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How to Avoid Imposter Syndrome and Be a Successful Entrepreneur Why do some people achieve everything they want even when they aren't qualified while others struggle? It has to do with conveying confidence in one's communication. Here is how you can ensure you feel and appear confident.

By Kokab Rahman Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We've all heard plenty of stories of people pulling off incredible feats such as getting a job requiring top expertise despite not having the credentials, scammers getting top dollar investments in mere seconds of presentations or undeserving people succeeding in life when others were more qualified than them.

The success often had to do with the individuals' ability to portray confidence in their communication. They saw themselves as successful and worthy and could pull off remarkable acts. On the other hand, deserving entrepreneurs and professionals are not getting the opportunities they deserve because they don't have faith in themselves.

These entrepreneurs doubt what they do and suffer from imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome, also called perceived fraudulence, refers to an internal experience of self-doubt and is the act of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. Self-doubt plagues those with imposter syndrome and affects their performance and success. They ask themselves the following questions:

  • "Am I good enough?"
  • "Is the product good enough?"
  • "Am I expert enough?"
  • "Do I deserve this opportunity?"
  • "Am I entitled to charge this rate?"

The result of imposter syndrome is often that people earn less than they deserve, or worse, they back off from opportunities because they think themselves unworthy. These consequences are not the main problem but are symptoms of the problem. The actual problem is the inability to see oneself as successful. As the famous quote by Suzy Kassem says, "doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will."

Related: 10 Successful Leaders Share Their Struggles with Imposter Syndrome and How to Overcome It

Stop failing to see yourself as the professional and successful person you are

To be successful, a person needs to see themselves as successful. To be professionally motivated, one needs to see themselves as a professional. How a person sees themselves determines how they act and perform.

If you don't see yourself as successful, you won't have the confidence required to perform with confidence. You'll be second-guessing everything you do. You will carry yourself without an air of confidence that is needed for success. Your communication and interaction with staff, clients, prospects and future investors will show this.

"You are what you believe yourself to be," said Paulo Coelho. When you see yourself as successful or as a professional or an expert, you can portray yourself as one. You can communicate your worth with confidence. "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, either way, you are right," said Henry Ford.

When you believe in your product, service or idea, you can confidently talk about it — and sell it. Other people are unaware of someone's abilities or an idea's potential. It is the cues they get through communication that guide their response.

Related: 12 Leaders, Entrepreneurs and Celebrities Who Have Struggled With Imposter Syndrome

How you see yourself has a lot to do with the information you are feeding yourself

Many entrepreneurs were considered arrogant, including Steve Jobs. In fact, entrepreneurs need that high level of confidence or "arrogance" to overcome the unknown territories that come with entrepreneurship.

"At the heart of arrogance lies a rich source of courage and strength. It takes arrogance in the form of wild self-belief to start your own company. It takes arrogance in the form of radical creativity to try something new, bold, and rule-shattering. It takes arrogance to stay the course when the challenges overwhelm," writes Kris Franken.

If your surroundings are eating away at this confidence, you are setting yourself up for failure. What goes in tends to come out. If you internalize confidence and professionalism, you will portray it. On the other hand, if you internalize negativity, you will portray self-doubt, a lack of confidence and low self-worth. All of these things affect success and motivation.

For these reasons, it's essential to ensure the following 3 points so you can realize the success you deserve and be motivated to go after your dreams.

1. Dress for success. How you look and what you wear are simple steps that many entrepreneurs overlook, especially those who work from home or don't have a regular office routine. You might think you can wear anything you like because no one sees you. This is wrong. Dressing and looking well is vital to your motivation.

When you work from home, and at your own pace, your dress and daily self-care routine are more important than when you have an office job because your motivation depends on them. Dressing as a professional allows you to see yourself as the professional you are. Self-care enables you to see yourself as worthy since looks are known to affect confidence.

On the other hand, dressing in unprofessional attire, regardless of job location, will make you see yourself as unprofessional and negatively impact motivation and future performance. Whether you're looking for work or clients for your business, job searches are a job in itself, and you need to dress as a professional to succeed.

Related: Why You Still Have to Dress for Success

2. Avoid negativity and toxic environments. Negative feedback will affect your self-worth, whether from online sources or in relationships. Negativity eats at a person's confidence and self-worth while gradually finishing off a person's abilities and drive.

When you don't see yourself as worthy, you won't have the motivation to pursue the opportunities you deserve. Negativity includes doubt from family members, arguments, and acquaintances' belittling attitudes toward you or your ideas. Even seeing other people's online content showing effortless success — which can make a person see themselves as incompetent — reduces motivation.

3. Surround yourself with other professionals, experts and successful individuals, preferably in professional events. Regularly communicating with and meeting with other professionals allows you to see yourself as a professional. This is especially effective in professional settings like at professional events. This positive sensory fills you with energy and affects your drive and motivation. On the other hand, when you isolate yourself from professional settings, you start seeing yourself as a layperson. This can put a person on the path to becoming unsuccessful.

So, for the motivation and drive necessary to progress on the path to success, you must surround yourself with positive information to enhance self-worth and combat imposter syndrome.

Related: Imposter Syndrome in the Boardroom: How Executives Handle Self-Doubt

Kokab Rahman

Business Growth Strategist / Career Advisor

Kokab Rahman is a business and career strategist, and founder of Radeya Global. She has written articles and books on skills development, business and career. Her books include titles like "Self-Help for Entrepreneurs and People Working from Home" and "Accounting for Beginners," available on Amazon.

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