Rachel Beider Featured in Forbes: 6 Successful Women Share How They Defeated 'Impostor Syndrome'


Sometimes, entrepreneurs can be their own worst enemies. For example, they may start to doubt themselves and think they don't deserve the successes they've enjoyed because they "don't know what they're doing," or think that others in their shoes have far more experience and qualifications. This phenomenon is known as impostor syndrome, and it can really put a damper on an otherwise thriving business.

Women entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to impostor syndrome, especially when they're working in a field dominated by men. They may feel like they are inadequate, haven't earned their accolades, or simply aren't doing enough -- even if none of that is true.

Fortunately, members of Young Entrepreneur Council have been through it all and come out the other side, more confident and successful than ever. We asked six of them to share their experiences and advice for their fellow female business owners who want to stop feeling like a fraud in their field.


1. Start Asking Yourself More Positive Questions 

I often felt pangs of impostor syndrome as my company grew larger. I found myself questioning if I was really the best person to handle such growth, and felt anxious regularly. I learned to change the question: Rather than asking myself if I was capable, I started asking myself, "What's great about this?" Changing the question put me in a better headspace to perform well, rather than making decisions from a place of fear or anxiety. - Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

2. Change Your Focus From Yourself To Others 

As a female founder, a woman in tech and mother of five, I am regularly asked how I make it work -- that I must either not be placing enough attention on my kids or my business. I once had a potential investor state they "weren't sure how they felt about me being a mom." I've had people question my founder role since I was on maternity leave when my company was started. It can be easy to start questioning your own value and position when you constantly have to confront misogyny, trolls and sexism. By turning off the white noise of negativity and changing your focus from yourself and turn it toward others helps tremendously. When I think about the jobs I have created, the women founders I have mentored and the clients' lives we've changed, it is easy to ignore the negative self-talk. - Jennifer Mellon

3. Remember What You Have To Offer The World 

When I started my apparel company, I was only 21 years old in a field that was dominated by mostly men two to three times my age. As my company grew, I questioned what I was doing running it. At that age, I let passion trump my fear and propel me forward. As I've gotten older and branched into other fields, I often find myself in rooms where I am the youngest, the least experienced or the only woman. What helps me is knowing there are thousands of women who have made it that felt exactly the same way.Their necessity to give something important to the world overcame their own self-doubt. I keep a list of these women to remind me that I'm not alone, that the fear is normal, and that the greatest gift I can give to the world is to shine, even when I can't see the way. - Dalia MacPheeDALIA MACPHEE

4. Build And Participate In A Support Network 

I can get in my own head pretty easily. I need outside help to get out of the impostor syndrome loop. Having friends who understand what I'm working on and my ability level is crucial. They're able to tell me that I'm on track because they're right there with me. The reverse is true, too. I'm able to tell friends who work on similar projects that they know what they're doing, that they're doing things the same way I would, that they are going to make it through their impostor syndrome. Participating in a support network makes a world of difference for me. - Thursday BramThe Responsible Communication Style Guide

5. Let Your Accomplishments Speak For Themselves 

You have to achieve your goals, and then celebrate and showcase your accomplishments. No matter how hard you are on yourself, the big successes you have will speak for themselves. You will create recognition in a positive way and have people view you as an innovative leader. Starting a company and having three little kids at home really forces you to prioritize and make the most out of each hour in your day. I do not let anyone else's doubts in my head to distract me or hold me back. I always think about pushing forward, and as much as I take pride and great care of my family, I am also proud and accomplished to have a successful company. This actually makes me a better mom and wife, being able to do what I love and make something great out of it. - Sarah Yeverovich, Empowered Staffing


6. Find Your Mantra And Repeat It Over And Over Until You Believe It 

Impostor syndrome was fierce in my head. "They are going to find out I'm a fraud and kick me out of their circle of influence." That mindset kept me from soaring for a long time. And then, something finally changed. I started a mantra of, "You were made for this. Now rock it." And I started to actually believe it. Granted, I had to say it 1,345,678 times to start feeling it, but it worked. The truth is, you are a rock star and you were made for this. So go do your thing, because it's going to be incredible. - Kim Walsh-PhillipsElite Digital Group 

Original Article in Forbes

Rachel Beider featured in Entrepreneur Magazine

5 Stories That Will Make You Rethink Your Leadership Style

CEOs speak candidly of times they fumbled on the job, and what they learned in the process. Originally posted here

When he first became a business leader, admits Krister Ungerboeck, CEO of Courageous Growth, in St. Louis, Mo., he was a bit of a jerk. “I assumed that the CEO should be the smartest person in the room,” Ungerboeck told me recently via email.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

That was a mistake, Ungerboeck now acknowledges. Thanks to that mentality, he says, he tended to lead through criticism, he says. And that in turn led him to doubt the abilities of his team, and created an unproductive work environment.

But after receiving less-than-stellar feedback on an employee survey, Ungerboeck says he realized his leadership style wasn’t working. “When I finally realized that my leadership style left my employees struggling to feel inspired, I made a major transformation,” he wrote. “I learned that criticism is lazy leadership that is intended to pump up the ego of the boss by making the employee feel smaller.”

