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Impostor Syndrome and Your Biggest Work from Home Challenge

Impostor syndrome affects even the most successful but overcome it for a whole new world of opportunity

People ask me what the most difficult part of getting started working from home is and how to overcome it. They usually think it’s something like creating a perfect work at home idea or finding clients. They’re nearly always surprised when I tell them it’s not something in their business plan or how hard they work but their own confidence in themselves.

It’s called the impostor syndrome and it’s something that almost all successful people, whether home-based or no, have to deal with at some point.

Overcoming impostor syndrome isn’t something you can be taught or something that will happen instantly but doing it will open up a whole new world of success. Get over your insecurities and that nagging little voice and you’ll be able to accomplish anything.

What is the Impostor Syndrome?

The impostor syndrome can affect anyone but it’s most common in ambitious people taking the risk of entrepreneurship or those trying to succeed as experts in their field. It’s a little nagging voice in your head saying, “Hey, what makes you so special? What makes you an expert, able to give other people advice about something?”

People affected by impostor syndrome are paralyzed into doing nothing. They either spend too much time learning their trade and never actually get started or they let the fear of failure keep them from even getting started planning.

The idea of the impostor syndrome has been studied since the 70’s and is more common than you’d think. Studies have found that about 70% of people feel like an impostor at one point or another…and I think the other 30% just aren’t doing anything in the first place to feel like an impostor.

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

It’s natural to question your abilities and maybe a little helpful. If you had complete and unshakeable confidence in your skill level, there would be no drive to improvement. I run five blogs on everything from personal finance to crowdfunding and have published seven books. Every time I publish another book, I worry that it’s not good enough or what people will say when they read it.

impostor syndrome work from homeThat worry drives me to make sure I put everything I can into each book and each blog post.

But you also can’t let the worry or fear of failure keep you from just getting things done. I’ve talked to people with great business ideas that spent so long planning that they got frustrated and tired before they even got started. Spending months developing your work from home idea with no compensation leaves little to motivate you to keep going.

I’ve heard the advice, “fake it until you make it,” frequently. The idea that you consciously put on a display of being an expert until you actually are one. I don’t like the idea because it sounds like you’re not accepting your own worth, like accepting you’re a fraud but believing the lie will become reality eventually.

Instead of believing you are a fraud or not ready, write out a plan to get the skills you need then believe in yourself that you’ve done what’s necessary. Sit down and list out a couple of books on the subject and a couple of authority websites. Spend a month reading and learning everything you can and then get started on your own idea. One of the best resources I’ve found is video courses on Udemy. For less than $50 you can get hours of video instruction into a topic. Books on Amazon Kindle are usually a good deal as well, costing much less than traditional printed books.

Will you know as much as someone in the industry for years? Of course not but you’ll know a lot more than the average person and that knowledge will have value, enough to get started.

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It also helps to put it in perspective by looking at other experts. Nobody ever knows everything about a topic and even the ‘gurus’ get critiqued at times. Dr. Oz has over ten million followers on Facebook and Twitter alone, and that’s not counting the tens of millions that tune in to his health and wellness show. He’s regularly ridiculed in the news and on talk shows for some of his endorsements.

Dave Ramsey is one of the most followed personal finance experts through his radio show, website and books. Some of the criticism I’ve seen from other financial planners against Ramsey borders on pure hatred.

You think these guys are worried about a few people questioning their expertise or saying they’re frauds? Maybe on the way to the bank to cash their million-dollar checks?

You’re always going to have people question your expertise. If you start to question your own worth, you’ll defeat everything for which you’ve worked so hard.

Learning from Failure to Beat Impostor Syndrome

Maybe it’s a little cliché but one of the best ways to overcome impostor syndrome is just to stop looking at failure as a failure. Most failures aren’t a big deal and you never know until you just do it. I first typed ‘until you try’ there but then had Yoda in my head saying, “There is no try, only do or do not.” I’m such a Star Wars nerd.

I’ve published books that have done almost nothing. I’ve gotten hate mail after blog posts. My favorite was one with just a few misspelled expletives suggesting I just give up and hide in a closet for the rest of my life. The best criticism is one from which you can learn something but a lot of times it’s just someone with their own issues.

Go after your work from home dream and you will face impostor syndrome but you can’t let it stop you from getting started. Understanding what it is and recognizing those little voices when they come up will help you defeat it. Make it a point to continuously improve your skills and you’ve got nothing to worry about. Enjoy your success and know that you deserve it!

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