How to Break Through Impostor Syndrome

“When are people going to figure out that I really don’t know what I’m doing?” This question runs through my mind at least a few times a week. When will I stop feeling like a fraud? Is it about increasing the amount of money in my bank account? Number of coaching clients? Attendance numbers at writing retreats? Actually, outward success seems to trigger even louder versions of the “fraud police” – to quote Amanda Palmer from her book, The Art of Asking – which leaves my stomach in knots and me wondering if I should just stop everything I’m doing NOW before everyone finds out the truth.

What’s the latest trigger? I suspect it’s the big leap of hosting a week-long writing retreat in Bali at the end of November 2019 [Writing from the Heart: Bali Retreat]. Booking the Bali Floating Leaf Eco-luxury retreat centre and following through on all the details has been a huge leap of faith, based on a foundation of coaching, teaching, and the support of a tribe of dream-enablers.

Perhaps like me, you were raised with admonitions like, “Who do you think you are?” and “Don’t get too big for your britches” (Really? Britches!) “You think you’re so smart!” There are certain family limits we were not supposed to go beyond, and I’m here to declare that I’ve gone well beyond whatever those limits were. So here I am, feeling very exposed and vulnerable, and VERY UNCOMFORTABLE.

I feel somewhat like Frodo in Lord of the Rings, at the pinnacle of his long climb up Mount Doom, just before he attempts to throw the ring into the maw of molten lava below. Standing with his stalwart friend, Sam, exposed with no protection, wind howling, Gollum doing his best to keep Frodo from destroying the ring, and the ring itself exerting its own power. In this scenario, Frodo doesn’t feel like a hero. Just like I don’t always feel like I’m up to the challenge of coaching and guiding others. “I don’t know enough.” “I’ll run out of things to teach.” “I’ll lead people in the wrong direction.” “What I have to offer won’t be helpful.”

Then I breathe and ground myself. I remember to ask, “is that really true?” After a pause, I remember who I really am. I draw from my years of work as a counsellor, with an ability to listen deeply. My clients receive suggestions based on what I’ve learned within a coaching mastermind. I’ve grown a business I love, offering one-on-one coaching and small group programs. While there may be moments where I lead in the wrong direction, checking in with the person/ people I’m working with can shift the needle. As long as I stay open to feedback and I’m willing to be vulnerable, it seems to me there’s always room for learning, for me and everyone I work with.

Perhaps that’s what the coaching relationship is really about –co-creating a journey together, exploring new ground, and providing feedback to each other along the way. At least that’s the type of relationship I seek to build, and attract clients with a desire to venture into the unknown.

Perhaps you’re interested in coming to Bali with us. IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE, Anne McCormick ( and I will be hosting two free Preview Webinars in July:

Monday July 15th
3:00 PM Pacific (5:00 PM Central, 6:00 PM Eastern)

Wednesday, July 24th
4:30 PM Pacific (6:30 PM Central, 7:30 PM Eastern)

Click on the link below to learn more.

FREE Preview Webinars

Perhaps you’d like to find a way to bust through your own version of the Impostor Syndrome. Click on the link below to schedule your free strategy session with Marie:

Contact Marie

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