Imposter syndrome is a phrase I’ve been hearing NON stop lately, and one of the main struggles I’ve seen my clients and followers face. So it’s high time we did a blog post about it in order to overcome this pervasive problem! We’ll start by finding the imposter syndrome definition, learn how to overcome it, and as a result, build a kick-ass business with confidence (and stop feeling like a fraud).
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Imposter Syndrome Definition
What is imposter syndrome? Let’s start by going to ever so reliable, wikipedia for a simplified definition.
“Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be. While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been recognized to affect both men and women equally. Impostor phenomenon is not a mental disorder, yet there is research describing various management styles for this internal experience.”
In a nutshell, people say they have imposter syndrome when they feel like a fraud. They either feel like they’re not deserving of their success OR they stop themselves before they even get started because they truly feel like they’re not worthy, capable, or qualified to be doing what they say they want to do…so why even try?
Imposter Syndrome Test
When I googled imposter syndrome, “imposter syndrome test” kept popping up, so I figured I had to include a link to one of them in here. I found this SUPER interesting and eye-opening. The questions they ask really make you realize that 1) it’s really easy to fall prey to imposter syndrome as a human, and 2) it’s kind of crazy HOW easy it is to fall prey to it when we realize how much we have truly accomplished in our lives (which I’ll help you do in Tip #2 below!)
Imposter Syndrome Ted Talk
When I started doing research for this blog post, this imposter syndrome Ted Talk kept popping up, so I figured it was pretty important. I highly recommend spending the 4ish minutes it’ll take you to watch this video.
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome Tip #1: Talk About It & Become Aware
Simply admitting you feel like a fraud, which is basically what imposter syndrome is, is the first step in overcoming it. Once you tell someone, whether it’s a coach, a private community (join my free female entrepreneur one here where we talk openly about these things!), a group coaching program, an accountability partner, etc, you will feel SO MUCH LIGHTER.
And after you tell these people, you’ll realize a few things…
You’re NOT ALONE. The people you’re telling this to probably feel the same way or have in the past
You DO have the skills and competence to do what you’re feeling like a fraud about, and simply saying these things out loud will make you realize how SILLY you sound!
The reason imposter syndrome for women (especially) is crucial to address and overcome is because there are SO many women out there with absolutely INCREDIBLE ideas that can truly impact the world, but they’re not putting them out into the world in fear that they’ll be judged or be perceived as a fraud.
We HAVE to stop this, and the first step is admitting that we feel this way, and realizing we are not alone.
When I started my own health and fitness coaching business outside of my network marketing company, I had imposter syndrome BIG TIME. I then felt it again when I started to move to life coaching, and then again when I started to move to business coaching. Even though I had been business coaching since 2012, and had built TWO six figure businesses (and helped many others do the same), I STILL FELT LIKE A FRAUD.
Typing that out makes me laugh, because it’s SO RIDICULOUS. Of course I’m qualified to teach women how to build a kick-ass business and get out of their heads to live up to their full potential, but I was doing it in a different way for the first time, so I immediately felt like a fraud, and thought people would make fun of me, and call me out.
Guess what…NO ONE DID.
And if they did behind my back, well that’s on them 😉 Cuz they don’t pay my bills, help my clients, or live my life.
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome Tip #2: List out all of your accomplishments & credentials
I had a client of mine do this last week when she started to tell me she had imposter syndrome. I was like okay, totally get that, it’s 100% normal, so let’s talk it out right now!
Some questions I asked her to answer (in writing and out loud) that I suggest you do RIGHT NOW…
What transformation did you have that makes you feel like you’re ready to teach this or coach on this topic? Describe it in detail from start to finish
What specifically did you do to transform? What tactics, strategies, courses, blogs, books, coaches, etc did you utilize to make this transformation? These SPECIFIC tools will MAJORLY increase your confidence making you realize you can now give these to your future clients.
What accomplishments have you made in this area since you started your journey?
What questions do friends and family naturally ask you about all the time? And in return, what do you specifically help them with for free? (It’ll usually end up being what you make a business out of)
What do you do well? What’re your strengths? What do people compliment you on?
