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Imposter Syndrome Part 2 Ep: 039


Episode 39: Imposter Syndrome (Part 2)

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 again. We started this conversation last week.

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to that episode yet don’t worry. I’ve popped the link in the episode notes and you don’t need to listen to it to get the benefit from this episode.

A quick reminder about imposter syndrome. It’s something loads of high achievers have, so you’re not alone.

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

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

You are afraid you aren’t good enough.

Today let’s talk about another face of that fear.

This too is a pretty similar scenario, I call it the two faces of imposter syndrome

You’re either scared you’re far worse than you appear, or you’re scared to own your brilliance.

Let me read this Marianne Williamson poem to you: 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear in that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the World.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel unsure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
As we let our own Light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others." 

This describes the other face of imposter syndrome.

The fear that we are so afraid of our brilliance, of our light that we shrink, hide, play small, pretend to be “no one special”. 

With imposter syndrome, we often don’t want to toot our own horn, and we sure don’t want to show up as brilliant. 

Because then guess what?  Someone will come along and discover we are a fraud. 

Do you see what I mean?

We either think we’re nobody…and we’re afraid someone will find out we’re doing things we’re not qualified to do. 

Or we hold ourselves back and hide from our own brilliance,  because we’re afraid we’re too big for our britches!

The two faces of the imposter

In the first, you think the truth is “’I’m far worse than I appear”

In the second, the truth is “You are far more, far greater, than you appear”

In both cases, we allow our fear to hold us back.

This reminds me of the story about how circuses train elephants.

They start by tying the baby elephant’s leg so that he’s tethered to a stake in the ground. He’s too small, and even though he might pull and try, he can’t get free and wander off.

They continue to tie him up every day, as he grows.

And pretty soon, when he’s grown to a size that could easily pull free he doesn’t because he’s trained himself that he can’t,

And so he never does. He plays small. He’s perfectly trained despite the fact that he is amazing, massive, strong and intelligent.

What about you? 

Have you perfectly trained yourself, to believe that you’re not brilliant, that you’re not capable of great things? 

That if you try, it won’t work…or someone will come along and find out you’re a fraud, you’re faking it.

In the last episode, I gave you 6 strategies you can use to break free from imposter syndrome. 

In this episode, we’re going to look at how to shift our thoughts to eliminate imposter syndrome.

Here are three common thought patterns that show up. I call these thoughts from the “imposter syndrome brain”

  1. The first, It was a fluke.
  2. The second, It was easy…It’s no big deal. Anyone could have done it.
  3. Finally, "they" are going to find out that I'm a fraud.

    Let’s start by looking at the thought “It was a fluke”.

    1. When I hear “it was a fluke”. For me it means it was just luck, I hit the jackpot, maybe I rolled the dice and got lucky. I’m completely disconnected. I had absolutely nothing to do with that outcome.

    For example, I filled my coaching calendar by sheer luck.  It could have happened to anyone, it’s only by luck it happened to me.

    Well, if that was the case, then anybody could fill their calendar with amazing paying clients.  A ten-year old soccer player who has never heard of coaching has exactly the same amount of chance of doing this as I did.

    Well, if you’re a coach, my guess is that you decided to become a coach. You’ve taken some training, you spoke to some people, you told them what you were doing, maybe you offered some free coaching and then invited them to be your clients. Some of them said yes, and some said no….that doesn’t sound like luck to me.

    It sounds like you decided, committed and went to work to do something you were drawn to.

    So for me I can see the thought “it was a fluke” can’t be true. You put the energy in to create that outcome you chose.  That means you’ve got skills, intent and desire. It wasn’t a fluke…you created it.

    2. The second common thought, “It was easy…It’s no big deal. Anyone could have done it.” 

    I’m curious if you really believe this, or if it’s just the words you’re used to replaying in your head? Pause for a minute and consider that. Does this thought serve you? It sounds like you’re brushing off your accomplishment and I think you’re worthy of everything you’ve accomplished and more.

    Was it ‘really easy?’ Is it true that “anyone” could have done it?

    Now I bet it was rewarding. I bet it was satisfying. Did you strive to create something you wanted?

    For example, if you’ve been certified as a coach. It was a big deal. Lots of people want to do it, and never do. They think about it and don’t show up or they quit.

    For me coach training was amazing and fun and filled with growth…but it wasn’t easy. It was worth it. What about you?

    3. The third common thought pattern from imposter syndrome brain: “They” are going to find out that I’m a fake.

    We worry and fuss about other people’s opinions.

    In fact, we worry and fuss so much sometimes we forget to actually live our lives. We use this mental spinning as a way to beat ourselves up, feel overwhelmed and get stuck. The idea that OPO having power over how we live our life is one way our brain tries to control us, by encouraging us to avoid risk and to stay safe “in the cave” and play small. 

    I would highly recommend you get curious about this thought, step back as if you’ve never considered it before.

    Since this is such a common thought pattern and you are seeing where it shows up in your life, this is a good time to pause. I’m going to ask you a few questions, listen to the questions and grab your journal and answer for yourself.

    You might not get free of this, the first or second time. But give it time…..and you will start to erode, layer by layer the hold that other people’s opinions have on you.

    Here are the questions:

    Why might they think you’re a fake? If it’s because you might think you are a fake, look for evidence where it could be partially true and where you can see it’s not at all true. What can you learn from this?

    Who are the “they”? Is it someone you know, one person in particular or a nameless faceless person.

    Notice you’re worried that they might judge you harshly.

    Essentially, you are thinking that they might have thoughts about you. and you’re pretty sure those thoughts are going to be harsh and judgmental. And somehow those thoughts have power.

    You don’t know that they will have thoughts or that they have. 

    You know for sure you can’t control someone else’s thoughts.

    Most people spend more time worrying about what others might think, avoiding potential risk, trying to stay safe from the unknown. Instead of doing what they can, with what they have and deciding to believe in themselves first.

    It reminds me of this quote

    You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.

    Eleanor Roosevelt

    But what if they are so wrapped up in their own life, they don’t think of you or judge you at all.

    What if they love what you do?

    What if you could allow them to live their own life, and you get to live yours despite what they may or may not think about you.

    What if you could allow yourself to just be? Just be ok?

    To accept that you will fail sometimes and sometimes you’ll succeed.

    Again, I highly recommend you coach yourself on this, journal on it and if it’s a common thought pattern that holds you back, get coaching on it too.

    Let me just wrap this up. We’ve talked about two faces of imposter syndrome:

    In the first, you think the truth is “’I’m far worse than I appear.”

    In the second, the truth is “You are far more than you appear.”

    I’ll leave you with this, in both cases you are skilled and worthy. You are more than enough exactly as you are. You’re human, you’re growing and evolving.  Know that the more you approach imposter syndrome and all forms of fear and self-doubt with compassion, curiosity and self-acceptance the more energy you will have to enjoy your life, become a powerful coach helping your amazing coaching clients and have a positive impact on the world. 

    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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