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  • Alison Wait

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in your Beauty Business

Updated: Nov 2


If you have ever felt like you were a fake or an imposter as a beauty business owner then you are not alone. About 70% of people experience at least one episode in their lives.


Loosely defined imposter syndrome is doubting your own abilities and feeling like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people (mostly women) who find it challenging to accept their own accomplishments but where does it really come from?


I know myself that over the years I’ve worked in our wonderful industry I’ve found that the office politics and challenges of ambitious colleagues around me have gone a long way at times, to chip away at my self-confidence.


When I think about imposter syndrome for me it misdirects our view towards fixing (mainly) women at work, rather than fixing the bias many of us, as women find in our workplace.


Even the term imposter syndrome has its own connotations for women too. It brings a hint of criminal fraudulence to the feeling of simply being unsure or nervous about joining a new team or taking on additional responsibilities through promotion. The word ‘syndrome’ also brings to mind the female ‘hysteria’ diagnosis of the nineteenth century. Feelings of uncertainty should be an expected part of our professional lives but more-often-than- not women who experience them are labelled as ‘suffering’ from imposter syndrome.


Even, when as women we demonstrate strength, initiative and resilience our daily challenges with expectations and assumptions formed by stereotypes in the workplace often push us down into a spiral of lack of confidence and self-doubt.


What does this mean to you? You are your own boss, a business owner. Why would you feel imposter syndrome now that you work for yourself? The reality is that we very often carry over the imposter phenomenon from negative experiences in previous workplaces. It is crucial to recognise it as a normal reaction when we find ourselves under pressure, such as starting our own business or taking on employees.


The important thing is to recognise it for what it is and find solutions to nip it in the bud, otherwise it can start to have an impact on your mental health and wellbeing, possibly leading you to give up on your dreams.


So how do you recognise if imposter syndrome is affecting your ability to manage your business effectively?


If you find yourself full of self-doubt and distrusting your intuition and capabilities, fear that you won’t live up to other people’s expectations, comparing yourself or your business to others and even sabotaging your own success you could be facing imposter syndrome.


This isn’t an exhaustive list and it can simply mean you are in a bit of a business flunk where you suddenly start doubting your own abilities. Whatever you prefer to call it, it is when you begin to overthink things and start to over criticise and be too hard on yourself.


This form of critical thinking is designed to primarily protect us from external danger and it is essential when taking actions like crossing the road, but when it starts to overtake our brains it can cause more negative thinking and take us down a destructive path of self-sabotage. Think about it, if you have ever had a bad customer review (when we’re in a negative state) we start to believe all our customers must be thinking the same way, rather than remembering the hundreds of wonderful customer reviews we’ve received!


Once you acknowledge imposter syndrome the GOOD NEWS is that you can overcome it before it gets a ‘foot hold.’


Initially do a quick reality check on yourself. Challenge the assumption causing your feeling. Write it down as doing this can clearly identify that one misstep doesn’t mean you are not going to be successful overall at what you want to achieve.


Stop comparing yourself to others. We are all different and at various stages in our business journey. One of the things I always ask new clients to do is focus on their business and not the competitor across the road. Acknowledge how far you have come and remember that SUCCESS IS SUBJECTIVE.


Recognise and celebrate your successes. Keep a list of all your wins (big and small), your positive reviews and ‘thank you’ cards. Don’t just brush off compliments or put these down to ‘luck.’ The number of them proves this isn’t the case.


Perform CONSISTENT SELF-CARE checks. It’s hard for therapists to look after themselves first but as a business owner, if you are not in a good place you can’t be a guide and mentor for your employees. The sooner you recognise the negative self-talk the sooner you will overcome it.


Find MENTORS that are going to SUPPORT YOU, help you recognise and celebrate your wins and help you BUILD A COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY to overcome and manage your imposter syndrome. TAKING ACTION is one of the best ways to challenge your negative thoughts and self-sabotaging assumptions. When you get going and start achieving results, it builds momentum and brings your focus back onto all the positives of being a successful business owner.


If you feel that you’d like some support to get you out of imposter syndrome with an INTENTIONAL, STRUCTURED and COST EFFECTIVE plan let’s have a ‘get to know each other’ 20-minute call and get those strategies in place.


Email: alison.wait@kickstartbeauty.com

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