After you answer these in DEPTH, you’re going to have SO MUCH PROOF as to why you SHOULD be helping people in this industry, and your confidence will most likely skyrocket. But be sure to SAVE THESE answers and keep them handy for those moments when imposter syndrome strikes (which it will!).
Ask Family and Friends How You’ve Helped Them
It’s easy for us to think we haven’t done much, until we ask the people we’ve helped (For free usually) how we’ve helped them. So while you’re answering the questions above, also ask your closest family and friends who you know you’ve helped in some way HOW you’ve helped them. Be honest, and tell them you’ve been doubting your abilities in this industry, and you’re feeling a bit like a fraud, so you’re asking those closest to you who you’ve felt like you’ve helped in some way to share HOW SPECIFICALLY you’ve helped them. How did they feel after you helped them? What did you help them overcome? What do they naturally come to you for? I highly recommend doing this with at least 3-5 people, and like your answers to the above questions, SAVE THESE for those moments when imposter syndrome strikes.
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome Tip #3: Help people who are just getting started
If you’re experiencing feelings of imposter syndrome, one of the best ways to prove to yourself that you’re capable and should be doing what you’re doing is by helping someone who is JUST starting in your industry.
For example, if you’re a health and fitness coach and you’ve been on your journey for a year, and have had results, you are one year ahead of someone who’s JUST starting out. You can help those newbies by teaching them how to go about weight loss the right way, sharing the things that worked for you and the things that didn’t that you wish someone had warned you about. You’re shortening the time it’ll take them, and using your year of experience (being 3 steps ahead) to help them get to their goal faster.
Full honesty from someone who’s been in business for over 6 years and has coached hundreds of women (both in fitness and in business)…MOST people don’t care about your credentials, or certifications.
They just don’t.
They just want to know you can help them get to their end goal. They don’t care HOW you get them there, just that you’ll get them there. If they trust you, like you, and believe you can help them get there, then who cares what your certifications are? If you’ve done it–that’s what they’re going to pay attention to. You can shortcut the time it would take them to figure this all out by themselves AND help them through the tough mental times, by being in their corner and supporting them along the way (which is the most important part of the journey anyway!).
Now, do I think having certifications, coaches, and taking classes is important to help boost your confidence and knowledge to be a better coach? HECK YES, and that’s part of the next tip 😉
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome Tip #4: Increase Your Knowledge & Confidence
Are certifications necessary to be a good coach? You’re going to get a lot of different answers to this question, but I personally will say no. It’s not NECESSARY. HOWEVER…will it help? HELL YES.
Not only will certifications, courses, and added knowledge help you be a better coach information wise, but it’ll simply make you MORE CONFIDENT in your coaching, and when you’re more confident you SHOW UP more for your clients and serve them more fully. You had it inside of you the entire time, but gaining a bit more knowledge and know-how helped bring it out for you.
After I went through Amanda Bucci’s Fitness Online Coaching Academy program and Flourish & Conquer Accelerator Program, I became WAY more confident in calling myself an online health and fitness coach, because I had SO much more knowledge on how to serve my clients in that arena.
After I went to CTI, the Co-Active Coach Training for life coaches, and started my certification process (which is going to take me about a year!) I immediately became WAY more confident and started to fully put out my coaching services. In fact, after I came back from that 3 day intensive training, I made the decision to stop health and fitness coaching and fully dive into life and business coaching, and I hands down wouldn’t have taken the plunge if it wasn’t for that 3 day intensive course.
I had enough skills to feel confident to life coach after that class, and even though I’m not “done” with the entire program, I know I can fully serve my clients, and help them get incredible results in their life and business.
So while trainings, certifications, classes, etc aren’t a requirement (unless you’re in a specific industry with specific rules of course), it is highly recommended to increase your confidence in your coaching skills.
I’ll be opening up registration for my January Group Coaching Program all about How to Get More Clients & Close on Sales Calls for early registration during the first week of December. If you want to be notified when that launches, simply email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) saying “Group Coaching Please!” so I can let you know when it officially launches! I’ll only be taking 20 people MAX to truly serve them, and want to reserve your spot if I think you’d be a great fit and truly benefit from it!
Tell me about you! Do you struggle with imposter syndrome in your business and feel like it’s the main thing holding you back from taking action? Which of these tips will you implement?
Megan Yelaney | Life + Business Coach
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