“I don’t deserve the success I’ve had and I’m afraid my clients are going to find me out”
Does this resonate with you? Are you stopping yourself in your business because you’re afraid of what others will think or say? Because fundamentally you’re not good enough todo what you’re doing? (even though you have all of the right qualifications and experience)?
Do you keep to yourself at networking events, or better yet, not attend at all? Are you keeping yourself small because that’s all you deserve? (and let’s face it, that way people will never find out that you’re not good enough to do what you really want to be doing…)
You could be suffering from Imposter Syndrome, that feeling you get when you believe you’re not good enough (expert enough, successful enough…) and you believe you’re going to be“found out” as a fraud. It affects business owners particularly badly, especially when we are starting out on our own. We see others around us achieve effortless success, ooze confidence and really start to doubt we have what it takes to succeed. We feel they will be judged by others, and will be found lacking, due to inexperience, or lack of expertise. Of course, none of these thoughts is founded in reality. And if we’re all just worried about what ‘everyone else’ will think of us, then the reality is we all feel the same and the person you think will judge you is just like you, worried about being judged themselves.
The good news is that if you have imposter syndrome, you’re not alone. Around 70% of people (it affects both men and women) will suffer from imposter syndrome at some stage in their careers. Sometimes we think to ourselves, when I reach a certain level of success, then I won’t feel like an imposter anymore. But the feeling never really goes away, unless you deal with it. Famous people like Neil Armstrong,Michelle Obama and David Tennant have all admitted to suffering from imposter syndrome at some stage.
The other good news is that there is something you can do about it. First, I want you to consider a life where you’re not restricting yourself, you feel confident approaching potential clients. You’re not afraid to “do it all” and “have it all”. Next, grab a pen and paper and do this exercise with me.
I speak to my clients about the ABC approach…
A means Acknowledge.
Acknowledge imposter syndrome for what it is. It’s a voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough, that you’re going to be found out. Give the voice a name if it helps. Let’s call my imposter ‘Susan’. Write down all the things your ‘Susan’ says to you. Things like “Who do you think you are calling yourself a consultant?” “There’s no way you’re good enough to speak about what you do in front of an audience”
B is for Belief.
Believe in yourself. It’s not always easy to believe that you are capable of great things. Creating affirmations around and reading them aloud every day will help you to shift your fundamental beliefs about who you are. Have a look at what ‘Susan’ said in the previous exercise. How can you turn those beliefs around? ( eg “I am good enough” “Everything I need is within me” etc). Sometimes it helps to find someone else who really believes in you and ask them for some constructive feedback (“What am I really good at?” “Where do I need to improve, and how?”)
C is all about Call to Action.
So often when we are suffering with imposter syndrome (let’s face it, usually suffering in silence, god forbid that we ever admit how we really feel), we are holding ourselves back in some way. We’re not speaking to the people who really need our help, we’re not setting up the course or program we want to set up, we’re not attending networking meetings or putting ourselves out there. What is one step you could take today that moves you closer to your goals and away from the imposter? When will you commit to taking that step by?
If you’d like to know more about the above, feel free to reach out to me for a confidential chat.You’ll also find more resources on my website and social media.