May 24, 2017

When I first heard about Imposter Syndrome, I was like, hey, that's totally me! You see, my mantra in life has been "fake it til you make it". And while I don't fake things I know I can't do, I may overly project my actual skills or capabilities.

What is imposter syndrome? It's essentially pretending you're better at something that you really are. Whether to make yourself look better, land that new client, get that promotion, impress that new date... you get the point. But always being afraid that someone will figure out you're not really what you said you were. You can Wikipedia the whole concept here.

I've done this in my corporate jobs, and yes, with Jenn's Trends. It's not lying, per se. It's more of an enhanced conviction that I have the experience or capacity to complete a task or job. But, you know what, I come through - every time! Even though I was always worried I fall on my face (maybe literally) or that someone would question my ability and expose me for the lack of experience I really had.

Some of this can be a self confidence issue. Personally, I've written over 150 blog posts on the topic of Instagram marketing alone. I'm a sought after expert on the topic. People pay me money for my advice and strategic support. And yet sometimes I stop and wonder why on Earth anyone would listen to lil ol me. Who the hell am I to be telling business owners how to run their accounts?

Yes, I've actually asked myself those questions numerous times. Not because I question my knowledge or the value I provide to my clients or audience, but because sometimes I genuinely don't believe that I "deserve" to be the one to do it.

Another way I am (and most everyone on social media is) guilty of imposter syndrome is overly confidently showcasing our lives. The perfect photos, staged events, carefully selected outfits, well-crafted captions, and constant updates of success and positivity in our lives. I'm calling bull shit on all of it, because it is! My desk is never that clean. My selfies are filtered and edited so my skin looks flawless - which it is NOT! My life is great (it really is) but it's also full of crappy moments and a whole lot of chaos. Running a business is not easy nor glamorous, no matter what it is you do.

No one's life is as perfect as it appears on social media. You know that.

But businesses fall into these same traps of "faking it". Making it look like they're more successful than they are. Hyping up experience to sound more extensive than it really is. It's not wrong - it's marketing 😉 And we all do it.

Small businesses and entrepreneurs are even more affected by this desire to look perfect and successful. We have our livelihood riding on the success of our business and so we try that much harder, look that much better, try so hard to be perfect for everyone who might find us.

Every post on social media is carefully selected - the best photo, the best caption, the best call-to-action - all serving the ultimate end goal of your strategy.

And you know what? This is what I preach and teach to each and every one of my clients and blog readers and people sitting in a live session. Because, yes, you should be doing all these things - creating the best possible content for your brand.


What if every now and then, you mixed in just a little more authenticity.

I'm not saying sharing a crappy photo that violates your brand style. I'm not saying to record a video with horrible audio that no one will listen too. We still have to have standards in our authenticity 😉

But honestly, I'm asking you, as a brand, to embrace your flaws. Just a little bit. Talk about your struggles. Share your fears. Explain challenges you've overcome. Be passionate - even if it means a rant. Let your hands flail or your facial expressions illuminate your face. Stumble over your words or share a bad joke - if that's what you're known for in real life. Show the real office space you work in - not the cleaned up desk and pretty flowers.

This is why I love live videos. You can script, and plan, and prepare. But real life happens on live video and that's where your audience gets to see who you really are - fumbles, stumbles, and all!

When you break down those walls of perfection and show your audience who you really are, what you really have to say, what you're really like, all of a sudden, people are flocking to work with you. And not just any random people, but the right people. The people who love you for who you are and what your brand is really all about.

We're all guilty of imposter syndrome. But you're not an imposter. You're a hard working, dedicated, educated, experienced business person who people really do want to hear from. They want to work with you. And they want to know who you really are. Embrace that!

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. jenn, i love this article. authenticity is so important on social & i think you nailed that. but i also think that “imposter syndrome” is less about pretending you’re better than you are (“faking it” or talking yourself up more tha you should) and more about thinking you’re not as good as you actually are 🙂 which, like you said, you relate to (and I CERTAINLY do)!

    1. Thanks Maggie! I think a lot of us can relate to this and while I’m not “glad” you do, because I’m sure you’re amazing at what you do, I am glad you can relate and I hope this helps you see that a little more clearly. Keep on being your authentic self!

  2. Hey Jenn, I couldn’t agree more. I would say that balance is the most important here. In order to remain your reputation in the professional community, you sometimes have to disguise your emotions, skills, or knowledge. But if you are hiding something that is way out of the person you are, it will soon be discovered. All of us exist behind the personas we created for our business life. And if you break them, and share your imperfections and insecurities from time to time, you get right to the people. Because you are human.

    1. Thanks Dajana! You’re right, we all hide to an extent – I think we do that in all aspects of our life 😉 But, showing that vulnerability and exposure into our real personality can definitely build bridges with our audiences.

  3. In general, I enjoy your posts and find them very helpful. In the case of this post, you seem to be off the mark about what “impostor syndrome” actually is. You define it as “What is imposter syndrome? It’s essentially pretending you’re better at something that you really are. ” In other words, projecting greater abilities than you know yourself to have – “fake it till you make it”.

    Check the Wiki you linked. They define it as ” a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. ” In other words, an accomplished person who questions their own skills and worries about being “found out”.
    They seem very different to me.

    1. Hi Mahin! Thank you for calling me out on that confusing definition. You’re right and I knew that when I wrote it that it might be confusing.
      Yes, the definition as outlined by Wikipedia is true to what imposter syndrome is. I don’t deny that. In fact, I totally agree with it. Personally, as mentioned, I totally fall into this category. I constantly feel like I’m faking it til I make it – even though I am qualified and substantiated in my training and expertise (in multiple aspects of my career). That was my tie in. I realize they aren’t the same thing but they are related. And I think many business owners can relate to both aspects so I embraced them both in the context of this article.

  4. It’s funny because as authentic and raw as I aim to be when I post about my weight loss journey, sometimes I go back and read my captions and think “wow I should really take my own advice” LOL! As much as I’ve improved with breaking out of my shell in terms of things like posting before photos, mid workout and makeup free stuff (stories are great for this) and being open in my captions with things I’m insecure about but have never really brought to others’ attention, sometimes I brush things off like a small weight gain in my captions saying “but that’s okay!” In reality I’m devastated. My goal for this week is o follow your advice and remember to give myself a pat on the back and that I did work hard! Great post!! Very relatable for many 🙂

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