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Imposter Syndrome Part 1 Ep: 038


 What Is Imposter Syndrome And How To Overcome It.

Hi there, I’m so glad you’re here and Welcome to this episode of She Coaches Coaches.

Today we’re talking about imposter syndrome. Actually, this is the first of two back to back episodes where we’ll look at imposter syndrome. It’s a topic that comes up a lot with my private clients so I know it will resonate with you too. 

Let me read you these quotes I found.  

When I won the Oscar, I thought it was a fluke. I thought everybody would find out, and they’d take it back. They’d come to my house, knocking on the door, and say “Excuse me, we meant to give that to someone else.”

Jodie Foster

Sometimes I wake up at night and go, “Oh, damn! Here we go again! What were they thinking? They gave me this role; don’t they know I’m faking it?
Renee Zellweger

There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.

Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In, COO Facebook 

When I read them the first time I just laughed.

I laughed because they seemed so ridiculous, how could these incredibly talented individuals say something so silly? At the same time, I could feel their discomfort.

And I could feel mine too. What about you?

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is essentially when we secretly think we’re a fraud. No matter what we’ve done, or what you’ve accomplished…there’s a little voice in your head that is pretty sure someone is going to catch up with you. and then they’ll tell the world that you’ve been faking it all this time.

Something about reading these quotes really struck home with me, probably because I, like you, struggle from time to time with imposter syndrome.

If you’ve never heard of imposter syndrome, it’s time you did.

People who experience imposter syndrome think any success they had is a result of plain old luck, being in the right place at the right time. They secretly suspect they don’t deserve the success they have and they are just waiting for the embarrassing revelation.

How familiar does this sound? Do you suspect that “someone made a mistake” and that’s the only reason you got your job  or a promotion or got accepted to that awesome grad school?

And because of this fear, you walk around tentatively. It’s like you’re waiting for the next shoe to drop.

The ironic thing about imposter syndrome is you would never for a minute doubt your friend’s capability. You are certain they are smart enough, skilled enough and completely deserve their success.

But not you. Basically, you’re a fraud waiting to be publicly exposed. Any day now they will find out you really have no idea what you are talking about or what you are doing.

Just like Jodie, Renee and Sheryl.

This is one side of imposter syndrome. The side that says there’s something wrong with you, you don’t deserve any of your success. And this is what we’re going to talk about today.

Next week, I’m looking at imposter syndrome from a different perspective. So you’re going to want to listen to that episode too!

But for this week. Your thoughts might sound something like this:

  • “They” are going to find out I’m just faking it.
  • Who am I to be a coach? I’m not an expert in anything.
  • I should never have told my friends I’m a coach.
  • Sure, I’ve got 5 clients…but pretty soon they’re going to figure out I have no idea what I’m doing.

So, if any of this sounds familiar. Let me welcome to the club.

Imposter syndrome is really not that helpful. It’s a habit you may have that you’ve built up over the years. Every time you start something new it might show up. Any time you stretch….that familiar “they’re going to find out” voice shows up.

What’s the impact of imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome often shows up in us playing small. It may show up as overthinking and over analyzing, people-pleasing, procrastination, perfectionism.

Whatever the descriptor (like perfectionism or procrastination) the effect is

You shrink or hide.

You don’t show up.

You don’t speak up or contribute.

You don’t invite people to work with you and you don’t collaborate and connect.

Do you notice, you spend a lot of time thinking about yourself and how you feel and because of this you step on your greatness, you squash your potential. Ouch!

What can you do, how can you help yourself when you know you’ve got imposter syndrome?

 How can you replace feeling like a fraud with a more realistic view of your skills, strengths and weaknesses?

Ways to overcome imposter syndrome:

Here are 6 strategies.

1. Keep a success file.

Accept you’ve played some part in your own success.

Keep a “success file” where you capture your achievements and collect copies of “thank you” notes, performance reviews and testimonials.

2. Look at the data.

Look at the evidence. What have you worked on that others have benefited from? What work have you done that people have appreciated and found useful?  Approach how you feel from a more logical perspective. It will help

3. Share your feelings.

You might be tempted to stay quiet or isolate yourself when you have imposter syndrome because you think you’re the only one. Thoughts of imposter syndrome thrive on isolation. Don’t let it. Instead, do something about it. One of the fastest ways to dissolve the fear of being found out is to share it with a friend or peer that you trust.

As you connect, you will feel understood and your friend will be able to support and remind you that you too deserve the success you’ve experienced. 

They will remember and remind you of the times you worked until 3 am on a project that the client loved, or how you spent years researching and writing your thesis, and when you worked on your business between 6 pm and 2 am every night while you were getting established.

In a nutshell, they don’t have your skewed view.

4. Accept that you are human.

You are better than you were and you learn and grow every day. Accept that, at times you will make mistakes and other times you will hit a home run.

Sure you might be used to being a perfectionist or have a people-pleasing habit but you can learn self-acceptance.  It all starts with your thoughts and a decision to begin appreciating yourself, just the way you are. 

5. Shift your focus

Look at the results of what you are doing, the value you add and who you help instead of hyper-focusing on your self-doubt. When you get out of your own head, you spend less time fussing, more time contributing and you will feel more confident and fulfilled.

6. Remember, the people who suffer from imposter syndrome are usually the most capable and committed people.

Imposters fear they will be found out to be fakers.  In truth, the ones who are really faking it, often actually believe they are better than they are.

Have you ever worked with anyone who, at least at the surface, think very very highly of themselves and then when it came time to contribute or actually do something ….you found out they were a mouthpiece, filled with hot air….no substance at all? Yes, I think we all have. 

It’s ironic, isn’t it?  Most likely, if you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, you probably are not a fraud.

Remember there’s a big difference between being a fraud and being new, learning, making mistakes and growing.

So, let me recap the six strategies you can use

  1. Keep a success file
  2. Look at the data.
  3. Share your feelings
  4. Accept that you are human.
  5. Shift your focus
  6. Remember, if you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, you probably are not a fraud.

Hey, I so appreciate that you’re here as part of my community and I hope you’re applying this stuff too. I hope that these practical podcast episodes help you and support you as you become a coach and create clients.

And if you want more help, maybe you resonate with how I speak and what I share, and you want to work with me. Then we should talk. 

So, if that sounds like you and you want to make faster progress, you’re eager to get your first paying clients and get my help along the way click the link to book a call. 

And we’ll decide if we’re ready to work together.

Alright, that’s it for today. I’m so appreciative that you spent this time with me 

I’ll be back to talk with you next week.

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