I hear a lot of VAs talk about having imposter syndrome. They feel like they don’t know what they’re doing, that their skills aren’t good enough to charge money, or that they need to be an expert to help clients.
If you have similar feelings, it’s ok. It’s perfectly normal. You’re normal.
Imposter syndrome is a crippling feeling that can hold you back from launching and growing your VA business if you’re not aware of what’s going on.
DEALING WITH IMPOSTER SYNDROME AS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
So, first off, what exactly is imposter syndrome? Is it when someone feels like a fraud?
That’s what I used to think, but I’ve discovered that it entails many different feelings, not just feeling like a fraud.
Imposter syndrome is the persistent feeling of doubting your abilities and believing you’re a fraud despite your achievements or successes.
While it’s not an official mental health disorder, imposter syndrome can be debilitating, making your life and business more difficult than they should be.
SOME EXAMPLES OF IMPOSTER SYNDROME:
- Comparing yourself to other VAs and feeling not good enough or experienced enough
- Feeling like you need to be an expert or know everything before you can help any clients
- Constantly feeling like you’re not the right VA for your clients
- Feeling inadequate, no matter your skill level or accomplishments
- Feeling uncomfortable when clients give you praise or compliments because you feel like you don’t deserve it
- Fearing that you won’t meet other people’s expectations
Are you an introvert like me? If so, listen up…
Introverts are likelier to suffer from imposter syndrome than extroverts because we tend to be deep thinkers, analyzers, and feelers who internalize more often than not.
We also have the habit of being our own worst critics since we live inside our heads. #introvertproblems
As introverts, we need to be aware of this to be more mindful of our thoughts and kick imposter syndrome to the curb before it stops us from pursuing the things most important to us.
But how do you overcome such a thing? How exactly do you kick imposter syndrome to the curb?
Well, there are many different techniques, but some of my favorites are to
- Be self-aware. When you have feelings of fear and doubt, acknowledge them. Don’t judge yourself or beat yourself up. Remember, it’s normal to have these feelings.
- Journal your feelings. Where are these thoughts coming from? Are you triggered by a new experience or opportunity, like working with your first client? Were you criticized by a parent or teacher for making mistakes when you were young? When we stop and think about the cause or source of the thought, it can shed light on the situation. For example, it’s common to feel like an imposter when doing something new. It’s also common to realize you’re hard on yourself because someone else was when you were growing up.
- Change a negative thought into a positive one. Let’s say you launched your business, and you don’t want to look for clients because you feel your skills are lacking. Instead of feeling inadequate and hiding, you could replace your negative thoughts with something more positive, like, “My skills are good enough and can help many people. There are also people out there who are willing to train me.”
COMMON IMPOSTER SYNDROME SIGNS IN VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS:
I’ve been mentoring introverted VAs for a few years now, and I hear similar concerns pop-up all the time. The following are some common imposter syndrome signs I see regularly and my 2 cents on each topic.
SCENARIO 1 – I’m scared to get started as a VA, and I’m overthinking everything! So much that I’m paralyzed to move forward with my business!
My best advice for overthinking is to take action. Just jump in. Get outta your head. Things will go the way they are supposed to. Leave perfectionism behind. It can really hinder your growth. I’m always working on letting go of perfectionism. It can be uncomfortable but also very freeing!!
The fear of the unknown is debilitating! But you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish even though you don’t feel ready. Take baby steps and keep going.
SCENARIO 2 – I’m not an expert! How can I help clients if I don’t know everything?
I know it’s scary to get out of your comfort zone and do something you’ve never done before, but you can do it! The more experience you get, the more confident you’ll feel about your abilities and skills.
Sometimes you only need to know a little more than your client. You can always beef up your skills as you’re assisting clients. And sometimes, with a little research, you can learn a skill really quickly! 😉
The best medicine is to keep moving ahead. And also, remember the following:
There are people out there who need your help and want to work with someone like you!
SCENARIO 3 – I’m scared I won’t meet my clients’ expectations. How do I move past this?
Look, we are our own worst critics. Do the best you can every day. If that’s not good enough for your clients, then you’re probably not a good fit. Remember, it doesn’t only depend on what your client thinks of you and your work. Your opinion matters too. Sometimes clients are not the right ones for us, and you’ll need to learn to recognize it so you can move on.
SCENARIO 4 – Why would someone hire me when there are more qualified VAs out there?
Because there’s nobody like you. Some people will hire you because of your personality and kindness and train you if you don’t have the skills. (Although I’m sure you already have tons of skills!)
Remember, imposter syndrome can affect anyone regardless of gender, race, social status, education, or skill level. In fact, almost everyone has experienced it at least once in their lifetime. If you think seasoned VAs out there don’t have it, think again. It happens to almost everyone at every stage in life and business. It also happens to tons of successful people, like authors, celebrities, engineers, you name it.
👉 If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome and need more support, I created a training called The Introvert’s Guide to Imposter Syndrome that’s available inside my membership, the Introvert VA Club. It’s the ultimate guide to handling imposter syndrome as a Virtual Assistant.
We also have an amazing community of VAs who are always happy to support you, give feedback, or lift your spirits whenever you need it, especially when imposter syndrome rears its ugly head.
I hope that I was able to shed light on this topic and that you’re able to recognize what imposter syndrome really is, which is lies. The more adept you become at identifying those lies, the faster you can squash those feelings and move into a more positive place.