After 14 years of managing and growing a construction business within the male-dominated trades industry, I decided to flip my life upside down and open a fitness studio. Drawing from previous experiences, I initially felt confident in my role as a leader and studio owner. To my surprise, Imposter Syndrome struck as soon as the fire marshal’s signature dried on the certificate of occupancy.
Imposter Syndrome is a paralyzing anxiety that your success is undeserving, dumb luck or fraudulent. Despite a successful first year with solid reviews and a popular aerial yoga program, I felt like a fraud because I was not an expert on every studio subject.
The last straw came after opening my second location. I literally cried the whole way home. Tired of my all-consuming self-doubt, the next day I jumped back into the driver’s seat and never looked back. You can, too.
Ask for Directions
While feedback from loved ones is informative, an outside perspective from a professional is worth every penny. A professional coach can help you unearth your vision and shine a spotlight on your true business goals. Homing in on my goals allowed me to move forward with confidence. While I was blessed to find a quick fit with a coach, other helpful tools could include business networking, business development councils and life coaches.
Rewrite Your Storyline
Take back the power by redefining success on your terms. Imposter Syndrome pushes sufferers in search of legitimacy with endless certifications and degrees. The reality is entrepreneurs only need an idea and a plan. It took me a solid year to accept that a 500-hour yoga certification is not required to be a studio owner.
Let’s face it: it’s healthy to have goals but simply not possible to be certified in everything. Instead, I chose to define success as the ability to focus on the rewarding work within the studio.
Stop Acting Like an Imposter; Own Your Magic
I spent my first year as a studio owner completely off the radar. I was petrified of being caught in my brazen act of daring to build my dream. Small losses and unsolicited feedback only fueled my Imposter Syndrome. A simple social media unfollow would send me into a tailspin.
Feeling undeserving of success can turn well-intentioned feedback into a personal attack. Owning your magic is as simple as acknowledging all your hard work and emphasizing your accomplishments. It was only then that I was able to use constructive feedback to help grow the studio.
Hire for Your Gaps
As a perfectionist, I felt compelled to be an expert on everything. For me, this was the quickest path to burn out. It’s important to find two to three things you do well and enjoy, and put your energy and focus there. A great leader delegates by hiring experts to fill in your knowledge gaps.
It’s important to remember Imposter Syndrome will not disappear overnight and that feeling a tinge of discomfort is important for personal growth. Believe me: if I can do it, you can do it, too.