Since that epiphany, Ungerboeck has tried to do better by leading through encouragement. In fact, he now refers to himself as a “recovering a-hole.”

While his employees are now better off for the change, Ungerboeck is hardly the first boss to rethink his or her leadership style. Here are five stories of how other leaders came to realize they needed to do things differently:

Always be learning.

By his mid-20s Glenn Phillips was an award-winning entrepreneur. There was just one little problem: His software company wasn’t making money.

“While we delivered great systems and support, we were not profitable and I was not addressing the problem well,” Phillips told me. “I thought that I was smart enough and hard-working enough to ‘figure it out’ and solve our issues.”  

Related: 9 Ways to Recognize a Real Leader

Eventually, though, Phillips realized he needed help. “I started educating myself about running a business,” he said. “The education included peers, classes and lots of reading. I studied businesses, cognitive thinking, sales, capital and more.”

Soon, his business began to turn around. Today, as the head of Lake Homes Realty in Pelham, Ala., he says he makes continual learning a priority for everyone at his organization. He says he hosts regular lunch-n-learns at the office and leads in-person trainings. The company even has a reading library, and if an employee finishes one of the books, Phillips takes that individual out to lunch to discuss what was learned.

Leadership takeaway: Set a good example for employees by constantly seeking new knowledge. This will ensure that your entire company will always be learning and improving. Tools like Workramp can help your team reach its potential.

Accept your new role.

When Rachel Beider, CEO of Massage Williamsburg + Massage Greenpoint in Brooklyn, N.Y., set out to expand her business, she quickly saw she was spreading herself too thin.

“I was trying to do too much, including still seeing massage therapy clients directly, and being involved in the day-to-day tasks,” she told me recently through email. “I started to feel perpetually stressed and burned out, and I knew I wasn't giving my best to the position.”

That’s when Beider set a deadline for herself so she couldn’t make excuses and put off the change. “Though it was a scary transition, it has allowed me a lot more time to work on important things and see the bigger picture," she wrote. "I had to learn to delegate. Now, I'm a lot more 'present' at work, with less on my plate, and open to more suggestions on improving the company.”

Leadership takeaway: First-time CEOs often need time to adjust to their new responsibilities. And it can be hard to give up old tasks that feel comfortable. But, as a leader, it’s important that you step up and accept the fact that it’s time to stop spending energy on things others can do, and focus on running the organization.

Be adaptable.

“When I had five or six employees, I managed them all the same,” Beck Bamberger, founder of Bam Communications, in San Diego, Calif. said in an email.

That worked for a while, she said, but once the company grew to dozens of employees, she saw she’d have to adapt. “There was one particular client meeting where I noticed a highly independent, quiet but well-liked employee was not taking my feedback as well as a bubbly, vivacious employee,” Bamberger went on to say.

What he told her, though, just didn’t seem to click. “We had this awkward pause in the meeting where we sat in silence for nearly 20 seconds before we started (thankfully) laughing. Then I said, ‘Okay, you're different from her.’ This was a little a-ha moment for me in terms of leadership that was adaptable for each individual.”

Leadership takeaway: Not every employee responds the same way to the same leadership style. Great leaders recognize each individual’s needs and adapt accordingly. This ensures that every employee can perform at his or her best.

Think quickly.

“A few years ago, when my companies were just starting out, my employees or potential business partners would ask me questions, and I would let them linger for a long time rather than answering them right away,” said Tony Jakstis, founder of Casa De Lago Event Centers, in Orange, Calif.

Not wanting to make a bad decision, Jakstis took his time coming up with the best answer. But, sometimes, stalling can mean missing out on big opportunities. “A good leader needs to be able to hear any kind of problem or opportunity and make a key decision that will benefit the company,” Jakstis said. “If it fails and something goes wrong, then at least I’ll find out quicker. If I’m right, the job will be done.”

Leadership takeaway: Don’t be afraid to be decisive. Even if a decision doesn’t turn out as planned, see that not as a failure, but a chance to learn.

Find support.

Danielle Wiley, CEO of Sway Group, in Corte Madera, Calif., never wanted to be a leader, she says. Nonetheless, she found herself at the helm of a fast-growing company.

“With the rocketship success that Sway saw in its first few years, my own personal leadership growth couldn't keep up,” she wrote in an email. “We were no longer a small company, but one that 35 employees' livelihoods depended on.”

The weight of that responsibility led Wiley to isolate herself -- and her team to suffer as a result. “I knew I needed to do better, I just didn't know how,” she told me.

Around this time,the executive attended a dinner for women executives. She was at the same table as a woman who kept talking about a CEO advisory group that she had joined. Wiley decided to give the group a go.

Related: How to Retain Employees Through 'Servant' Leadership

“At my first meeting, I quickly realized this group was exactly what I needed," she said. "I began to see that my concerns and frustrations were the same other CEOs were experiencing. The group gave me a newfound sense of confidence and direction that I was able to bring back to the team.”

Leadership takeaway: Being a CEO is an experience unlike anything else. Finding others going through similar situations can provide much needed support and guidance.