Is Fear Feeding Your Imposter Syndrome, Like Mind?

This blog has been floating in my head for a while, but I wasn't sure how to start, leading me to question why I was putting it off. I had the idea, I've done the research, I can write, so why was I putting it off? It finally dawned on me this morning. Fear.

You got it. A tiny, four-letter word that has stopped me in my tracks on more occasions than I'd like to admit. But I'm sure I can't be the only small business owner or even person on the planet that feels this way, so I've made the bold decision to unpack my fear in this post in hopes it may help others to move past what's holding them back.

A term that has always popped into my mind when I think of my fears is imposter syndrome, something I feel very intimate with. There are many definitions available, but during my research, I can across the following from Very Well:

"Imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling like a phony—you feel as though at any moment you are going to be found out as a fraud—like you don't belong where you are, and you only got there through dumb luck."

Wow! Tell me that didn't hit you right in your heart. Stay with me; I promise we are heading towards an incredible "ah-ha" moment.

When I first started Social Geek, I was a jumbled mess of emotions, but I was mainly excited to test out my skills to see if I could make a difference. Fast forward three years later, and Social Geek is still going strong, but a lot happened during those three years.

Social Geek started as a side hustle as many small businesses do. It took about 6-months for me to find the confidence to take on paying clients (yes, you read that right) because I was fearful potential clients would not see my value and be rejected. While I did run into a few who weren't a good fit, the majority did, so they were happy to pay for my services.

After the first year, I felt ready to take this show full-time. I had a few clients in my pockets, some money set aside. It was time. And, at first, I loved it. I love the independence. Setting my schedule, meeting new people, all of the small business owner perks. But, like in any business, the slow period hit and I immediately panicked.

As I saw my bank account slowly start to dwindle, I went into fix-it mode, and my first reaction was I couldn't fail, and I needed financial security, so the hunt began for another full-time job, put my business on hold.

At first, I enjoy the new position. I made new friends and contacts. I was doing what I loved, but most of all, I was receiving the external validation I so desperately needed to keep my fear at bay. But my heart wasn't in it. It was in my business. Here lies the dilemma - I was so terrified to fail and be viewed as an imposter I chose to be miserable for another year plus.

Again, once the dry spell was over and my bank account was back in the plus, I decided to give Social Geek another shot full-time. I was over the moon to be heading into this newly formed freedom with larger clients and a boost to my confidence. It felt as though I was more robust than ever and moving in the right direction. Or was I?

Fast forward to the summer of 2021. The world is still suffering from a global pandemic, and our economy is toiling, causing many small businesses to fold. Social Geek is steady, but again we hit a slow period. What do I do? Panic, of course (feel free to insert your eye-roll here). I took another full-time position in the same field, and again, my business is in a holding pattern due to my fear, which feeds my imposter syndrome.

By now, you can see my pattern. When I'm met with even the slightest possibility of failure, I run in fear. Searching for external validation to soothe the internal narrative, I'm a fraud. But, it's not all bad. The cycle of fear was much shorter this time. It only took me about 6-months to finally check myself and understand I am my biggest roadblock. I need to get out of my way to succeed. When I finally really listened to myself and heard myself, I was blown away. But the lessons didn't stop there. I've also realized that FAILURE IS POSITIVE. Read that again.

Don't get me wrong, I know this path is not over, but I can say I have some killer tools in my pocket that will make the journey a bit easier. Stay tuned, as I'm sure I'll have more to share. But, if I can leave you with one realization - Feeling like an imposter is ok, just don't let it consume you with fear.

Much Love!

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