How to Beat Your Imposture Syndrome

25 Feb

You’d be amazed at the number of people who feel as though they’re imposters. And being a coach of some high-level leaders, I can tell you that this experience is normal across the board. So many of us (at least in our own minds) are faking it. BUT the truth is, your confidence is all about your thinking patterns. So in today’s post we’ll be looking at why and how you can move away from your insecurities into anchor into your success. Plus, for your entertainment, I’ll share a ridiculous story about when I first started in sales – talk about faking it!

The great thing about challenges (Even if we fail. Even if we’re terrible!!) is that they are preparing us for what’s next – they are aligning us somehow with our greater goals in life. Michael Gelb’s Framework for Genius captures this with his concept of Dimostrazione: “A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence and a willingness to learn from mistakes.”

So here’s a little Dimostrazione for you.

When I was a fresh-faced 20 years old, I transitioned at Le Droit into the position of sales. I was the first women salesperson (salesman back then), and had no clue what I was doing. Everyone had this faith in my sales abilities, and I thought they would discover any second that it was all a lie. For instance, guess to whom I was assigned to sell ad space? Car salesmen! And I say ‘men’ because they were all men.  Plus the job was in Ottawa, which was a new city for me.

So there I was in Ottawa, totally unaware of the roadways and new in the job. Thank goodness for GPS. . .

OH WAIT! GPS didn’t exist. Thank goodness for giant maps unfolded on the seat beside me that I had to pull over to double-check while getting on and off the highway and navigating one-way streets, country roads and suburban homes that all looked alike!

My knuckles turned white on the steering wheels back in those days as I drove between car lots.

People told me I was such a good sales person. But here’s the thing, I had nothing in common with the men to whom I sold ad space. These were car guys. I’m not a car lady. They had different values from me, different perceptions. As I drove toward the sale, I’d be fretting about how my ‘good numbers’ were masking my complete incompetency. But then, almost as if by miracle, as I finally found the car lots and arrived to make the pitch . . . a changed happened. I was faking it.  I faked my connection, faked my alignment, faked my understanding of their needs . . . and yet, I became aligned with the idea of helping these car salesmen become great in their marketing. It was like I slipped into the role simply by forcing myself to perform.

Little did I realize that I was really feeding into an ability to relate to different perspectives, and give guidance to those with different experiences (like a coach does). Back then I helped people create great marking for themselves, which helped prepare me for my coaching today, where I help people create amazing leadership.

A while back Sister Leadership interviewed Dr. Rukhsana Malik, who is an incredibly successful woman with so much life experience. She said something that truly applies – and blows away – the imposter syndrome: “I am calm because I can do a million things, and I’ve done a million things in my life.”

Wow. How can we be like that too? Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Anchoring: A neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) tool for creating a new pattern of thought toward success. Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could acknowledge our success and anchor them into our bodies and thought patterns? For example, in my case: “I’ve made strong sales before and now I’m going to help this company get what their need to sell cars. “
  • Reality Testing: Comparing how you feel about a situation vs. what the reality of the situation. Chances are you’ve tackled your challenges before in a different variation, and you can do it again now. Reality testing helps grow your self-awareness, self-regard, and self-love.

Anchoring into your success and reality testing in the situation are fantastic tools of NLP and Emotional Intelligence (EQ) which I use all the time for my coaching clients. We’ll be talking more about them in the months to come on Sister Leadership.

So the next time you fake it as you make it – stop a moment and really look at the pattern that is being lived. Does it tie into your successes or your insecurities? Realign that thinking. Because Dimonstrazione is happening every day. Each step forward helps you learn, and makes you better. You are not  an imposter, you are simply constructing your own genius.

Till next time!

Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing her knowledge of resilience, perseverance, and changing perception to others. Camille is currently accepting applications for the Women’s Executive Network  Senior Executives Wisdom Peer Mentoring program. Applications to this exciting and knowledge-sharing program are available here.

Read more from Camille as she aspires to  help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook.

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