Before I became a hypnotherapist, back when I had an office job in PR, I so often felt like I was just biding my time until I was caught out and my employers realised I hadn’t got a clue what I was doing. I felt like a fraudster waiting to be busted. As if my days of winging it were drawing to a close.
I recall a time I was in a board room in my fancy nancy office surrounded by all the hugely ambitious power women in my company. Though I left this meeting delighted I’d just about held my own, I spent way too much of it wondering why I’d been invited and how to craft my perfectly valid contributions. If only I’d spent more time ‘in the room’ giving my input than thinking about how unworthy my input was, I’d probably have given far more bang for my buck as an employee.
Reassuringly, having had many a client and friend tell me they frequently felt the same, I knew this wasn’t unique to me. So I decided to take some time to think about this feeling, when it most typically comes and what we can do about it.
For my friend Jim, this feeling often rears its unhelpful head when contributions to a conversation have to be based on gut instinct rather than solid fact. I would describe Jim as a rational person, someone who in NLP circles would be described as ‘Audio Digital’ in preference. This type of person likes to think things through and work out a route before taking the first step. They need to have all the facts before they can be confident in their decision. So that totally makes sense that in a meeting without the figures, Jim would feel ill-equipped to comment.
For others, this uneasy feeling can come from being in a career that you didn’t directly train in, so though you worked your way up and certainly didn’t employ yourself, not having the right letters after your name can make you doubt yourself.
If you work in a project based job, this is a cracking set up for feelings of fraudulent behaviour to creep in. In the space of a few weeks or even days, in a project based job you go from total novice to absolute expert, really it’s hardly surprising that you feel a little uncertain of your qualifications.
BUT, whether you can sympathise with any of the above, or for other reasons all together, feeling this way is incredibly unhelpful and in most instances totally unjustified.
So what can we do about it? What if these feelings can be evidence to you that you are succeeding and growing. The tingles in your stomach or those sweaty palms are a physical sign that you’re stretching yourself and on the verge of something even better. You see, no magic was ever created within a comfort zone. If you strut into every meeting believing you already know everything there is to know, your mind will be closed to creativity and new ideas. Trust that you are where you are because you proved to people along the way that you are more than good enough to be there, and you’ll find those creative juices flowing freely.
Next time you feel like a fraud, smile knowing it’s totally normal and be intrigued by the awesome idea that’s about to pop into your head.
Signing someone else’s cheque book, that’s fraud. Questioning your place every now and then and using that feeling towards making something great happen, that’s the mind of a humble little genius! If you’d like help shifting that imposter feeling, book in for a virtual coffee and check out The Authentic Confidence Programme.