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Imposter Syndrome

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

I'm sorry, I don't know what imposter syndrome is.

The other day I attended an international meeting. It was time for the inspirational speech and we were all intrigued to find out who the entrepreneur woman was, so she... showed up and explained her background and more. It was time for questions and answers and one of the first questions was... Have you ever suffered from impostor syndrome? And she replied that she did not understand the question. The moderator translated the question into Spanish, and she kept saying that she did not understand. It was not a linguistic issue. I just didn't know the term. At first, I was surprised, how could an entrepreneur and a woman not know what the impostor syndrome was... but then I liked the idea. Perhaps she did not know and was not even aware of it because she had never suffered from it.

It is possible that the entrepreneur woman had never experienced imposter syndrome and therefore did not understand the question. Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud". Not everyone experiences this feeling, and it is not uncommon for people to be unfamiliar with the term

Impostor syndrome is a common experience among entrepreneurs, including women entrepreneurs. Starting a business can be a challenging and uncertain process, and entrepreneurs often face many obstacles and setbacks along the way. Women entrepreneurs may face additional barriers and biases related to their gender, including a lack of access to funding or support, stereotypes about women's abilities and leadership styles, and a lack of representation in certain industries or fields. These challenges can contribute to feelings of self-doubt and imposter syndrome.

Research has shown that women entrepreneurs are more likely than men to experience imposter syndrome and to attribute their successes to external factors rather than their own abilities. However, it is important to recognize that imposter syndrome can affect anyone, regardless of gender or background, and that it is a common experience among many entrepreneurs, both men and women. Recognizing and addressing imposter syndrome can be an important part of building confidence and resilience as an entrepreneur. This can include seeking support from mentors, peers, or a therapist, practicing self-compassion, and reframing negative thoughts and self-talk.

Here are some strategies that can help women entrepreneurs stop the impostor syndrome:

  1. Recognize and acknowledge the feelings: Acknowledging the feelings of self-doubt and imposter syndrome can be the first step in overcoming them. When these feelings arise, try to notice them and remind yourself that they are normal and do not define your worth or abilities.

  2. Reframe negative self-talk: Pay attention to the negative self-talk that may be contributing to imposter syndrome and try to reframe these thoughts in a more positive and realistic way. For example, instead of thinking "I don't deserve this success," try thinking "I worked hard for this and I am capable of achieving more."

  3. Seek support and validation: Surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people, such as mentors, peers, or a therapist, who can help validate your accomplishments and remind you of your strengths.

  4. Set realistic expectations: Set realistic and achievable goals for yourself and celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem.

  5. Practice self-compassion: Be kind and compassionate to yourself, and avoid comparing yourself to others or holding yourself to unrealistic standards. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and experiences setbacks, and these are opportunities for growth and learning.

By implementing these strategies, women entrepreneurs can overcome feelings of self-doubt and imposter syndrome and build confidence and resilience in their entrepreneurial journeys.

Impostor syndrome is a common psychological pattern in which individuals doubt their abilities and feel like they are frauds, despite evidence to the contrary. It is particularly prevalent among high-achieving individuals, including women and entrepreneurs. Impostor syndrome can be detrimental to one's mental health and can hold individuals back from achieving their full potential.

However, overcoming impostor syndrome, such as recognizing and acknowledging the feelings, reframing negative self-talk, seeking support and validation, setting realistic expectations. By implementing these strategies, individuals can build confidence, overcome self-doubt, and achieve their goals.

Written by Munllonch

Sources :

  1. Clance, P. R., & Imes, S. A. (1978). The imposter phenomenon in high achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 15(3), 241-247.

  2. Parkman, A. M., & King, E. B. (2017). The imposter phenomenon in new venture founders and its relationship with entrepreneurial intention. Journal of Business Venturing, 32(6), 682-705.

  3. Goshit, A. R., & Kusumasari, B. (2019). Overcoming impostor syndrome: Factors affecting self-efficacy and entrepreneurship intentions in women-owned businesses. Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, 22(2), 1-10.

  4. Thompson, A., & Kim, H. (2020). The relationship between imposter syndrome and entrepreneurial intentions among women entrepreneurs. Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, 23(4), 1-10.

  5. Ewing, J. D. (2018). Imposter syndrome: Overcoming the fear that haunts your success. Entrepreneur.

  6. Deluzio, C. (2020). The imposter syndrome and women entrepreneurs. Forbes.

  7. Sharfstein, R. (2020). The imposter syndrome: How women entrepreneurs can overcome self-doubt. Inc.


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