What To Do When You Spot An Impostor

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There comes a time in a professional’s life when you experience your crowning achievement. This is the moment you’ve waited so long to arrive: you are on stage presenting; you’re running the meeting; or everyone looks to you because you’re in charge. Seems like a moment of triumph, right? Not always.

When Your Best Moment Becomes The Worst

Instead of reveling in your glory, you begin to feel like an impostor, a fake. No matter that you worked hard to get here and deserve this moment to shine, there is a psychological phenomenon in which any feelings of doubt you harbor pop up right then.

There is often an internal monologue that goes like this: All these people watching/listening to/following me just don’t know that I’m a complete fraud, an impostor, and I’m faking it! I’m not really a presenter/expert/leader. The words and feelings are not real, just a reaction, but they can be powerful, particularly if they catch you off guard. Why would you suddenly subject yourself to extreme self-doubt at the moment when you need self-confidence the most?

The Impostor Syndrome

There is a label for this phenomenon: Impostor Syndrome, a sudden and urgent feeling that you don’t belong there or deserve your accomplishments. In the moment that defines your achievement, you might experience feelings of extreme insecurity that you are a fake, a fraud, and everyone is about to realize it. This moment of insecurity will pass, but it’s worth noting that it may occur. As strong as we grow, we are vulnerable to doubts that nag us in the most inopportune times.

Who Experiences Impostor Syndrome?

Maybe it was the new teacher who looked behind her for the real teacher who would do her job; or maybe it was NASA UNIX Systems Administrator Cindy Healy who achieved her dream to work on the team launching the first Mars rover and then single-handedly had to figure out the reason for the glitch that almost scrapped the launch —these women or any small business coach can tell you, Success is scary! Anyone who has been working toward an achievement is susceptible to Impostor Syndrome, but not everyone may encounter it.

The Role Of Fear

Fears play an important role in success. Your drive channels fear into action; your motivation pushes through fears; and your achievements must overcome fear to occur. Makes sense that fear is prominent in career-defining moments when you stop and realize that you just succeeded beyond your wildest dreams—it’s okay to be scared silly! Usually, your drive, motivation, and achievement keep you going in these moments, but sometimes, a unique brand of fear saps your ability to react normally.

Sadly, Impostor Syndrome breaks your defenses to fear just when you must rely on them the most.  Instead of owning the moment and standing at the pinnacle of your career, Impostor Syndrome strikes and makes you feel unworthy. Most times, your drive, motivation, and achievement kicks into overtime and you blast past the impostor emotions, rise to the challenge, and overcome yet again. However, it is extremely uncomfortable to be flustered and beset by doubts, and sometimes, a vicious cycle occurs in which those fears feed and make the doubts bigger. It can be a struggle.

Preventing And Managing Impostor Syndrome

Becoming aware of this phenomenon is a start, but you can learn methods to prevent or manage impostor syndrome. Working with a business life coach who understands the motivations of an entrepreneur and the factors involved in impostor syndrome can help you overcome such doubts. Coaches will help you see success as a process of ups and downs that culminate in achievement. You can get over feeling like a fraud or prepare yourself better to handle a career-defining moment with some tools and techniques.

As you pursue your goals and earn success, you deserve the accolades and laurels that come from your efforts. Despite the truth, you might still feel like you don’t deserve the trappings of success or belong to the club of successful business entrepreneurs. If these shadows on your accomplishments exist, consider getting business coaching mentoring to help you recognize symptoms of Impostor Syndrome and recover your confidence. You didn’t get this far because you’re a fake; you’re here because you’re strong enough to make your dreams comes true.

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