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Imposter Syndrome VS. Entrepreneurship

After chatting with educator and healthcare professional Sarah Michelle (founder of Sarah Michelle NP Reviews), I was left to ponder the power of imposter syndrome and how it affects nurse entrepreneurs. 

Imposter syndrome was first identified in the 70s by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes, and is defined as “the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications”. In short, imposter syndrome is doubting your abilities and feeling like an imposter to your own success. 

While only touching the subject briefly, Sarah Michelle considered imposter syndrome as a prominent issue that many nurses and business owners face—and I couldn’t agree more! 

Believe it or not, most entrepreneurs face imposter syndrome. In fact, studies show that nearly 84% of all small business owners face imposter syndrome when first starting their businesses. 

Objectively we can see imposter syndrome for what it is, but experiencing imposter syndrome is much more powerful than viewing success from the outside in.  

Imposter syndrome can raise irrational questions and fears, instilling a sense of doubt. Some common signs of imposter syndrome include: 

  • Feeling like you fooled everyone, and don’t deserve success. 
  • Chalking up your achievements to pure luck or chance. 
  • Being crushed by constructive criticism and suggestions. 
  • Experiencing anxiety over small flaws in your work. 

Does this sound like you? Have you experienced imposter syndrome while starting up your new business? If so, you’re not alone. Many NursePreneurs struggle with their bouts of imposter syndrome. 

If you’re feeling inept or just doubting your own abilities, there are steps you can take to combat imposter syndrome and renew your self-confidence when starting a business. 

  • Don’t Stay Silent- The first step to combating imposter syndrome is to break the silence. You’re not alone in your feelings and admitting them to other professionals, friends, and family can be a huge weight off your shoulders. 
  • Feelings ≠ Facts- Separate your feelings from the facts. There are times that you’ll feel like a failure, but reflecting on your accomplishments can help you focus on all you’ve achieved and repel negative thinking patterns. 
  • Pave The Way- Sometimes we feel like imposters because no one has done it our way before. But you don’t always have to have the answers, and you don’t always need to follow the rules when starting a business–in entrepreneurship you have the freedom to pave your own path! 
  • Treat Yo’ Self- Finding validation outside yourself is a slippery slope! Did you overcome a milestone in your business? Don’t hesitate to treat yourself and relish your accomplishments!  

Imposter syndrome is real, and the feelings you’re experiencing are valid. But just because you feel like an imposter, doesn’t mean that you are! 

I challenge you to take time to reflect on your journey and your accomplishments. Acknowledge how far you’ve come and renew your strength to continue your journey of growing your own business. 

If you find that you’re still struggling with imposter syndrome, it may be beneficial to seek out professional advice or consult a mental health professional. 

To listen to my interview with NursePreneur Sarah Michelle click here

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