They Think You’re Successful, But You’re Not Feeling It

You are not an imposter!

If you’re a rising professional woman, or a successful woman already, then you’ve probably heard of imposter syndrome. It’s that state of mind where you’re afraid that you don’t deserve the success you’ve achieved. You’re afraid someone’s going to find out that you’re not as competent and smart as you appear.

Lately I’ve been hearing murmurings of something similar, but not quite.

It’s a new flavor of imposter syndrome that just as disturbing. The inner feeling that you really are not as successful as you look.

This Different Type of Imposter Syndrome Can Be Just As Damaging!

The only reason I know it exists is because, as a business coach to some pretty successful business-owning women, I hear the concerns that don’t always get aired. These women have accepted that they are players. They are respected actors on the scene and their work is valuable and sought after. They network at events, give speeches about their expertise, and they’re the ones people go to to “pick” a knowledgeable brain.

I’m going to say something now that may get me in trouble with some people, but it’s the truth as I know it, and I feel it must be shared…

This “little sister” to imposter syndrome usually falls to the women who A. Genuinely want to help others, and B. Don’t charge enough for their services.

They are out there over-delivering every day of the week, and to the observer, they are Da Bomb They walk their talk, they totally know their stuff, everyone who works with them is blown away by their competence and professionalism, not to mention their unbelievable value. The key word here is Value. You want to be a great “value”, you just don’t want to be a “bargain.” Two totally different things!

The little sister to imposter syndrome belongs to the women who dress up and show up, but don’t feel the rewards of success. The difference is that these women feel empowered, able and ready, but their income, and recognition don’t match the value they regularly deliver to their clients.

I often wonder at this. It’s different for everyone who feels this, but if you can relate to this feeling, then I want to run through some factors that may be at work in your psyche.

Over-Achieving Women Can  Tackle This Head On…

Raising rates is an easy enough fix, yet many female entrepreneurs don’t do it.

One simple way to give yourself permission to raise your rates to reflect your work’s value is to do a simple comparison of services by others in the industry. A quick look at what other firms are getting for the same (or lesser) work should remedy the mindset that tells you to play smaller in the income arena.

Another factor that stands in the way of you feeling successful could be the uncanny way we women compare ourselves with others. It’s a “gift” that comes from our connectedness, and I don’t fault women for feeling it acutely. I only recommend seeing your successes in the real world, and not through the lens of social media or hear-say.

Look at the world we live in. Most businesses on Facebook (Fakebook) are trumpeting all their good news as if the sun is always shining, the cash is always flowing, and the clients are always delighted. How many entrepreneurs post that they pulled an all-nighter on a project that they undercharged for? You never see that!

We all know that comparison is the thief of joy, but it’s difficult not to feel it in our bones as we view others’ seemingly effortless accomplishments. I wish we could all just stop that, but I also know that marketing involves keeping a happy face.

Here’s the thing: just know that you are not alone. No one’s life and business is perfect. Please, let that sink in!

success defined for the "imposter"

I have another thought about that, and how it can lead one to feeling less than the success you truly deserve.

When you know you do great work and your clients and customers see results or love your products, take stock in that genuine appreciation and find ways to leverage it. Also — this is so important! — recognize that everyone can and should define success in their own unique way.   

One of the tenets I teach is to define success so you, and you alone, recognize it when you see it. (We explore a lot of ground around this concept in my 6-figure business class.)

You own your business, now own your feelings.

For example, you may be happily married to your supportive love of your life, and enjoy all the benefits of that situation, AND be comparing yourself to the single mother with no social life who guns it hard because she has to, and rarely tears herself away from work. Would you really trade your life for hers? Careful what you wish for.

Or… you could be inadvertently comparing yourself to someone who secretly hates what she does, but suits up and goes through the motions every day to maintain a standard of living she can’t or won’t relinquish. You, on the other hand, genuinely love your work and your clients; work doesn’t even feel like work. Again, would you trade?

If you are not delivering results, then you probably should not feel entitled to the feeling of “success” until you do. However, if you are walking the talk and doing good in the world through your business, I urge you to take another look. Don’t let the imposter syndrome or any niggling feelings of self-lack take root.

I’m not saying to settle for good enough. If you need to beef up your marketing so that you are closing more sales and getting the right eyeballs on your offer, then put the time and money into that. And if you need to change your business plan to include products that satisfy more people, then work on that. There is always work you can do to become better.

Just don’t let yourself stay too long in a place where you are not feeling successful even though others see you that way. You know in your gut whether you are doing work that matters, and whether it fits into your life and dreams. You are not stuck into any one career path or business.

You are a creative entrepreneur who can change course and go after your dreams, wherever they lead you. This is why I love working with women. Women get this.

If you really look more closely, you may find that defining your version of success and planning a path to get there, is the best way to achieve real happiness.

Want to chat about success a bit more? I’d love to hear your views on this subject that has touched so many people I work with! Tune into the next blab and let’s go there! Want to get started in a business course designed for you?

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