Overcoming Imposter Syndrome


the blog

by sarah elrod

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You know that old saying “fake it until you make it”, well that is exactly what Imposter Syndrome feels like.

Imposter syndrome is this idea of feeling like you don’t belong. You are out of place or that someone might call your bluff. We are almost convinced that we are pretending to be something we are not. 

Imposter syndrome is something you might find yourself doing in your business or even your everyday life. It attacks your confidence. Even the most successful people can get caught in its deadly path. Imposter syndrome is purely psychological and has nothing to do with your qualifications. However, it can be detrimental to your mental health and give you feelings of not being good enough. 

If you ever said to yourself “who do I think I am?” you may have experienced imposter syndrome. This can come in many forms of “i’m not old enough” or “i’m not strong enough” or “i’m not skilled enough” “smart enough” the list can go on forever…..

So today I want to share with you some of my own personal experiences with Imposter syndrome, how I overcame it, and what I do anytime it’s ugly head appears in my current day to day life. I want to also give you the tools necessary to overcome this mindset in your own life and business. 

It’s time to get that self doubt out of our brains and actually go for the things we want without feeling guilty. 

My hope is that after reading this post you are able to recognize when Imposter syndrome is creeping into your life and start the process of working through it. 

You will also learn:

  • Why failure is not a scary thing
  • Making your own decisions without feeling pressure to prove something to everyone

My Own Experience With Imposter Syndrome

There are so many ways of which Imposter syndrome can appear but in my own experience it always had to do with my career choices. I always struggled with telling people what I did for a living. 

Anytime someone would ask me “What do you do”? I would shrivel up and my voice would get shaky and I immediately started making these weird excuses for myself. I would say things like “oh I am just a photographer and a horse trainer” key word being “just”. It’s as if I felt like I had this weird fluffy job that no one would take seriously so instead of saying it with confidence I would just present it in a way that shielded my heart from any negative remarks. 

Even to this day telling someone I am a brand and marketing coach for small businesses is a weird feeling. I always catch myself thinking, “Am I qualified to be doing this? I don’t have a business degree? Who do I think I am giving out business advice to?”

It’s a very vulnerable feeling and if you have ever experienced this then you know exactly what I am talking about. 

Now, I am not a mother yet but I could see this being a thing for stay at home moms as well. Women saying “oh I am just a stay at home mom, I don’t do much” LIKE WHAT??? I’m sorry but do you realize you are working a full time freaking job with no pay??? All that cooking, and cleaning and diaper changing, ugh. I used to babysit kids for a few hours a day and would get exhausted. I cannot imagine that being life 24/7 – shoutout to all the moms because you guys are saints. 

Why Do We Feel Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome stems from insecurity and worrying about what other people might think of us. Especially as business owners because think about it. The world is very comfortable with corporate jobs, and straight line kind of things. Go to school, then college, then get into a 9-5 job. Now let me just say that if that is the life you want there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. A lot of people need or enjoy that structure. I would be lying if I said I didn’t crave it sometimes. But as entrepreneurs we have always had this dream of something more. More flexibility, more time freedom, and so on.

It can be easy to feel like the world is against entrepreneurship and the big dreamers. The ones who take a different path in life. We feel it so deeply that it can even stop us from pursuing the things we want in life. I have definitely held myself back before by thinking “oh someone has already done this before so I probably wouldn’t succeed at it”.

Women feel imposter syndrome very deeply. Oftentimes a lot more than men do. Why is this? As women, we are trained to compare ourselves to everyone else. We are constantly comparing our bodies, clothing, lifestyle, etc.

We also take on this unrealistic expectation that we need to be doing all the things perfectly. The perfect wife, mom, career woman, and daughter. It’s almost comical when you really think about it. Men think of everything so simply.

Step one of overcoming Imposter Syndrome is to recognize where it is present in your life. Take a moment to really digest this and be honest with yourself. Where do you feel it the most?

Stop Being Afraid Of Failing

The next thing you need to do is to understand that failing is a normal part of life and being a business owner. The fear of failure is why a lot of people do not do what they want to do or why they can feel the presence of Imposter Syndrome. 

The next time you are afraid of something, or you are fearful of failing or something not going right, please know that Fear is not from God. 

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”

Isn’t that amazing to know that we never need to be afraid of anything because God is handling it all. God has this greater more grand purpose for us and all we have to do is put our trust in him and he will take all that fear off of us.

Own What You Do

Think about your title whether that be a stay at home mom, a photographer, a rancher, a horse trainer, a fashion guru, a graphic designer, a podcaster, a boutique owner, etc. OWN IT. 

Do not add any little details saying oh I am just a beginner, or I am just a small little side hustle. Nope. None of that. You are what you are…period. 

The truth is no matter where you are in your career or business, you have a title. And you should acknowledge that! Don’t tell yourself “If I make 6 figures then I will be successful” or “Once I buy that super fancy camera, THEN I will be a professional photographer” because that doesn’t have to be true.  

Now the next time someone asks you what you do I want you to tell them straight up and say it with your shoulders back and a smile on your face. Confidence my friend. 

And sure, there may be someone who cracks a remark about how “cute” that is, but you can just do an inner eye roll and move on. Because deep down you know that you are making moves in your life that they will never understand and that is okay.

Take The Pressure Off

If you are feeling pressured or influenced by others to do something that you don’t want to do, maybe in business you see a lot of your peers doing something that doesn’t appeal to you but you think you need to do it. For example, a lot of photographers are stepping into the education space, but that doesn’t mean you have to. If you like just being a photographer then be the best dang photographer you want to be. 

It is also a good idea to go to the people that are closest to you and let them know when you are feeling like a fraud. Get reassurance from the people who support you and lift you up. I know this might feel a little weird, but when the people who know us best can compliment our hard work and give us a little ego boost, that can go a long way in how we move forward in our business or life. 

Understanding That You Don’t Have To Know It All

In order to be deemed a professional in your industry you do not have to know everything about everything. I have been a photographer for almost 6 years and I still don’t know what all the buttons on my camera do. 

As a horse trainer there were a lot of things I was also uneducated on and even still as a business educator I have a lot to learn and will never stop learning as I go. 

Your business will shift as time goes on, your priorities will change and different things are going to affect the way you do things. Life is a never ending circle of change and when we can accept that we are not going to know everything all the time then Imposter Syndrome will appear less and less in our lives. 

Final Thoughts

You do not have to convince people to deem your business worthy or successful. Most of the time it’s because of their own ignorance that they make snarky comments like “that’s cute” or “oh that’s nice that your husband does something to provide for you so you can play all day” which by the way is also not an insult in my opinion. I am no feminist here and like YES Linda, it is nice that my husband is a freaking baller and supports our family. But so do I. We have our own roles and responsibilities. 

Can you feel my bitterness? Haha!

We all go through Imposter Syndrome. We all have moments of feeling like we are lying or tricking people to believe in something that isn’t true. It’s a natural part of life but the quicker we can take notice of it, the quicker we can shut it down. 

Keep doing the work, keep your chin up and go after those big dreams you have. You are going to accomplish amazing things!


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I'm Sarah Elrod

The Podcast

Rural Lifestyle



I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.

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