again NO JOKE FULL HONEST TRANSPARENCY was like wtf am I even doing writing, I don’t even know this basic grammar BS. I can barely spell, I use Grammarly, and can barely put a sentence together in a proper way. I reminded myself that people enjoy reading these emails. The “Market Validation” is shown not only with data because of opens but also people actually replying or telling me, “I love reading your weekly emails.” That brought me back to that “who is,” “who’s,” and “whose” conundrum isn’t the actual problem that I’m solving - Google solved that sh*t for me. I’m helping women become more mindful entrepreneurs with these emails, and it doesn’t actually matter which “who with an s” I use - it matters that I make actionable, digestible mindfulness tools that you can implement into your life and your business. I want you to count your inventory and take inventory of your emotions and your life.


Last part of this Reality Inventory - Some other things you might consider is asking yourself if this situation comes up a lot in very certain situations such as: conversations with certain people, learning a new and unfamiliar skill, or when you feel like you don’t belong - clearly those are mine. Do some reflection and see if you can figure out yours. 


But wait…there’s ONE MORE THING I have an action item for all of us this week:


It’s going to be hard, and I’m going to do it to…..

Answer the question: “So [INSERT NAME], what do you do?” 


Show up for yourself, don’t make yourself small, don’t put yourself in a box that the person standing in front of you expects, and actually respond to the question. Don’t worry, I’m going to try it too and I’ll let you know how it goes….


We both know this will be hard, but so is entrepreneurship and we did it anyway.


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