Imposter syndrome is a common theme at business or leadership events for women. It’s often cited by women as the key reason for their lack of self-confidence, for why they feel like a ‘fraud’ or unworthy of the successes they have achieved.
There is irony in that last statement – women who suffer from imposter syndrome feel phony despite their obvious successes. They push back when they receive compliments and attribute their success to luck. Does this sound familiar? Before we jump into the reasons why women (and men) suffer imposter syndrome, let’s look at what exactly it means and how it can manifest.
To feel confident and enjoy becoming successful, you need to confront your own imposter-like feelings and thoughts. - Melitta Campbell
What is imposter syndrome?
According to this article in Psychology Today, imposter syndrome is ‘a psychological term referring to a pattern of behaviour where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud’.In other words, when we suffer from imposter syndrome, we rebut compliments and accolades because we don’t believe in our own competencies. We often think people are just ‘being nice’ and that we’re undeserving of credit that comes our way.
It’s important to note that imposter syndrome is not an actual disorder, but a term introduced by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in the late 70s after noticing a prevalence of imposter-thinking amongst 150 high-achieving women. The 150 research participants had all been formally recognised for their professional experience and accomplishments but remained convinced they didn’t deserve their successes.
Calling out imposter-like thinking
In her TEDx Talk on imposter syndrome, author and communications expert, Lou Solomon, talks about her early struggles with shyness and self-doubt, explaining that suffering imposter-like thinking is like constantly looking over your shoulder, afraid of being caught.
Lou says that around 70% of people have at least a passing acquaintance with the feelings or symptoms associated with imposter syndrome, which she refers to as the ‘fantastic four’: anxiety, perfectionism, self-doubt, and fear of failure. She says we feel we don’t deserve success and that it’s a mistake. But she also goes on to say that often the biggest thing holding us back is ourselves.
False ideas about yourself don’t help
Experienced Behaviourist and NLP Executive Coach, Lynda Heffernan, says that on any given day, we can feel a sense of the imposter syndrome. She says it doesn’t have to be huge; it just needs to be a doubt or a moment of self-judgement for it to appear. Through her work in counselling, professional training and coaching, Lynda has worked with countless women who, despite seeing positive results from their work and effort, feel emotions ranging from guilt and shame to embarrassment.
She has listened to women admit that although they know they have gifts and talents to share, they hold themselves back. But at the same time, they know these false ideas about themselves don’t help and want to learn how to change this pattern of deep-seated limiting beliefs.
Confronting imposter syndrome
This is how it was for Monica Collier who, when a friend suggested she look into having a business coach, her first thought was ‘a business coach? But that’s something for actual business people, not me!’.
Monica couldn’t see herself as a ‘business owner’ despite steadily growing her client list just 10 months after launching American English with Monica. Her students were asking her to start a YouTube channel and launch her business on various social media platforms because they believed in her and could see just how much value she was providing through her online language training programs. Yet despite these positive results from her efforts, Monica was at a tipping point of self-doubt and the lure of going back to a ‘real job’ was tempting.
“When I started my business, I had no experience, no plan and no clue what I was doing. I was basically winging it! I also didn’t consider myself to be an actual ‘businessperson’,” said Monica. But something in her gut told Monica to take a leap, which is why she joined my Dream Clients Blueprint coaching program. “While I didn’t know at first what exactly I wanted to get out of the program, I knew I needed help and direction, so my plan was to stay open-minded and maybe my business would grow,” said Monica.“And I quickly learned that doubt and fear are normal. In fact, they’re essential for growth.”
Mindset is the most important tool we have
I’ve listened to countless number of women share their personal stories of how they battle with doubt and fear on an almost daily basis. I too have suffered from feelings of imposter syndrome, believe me. After all, I’m only human! It’s taught me that mindset is the most important tool we have, and we can work on managing imposter syndrome. It’s why I took the time to also qualify as a mindset coach, so I can add additional tools to my coaching resources and ensure my clients don’t just build their perfect (and profitable) business, but also grow in confidence and self-belief.
Working with a business coach to confront your own imposter syndrome
To feel confident and enjoy becoming successful, you need to confront your own imposter-like feelings and thoughts. And the best way to do that, I believe, is to surround yourself with like-minded female entrepreneurs who can relate to where you’re at, no matter where that is on your business journey. That’s why I love the Dream Clients Blueprint programme so much.
The group size is kept small to ensure the programme offers everyone a highly personalised business coaching experience. It also means that each member becomes part of an incredibly inspiring and supportive community of like-minded women, with their sites set on using their skills, talents and experiences to make a positive impact for themselves and others.
Skip forward to success!
While you may be experiencing self-doubt right now, and this is perfectly normal, it’s important not to let this stand in your way and keep you from your dreams. And more importantly, from helping your clients to get the results they seek!It’s hard, if not impossible, to do this alone. Therefore, I invite you to book a call with me so I can help you start making positive and confident strides in the right direction - and who knows, you may be our next ‘Blueprinter’ to achieve more than you thought possible!
While you may be experiencing self-doubt right now, it’s important not to let this stand in your way and keep you from your dreams. - Melitta Campbell
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