When I started Rektio Accounting three years ago, I felt like I could conquer the world. The business grew rapidly. We were knocking it out of the park for clients. But I couldn’t shake the feeling of insecurity. Like most entrepreneurs or CEOs who enjoy a hint of success, self-doubt creeps in. Can I REALLY do this? Am I capable of managing a business AND staff? Maybe this is too big of a risk.

That feeling of being not being good enough despite big success is common. It’s called Imposter Syndrome. Seventy percent of people will experience at least one episode of Imposter Syndrome in their lives, according to a report by the International Journal of Behavioral Science.

In a cruel twist of fate, when people, such as executives or business owners, move up in their field or area of expertise, they are even more prone to this ideation. Being in the company of those even more accomplished increases that “imposter” vibe for many of us.

Even superstars aren’t exempt. In an interview about winning an Academy Award for “The Accused” in 1988, actress Jodie Foster said, “I thought it was a big fluke. I thought everybody would find out, and then they’d take the Oscar back.”

Impostor Syndrome tends to impact those who have overcome odds and worked incredibly hard to earn their success.

So, how can we slay this dragon? Here are a few insights from my personal experience with Imposter Syndrome:

Power through your failures and mistakes. This is a big challenge. For those of us with Imposter Syndrome, mistakes or failures confirm all those negative thoughts that keep us up at night. I will never be comfortable with failing at something, but I’m rebounding quicker from frustration to review and reset. Failure often shakes things up and gets us out of comfort zones where we’ve stayed much too long.  It tests who we are as leaders. Use the opportunity to get stronger, not feel defeated.

Own your success. YOU EARNED IT. Period. Isn’t the very nature of someone who starts their own business that of a maverick? The person who is not afraid to take the road less traveled and turns a deaf ear to the naysayers and soldiers on in the face of adversity? Remember who you are. Write it down if necessary.

Use your network. Mentors and trusted colleagues are invaluable. They know how hard you’ve worked to achieve success. Lean on them for support and encouragement when you hit a mental wall of insecurity.

Embrace the “Imposter Spirit.” It’s impossible to feel like an impostor once you accept that everyone else is an impostor in some way. We all have insecurities. We’ve all failed at some point. It’s not exclusive. Greatness is not a special gift given to an appointed group. It is earned – every day – by those with grit and hunger to work hard and persevere. We all have the same amount of hours in a day. Continue to set and achieve YOUR goals. Keep your focus on what you can do with your time and talent, not what success appears to look like for others.

I believe those of us who struggle with Imposter Syndrome can take comfort in the fact that we even have this challenge. It indicates a humble spirit. A person with doubt suggests a person with determination and a willingness to work hard toward continuous improvement.

So, don’t believe the lies. You’re doing great. Keep pushing!

Rex Biggs is owner and president of Rektio Accounting, which provides bookkeeping and accounting services to businesses in Indianapolis and surrounding areas.

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