How are things this week? I’ve been busy delivering training workshops from my spare bedroom-turned Zoom room. I really am blessed to know I can deliver so much of my business via video and people still get the value of my content. I know it’s not the same for everyone and so wish we could find even better ways of sharing the load or supporting each other through these next stages of Covid-19. Finding ways to support small businesses, local shops, self-employed friends or colleagues – the least we can do in these times. Of course that’s why I’m buying the “cream tea” package from The Wildflower Kitchen, a local café in Cardiff. Helping a local business and enjoying the best scones in Cardiff. Got to be good!
In the latest cohort of my Imposter Syndrome Sources and Solutions (ISSS) coaching programme we’ve been revisiting a question I asked fairly early on… at the start of the programme the question emerged “Who would you be without your Imposter?”.
I have to say many of my coaching clients are affected by Imposter feelings. To greater or lesser degrees they are second-guessing themselves, full of self-doubt, often self-criticism. “Should I say this? Is it actually correct? What will people think?”. The scripts we play ourselves are often very familiar, deeply repetitive and frankly, they are exhausting.
If you have or aspire to any sort of leadership role this is deeply undermining.
The chances are high that you were appointed or promoted into this position because other people were impressed by your abilities. You simply feel that they were being nice to you or, even worse, somehow you managed to fool them. These are classic “Imposter feelings” and they erode our self-confidence. Ways we often try to manage these feelings include hiding our real selves, our honest thoughts and opinions. We play it safe, say what we think others want to hear. We don’t risk exposing our own thoughts, opinions, feelings in case they are not good enough.
Over the years, layers of armour build up. We learn to create and present a safe, secure, what-other-people-expect-and-accept version of ourselves that is so much smaller than the person who lives within that shell. But the person inside feels safer that way.
The participants in my ISSS group coaching programme were very well aware of these feelings. “Who are you without your Imposter?” is initially greeted, in equal measure by disbelief and a stunned silence. Disbelief that there is a version of themselves who isn’t an imposter and silence because that person doesn’t have a voice – not yet.
We begin by drawing a version of our life map and reflecting on the lessons learned. It is a powerful activity.
After four short weeks the shell is cracked and falling away. Like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, a being of beauty slowly steps out.
Women leaving their Imposter feelings behind recognise their strengths, their resilience. They see how persistence and flexibility are the results of withstanding times of trial. They see their paths to success have been born of originality and not doing things by the traditional route means they showed a greater creativity to get the same results.
As Imposter feelings are left behind a bigger, braver, whole-er version of themselves steps out. And shines.
Who would you be without your Imposter?
If you’d like to explore your answers to this question, do have a look at my coaching programmes:
I’d be delighted to have a conversation with you to see how I might help, what resources I can offer. I’ve created several Facebook Live videos you can access completely free of charge – do have a look here!
Wouldn’t 2021 be a good time to leave your Imposter feelings behind?
Wishing you a wonderful weekend.