"Hi, I'm Ashley and I'm a content marketer, writer, and brand storyteller for creative female entrepreneurs."
That doesn't seem so hard, does it?
Actually, it can be difficult for me to write that. It's taken years of self-doubt and imposter syndrome before I finally realized that, yes, that's who I am.
I would come home from work, tears streaming down my face as I thought, "they're going to find out - they're going to realize I'm not as good as I said I was!"
When you're in that place of self-doubt and fear, it can feel impossible to see through to the other side of it. It can be hard to understand that no one's going to find out you're a fake - because you're not.
As women business owners, it can be hard to "brag" about who we are and what we do for our customers. One could argue that the way we've been brought up in society has told us not to make a big deal or draw too much attention to ourselves.
So, when someone asks us what we do, how can we overcome that often staggering fear of self-promotion and confidently say, "yes, this is who I am!"
Identify Your Fear
The next time you find yourself scared of providing the answer to, "what do you do?" ask yourself, what exactly are you scared of? Are you scared someone's going to say, "my niece could do that better than you"? Or, maybe you feel if they do hire you, they're going to find out you can't actually do what you say you do.
Think back to the last time someone asked you that question and the thoughts that ran through your head. Do your best to remember why you hesitated to respond or why you felt so crummy telling them what they do.
Write down what it is you're scared of. Then, write a letter to that fear. I know - this may sound silly, but stick with me here. Tell your fear why it scares you and explain to it what would happen if it actually came true. Describe the worst thing that could happen and then explain what you would do in that scenario.
Once you're completed, keep the letter somewhere safe so you can refer to it in the future.
The other day, I was listening to an episode on the podcast "Don't Keep Your Day Job" with Jeff Goins and he believes that instead of "faking it until you make it," you should "believe it until you become it."
It may be a matter of semantics, but doesn't believe just feel so much more powerful than faking? I believe the mindset of "faking it until you make it" is at the core of what makes us feel like we are imposters.
During moments of fear, we freeze like a deer in headlights, and tell ourselves: "just fake it until you make it." Then, we put on that glamorous smile that got people to buy from us before and pretend to be a version of ourselves that we believe is essential to gaining their trust.
Instead of pretending, why don't we spend the time and effort convincing our mind that we are who we say we are? Once your mind believes in something, it will do everything in its power to make it true.
Understand the Benefits
Why do you do what you do? What makes you get up and get out of bed every morning, excited to start working on the business you've built?
I'm willing to bet that you started this business for a lot more than just money. If you just wanted money, you'd be working a full-time day job where someone else gets to call all the shots and all you need to do is sit back and do what you're told. Wouldn't that be nice?
You're here because you truly believe that what you have to offer is going to solve someone's problem. After all, that's at the core of why products and services exist.
Take a moment and consider what you offer and what problems it solves for your customer. What are their challenges, their struggles, their concerns? How does your product solve those? What could their life look like once they purchase what you have to offer?
Understanding the core benefits of your product is the first step in reframing your mindset. Once you understand it, consider your products as a solution to their problems, not just something you're trying to push them to buy.
Realize You're a Boss
Let's take a moment here and realize everything you've done. It's so easy to act flippant about your successes and what got you here to where you are today, but we both know it wasn't easy.
You had to climb mountains (maybe even literally!), navigate past the mansplaining, and overcome your inner fears and that little voice in that head that won't stop telling you "you can't do this."
You've had to start from scratch and build your business with your bare hands. You've had to take the leap from the safety and security of a regular paycheck to follow your heart and your dreams, and you're succeeding.
So, yes, believe you are what you say you are. Because you are exactly that and once you believe it, you will have the strength to become it.