How Can I Overcome Imposter Syndrome as a Female Solopreneur?

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As someone who - at times - suffers from imposter syndrome, and who has also witnessed the detrimental impact imposter syndrome can have on the solopreneurs I mentor, I was keen to find out more about this phenomenon and learn how we can overcome it.

So, for the first of my new series of Thrive Workshops funded by Enjoolata Foundation, I invited in imposter syndrome mentor and author, Clare Josa, to share her research and insight into imposter syndrome.

To an audience of 45 female founders, Clare Josa highlighted the difference between self-doubt and imposter syndrome, and shared the neuroscience behind the syndrome, in order to teach us how to develop effective coping strategies. 

The session was packed with practical take-aways - too numerous to list here - but here are my top seven lessons learnt:

1. Imposter syndrome and self-doubt are two different things: Whilst self-doubt is related to our beliefs about ourselves, imposter syndrome is related to our identity and who we are.

2. Imposter syndrome affects all genders. Clare Josa's research uncovered that 52% of women experience imposter syndrome daily in their lives (compared to 49% of men). Interestingly, she found that 82% of entrepreneurs have suffered from imposter syndrome.

3. Imposter syndrome affects men and women differently. Typical trigger points for women include coming back from maternity leave, coming out of the furlough scheme, promotions at work and starting a business.

4. You can turn your inner critic into your cheerleader by re-wiring your neural pathways - by changing your thoughts of yourself. Repetitive thoughts soon become habits, so it is important to change your negative thoughts into positive thoughts, which in turn, will then create new neural pathways.

5. One way to re-wire your neural pathways is to celebrate your micro-wins. When you do, make sure you make those micro-wins specific, and make them about your behaviour. For example, ‘I delivered that presentation well’. Don’t just think them - feel them.

6. Whenever you are experiencing imposter syndrome, breathe in order to reset your stress response. The more you deal with your stress, the easier it will become to manage your imposter syndrome.

7. When you are experiencing imposter syndrome, mentor yourself by asking yourself questions such as: ‘Is it really true, or is it just imposter syndrome speaking? What do I want? What can I do instead?’

The final advice which Clare shared with the audience was - Don’t ignore imposter syndrome, else you will find a way to self-sabotage.

The new Thrive Workshop series, funded by Enjoolata Foundation, launched in June, and will be running throughout 2021 (apart from a summer break in August). 

Our next Thrive workshop ‘How to Leverage LinkedIn to Grow Your Business and Brand’ is on Friday, 16 July from 12pm until 2pm. 

To find out more, and to reserve your free place, go to: