Believe…Part II

Previously, I wrote about Impostor Syndrome, my feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence from the past.

Often to counter these feelings, I ended up working harder and holding myself to ever higher standards. This pressure would take its toll on my emotional well-being and performance overtime and difference stages of my personal growth.

In common with many of the people I coach, my success was present in relative financial terms, but it was the experience of doing the job that was difficult.

When you are in constant fear of being perceived as being a fraud, “not good enough,” “not up to it,” there is a tendency to compensate by adopting behaviours and traits that are unnatural to you.

I tried to pretend to be someone I was not, which made my working life feel complicated and stressful. Many have argued that all I could see was that my anxiety and stress was purely as a function of my own perception.

Arguable indeed.

I was more concerned about the how and why.

Secondly, there was the cost in terms of the opportunities I never took. Because I did not see the full reach of my capabilities and depth of my knowledge, there were promotions I did not go for, positions, roles, environments, opportunities, and conversations I never had, and countless times I never spoke up when I should have.

Or when I did, go for it, and was then ‘turned-down,’ ‘rejected,’ told, “you’re not ready” or worst still, “you’ll never be ready,” that was ‘defo’ a sandwich or cocktail of self-doubt, that often left me in despair.

Even when I became a self-employed coach and mentor, I believe, I lost countless opportunities to collaborate with clients because I did not have the self-belief to show up fully in those crucial ‘sales’ conversations.

Underselling myself, under-pricing myself, networking “here but not there,” countless times not showing up, feeling, and thinking of being inferior, to inferior coaches, did not bode well.

Les Brown "Too many of us are not living our dreams because of our fears."

Not announcing to the world, I had left the world of housing to become a coach and mentor for close on 2-years, was a case in point.

So, what changed for me?

As I sit here now, I can look back and smile (sometimes) at who I used to be. All that struggle and anxiety were simply me trying to protect myself from ‘the enemy,’ imagined, real or perceived. It was a naive misunderstanding about my view of the world and myself.

No doubt, I had put together and relied on a series of coping mechanisms, my support network of peers, friends, family, coaches, and mentors has been great, invaluable.

Talking and listening to others, not just my inner voice, has helped me to recognise which feelings are irrational.

This in turn has led me to confront some of the deeply ingrained beliefs about myself, that I now know have been fueling my impostor feelings.

More recently, I have been studying a new branch of how best to deliver my coaching, I became an accredited Certified Systems Business Coach®, to help with my coaching, focused on how we create our experience of reality, exclusively through conscious and subconscious expressions of our thought, identify what needs to change so, that you grow in confidence. 

? This confidence, then brings clarity, focus and motivation to work on oneself and on one’s business.

This approach gave me access to several key insights which began to tear a hole in the fabric of the story I had been telling about myself. It was a step in the right direction.

As a business coach you meet other coaches, speakers, business owners; people interested in their own personal development. I participated in an exercise that required me to tell my career story in a very particular way. The result was much more than simply a light bulb moment.

My entire career, life, aspirations re-framed itself, and I saw the power, breadth, and depth of my career for the first time.

I would add that the pandemic and the reverberations of George Floyd’s death and resulting Black Lives Matter movement also had unforgettable impact and instilled in me…a “no more attitude”.

Black Lives Matter
Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle/AP Photo

Although I continue to be subject to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, ups-and-downs, I am developing a rock-solid level of self-belief that I can deal with whatever happens and continue to move forward in the direction of travel I have chosen.

Questioning and battling against previous thoughts about my previous prevailing sense that I was not enough, has given me access to a greater level of self-confidence and resilience. This in turn has allowed me to weather some tough times and ground my decisions/actions in a strong understanding of who I am and what I want.

I am more than what I think I am.

You are more than you think you are.

Can you imagine what you might be capable of if you were clear about what you wanted and able to see the full reach of your capabilities?

I ask these questions of myself regularly, I realised that this was the most important thing I could teach myself. In addition to this, like cementing my newfound self. Re-framing my experiences into powerful, internal storytelling, that I remind myself of my boundless confidence and resilience. Shifting my perspective of others helps me to see that we are all making it up and that everyone is fighting their own unique battle under the surface. I no longer feel the need to be overly paranoid.

I have always wanted to excel and be the best that I could be, so committing to the path of understanding and becoming the go-to ‘expert’ in my field, is a journey I love. It is helping me believe, behave, and act beyond the limitations and the perceived inability of my impostor syndrome.

Any one of these strategies has the potential to give you the breakthroughs you need to rid yourself of impostor syndrome and access untapped levels of self-confidence, resilience, and commitment.

The challenge for me as a business coach is finding which approach (or combination of approaches) holds the unique key for you and your business, as it is doing for me. Marginal gains, small percentage shifts in how you perceive yourself opens a whole new field of opportunity and possibility for those willing to go through the work to address and overcome impostor syndrome.

?It is working…

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Happy to discuss how the above applies to you?

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