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4 Ways To Spot An Imposter In Your Business

Written by: Andrea Ryan, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


You’ve made the move, your business name is registered, you have a website, social media handles, a business plan outline, and a marketing idea, and you are ready to go!

Earth to you, what’s happening?

Why haven’t you said yes to that opportunity that has come your way?

Why haven’t you pressed publish on that blog post based on your expertise?

Why haven’t you completed that campaign and launched it?

Why do you think that I’m not good enough, I’m a fraud?

Want to know why? You have an imposter lurking in the ranks. Which one is it? The Superwoman? Perfectionist? Soloist? Natural Genius or The Expert?

Knowing who your imposter is and when they show up in your business is essential. We cannot function or run our business when paralyzed by fear, self-worth, and self-esteem issues.

So what is Imposter Syndrome?

Well Imposter Syndrome is the gap between who you are and who you think you need to succeed and lead. It shows up when someone like you, who usually is confident and successful, convinces yourself that you aren’t good enough and fear you will be ‘found out’ as a fraud – despite external evidence to the contrary.

Don’t worry; you’re not alone. In the latest research on Imposter Syndrome, it was found that the highest rates of Imposter Syndrome were solo business owners, for whom a shocking 82% stated they had experienced Imposter Syndrome ‘regularly’ or ‘daily’ in the past year.*

Imposter Syndrome triggers stress, fear, anxiety, and performance issues and affects relationships at home. You may recognize it as your actions, language, and behavior change to:

  • deflecting praise instead of accepting it

  • highlighting your faults and mistakes, especially in response to positive feedback

  • considering taking another qualification in ‘that area’ to feel finally ready

Not only does this behavior lead to missing out on opportunities, but it’s a costly form of procrastination, both for you and your business. It can lead to addictions and mental health issues, affecting productivity, how you show up in your business, and your bottom line.

So how can we spot the warning signs? How can you press publish that article you have just written?

Research shows that four key behavioral changes can be useful early warning signs. It is known as the 4P’s of Imposter Syndrome.

1. Perfectionism - you’re choosing to work much harder and longer hours, as though fighting or going to war with the project. This can lead to exhaustion, overwhelm, and mental health issues.

Try to deliberately own and celebrate your successes and achievements. Learn to see mistakes as an integral part of your success, taking them in stride and owning it.

2. Procrastination - you are convincing yourself that small actions have to be performed to complete the project, that you can’t move forward without them. You are subconsciously using ‘busyness’ to hide the fact that you’re not taking real action because that could lead to you being ‘found out.’

Try to optimize your environment, be aware of technology, such as your email that keeps pinging and your social media notifications. Put your phone in another room until you have completed your task. Use an app that allows you to focus. Remember where focus goes; energy flows!

3. Paralysis - you’re misleading others and yourself to hide the fact that you are avoiding a task. You are a ‘rabbit in the headlights,’ unable to move or take action on the task, worried that the result won’t be good enough.

Try to break things down into bitesize chunks, ask for help, and some of the best advice I have heard… just to start.

4. People Pleasing - you’re accepting work or saying yes to that deadline when you secretly wanted to say no. You’re trying to win favor by offering a discount on your service or product, for example, to feel like you belong.

Try to set some boundaries. Time block your day, allocating time to work on your business and for you. Stop apologizing for owning your time and being accountable for it and buy yourself time by not responding straight away, process it first, and then do what your gut tells you.

Ready to say yes to that opportunity now?

For more information, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and visit my website!


Andrea Ryan, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

I'm a transformational life and business coach for women. I support women to enable their journey of self-discovery and drive change through their personal journeys. Professionally I help female entrepreneurs align their mental and emotional journey with business guidance and mentorship. I have had a 15-year executive career, heading up business and marketing strategy, brand management, and leadership in the disability employment sector, sport, and as an award-winning business development director in a mental health Not for Profit. Spending three years on the Australian National Committee for UN Women as a Committee Member and as a consultant to Human Right start-ups, I am constantly seeking board and volunteer roles that offer me the opportunity to utilize my skills to give back and contribute to the wider community. Quoted in Marketing Magazine Australia as the 'Accidental Marketer,' I have a flair for the creative, which fuels my passion for supporting women to step into their power, thrive in their careers and become leaders who will instigate change to make this world a better place.



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