Do you ever think:
Who am I to be doing this?
I don’t feel ready enough yet.
I’m not good enough.
This isn’t me. (Even though you really want something.)
Well, you are not alone. I’ve felt these things and know many successful people who have experienced these things. This is called imposter syndrome—you feel out of place, out of your comfort zone when trying something new.
When I first started out coaching, speaking, writing, and generally putting myself out there, I felt it wasn’t right.
Who would I be charging people for my services, and who did think I was?
Nonetheless, I started doing it more and more.
Here are my top four tips on how to deal with imposter syndrome:
1. Realise the feelings will not go away unless you take action anyway.
Does this sound a bit counterintuitive? Well, this is reality. The feelings of imposter syndrome and fear will always come up when we face something new. It is our brain’s way of trying to keep us safe from going away from the familiar. You can only progress through these feelings by continuously going into the unfamiliar and making it more familiar—there has to be continuous action.
My first piece of advice is to acknowledge these feelings are natural—do not reduce; start taking action. When I first started charging for coaching, I felt way out of the way. Still, time passed, and I am not comfortable knowing I am giving valuable service to help others grow a business to benefit many people. This didn’t happen by listening to the negative thought and giving up; apply this to your life.
2. Imagination is stronger than logic.
You may have images in your head of things that could go wrong. While the risk of this is always present in life, think about how things could go right and visualise them. Don’t necessarily visualise that massive future and dream life you want all the time.
While that is good, it can take us too far away from the present, think about the upcoming week or day, and how you would appear and act. When we make our brains and imagination more familiar with this, it’s easier to understand what it wants us to feel.
3. Do not talk to people who haven’t experienced where you want to go.
What do I mean by this? Unfortunately, there will be negative opinions from people in your life sometimes (this can be a close family or friends). This can make us feel worse; however, often, they have not had experience in that area or been successful in what you are trying to achieve.
In the nicest possible way, I’m not sure they are in a position to give you advice in that area, and I can say the same with some of my close friends and family. I love them to bits and will talk and listen to them about many things. In terms of growing a business, writing a book, coaching, and speaking, I will not take advice from them. They typically have had steady 9-5 jobs, which is sufficient for them and pleased as long as it makes them happy.
In all honesty, what do they know about growing a business? They say things like, “Be careful, it’s hard.” And, “I’m not sure you should do that.” Instead, I surround myself with fellow coaches, mentors, and personal growth groups who also have big visions when talking about such growth in my business.
4. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
This follows the last point of surrounding yourself with the right people but builds on it. Growing yourself takes work, right? I found that trying to do it alone can cause a lot of painful hard work—especially when we don’t know if we are doing the right things. If we get no results from doing the wrong thing, we can believe we are not worthy of doing what we want and can make it hard to keep going.
Don’t struggle alone! Make it simple to follow and model the right people. Get a coach, get that course, ask people in groups doing well. This year my growth has been tremendous, and one factor to this is using the wealth of resources I’ve been able to meet and implement their advice. (Thank you to those people.)
Imposter syndrome is something quite normal to experience. The feelings will appear, but it’s our attitude to let it stop (or not) that counts.
Take action, visualise how you want to feel, reduce consumption of opinions from others who have not done it, and model after those who have been successful.
Keep working on you to bring out the best for everyone else around you.
Thank you for reading, and never skip self-esteem day.