health coaching

How To Overcome Impostor Syndrome

March 14, 2018

I’m Kim.
I’m an M.D.-turned-entrepreneur and I’m dedicated to helping you build your dream career + lifestyle. Welcome to my blog, where I write (and podcast) about wellness, business + success!
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Do you feel like you’re faking it? Do you feel like you’re a fraud, and everyone is about to find out the truth about you? That’s the feeling of Impostor Syndrome, and it’s what I tackle in my latest video. If Impostor Syndrome is something you struggle with, I’d love for you to check it out.

The term “Impostor Syndrome” is not new, but I’ve noticed more and more people are talking about it–which is GREAT. It can be a real problem for many of us. But the good news is that there are ways to conquer it.

In my work with health coaches, I have noticed a lot of coaches struggle with Impostor Syndrome–especially NEW coaches–and it can really hold you back from achieving your potential.

So, to help with that, I have four tips for beating Impostor Syndrome.

Tip #1: Get Perspective

For starters, it can be helpful to know that many people–famous people, highly respected people–have publicly admitted they have impostor syndrome. Those of us who experience the discomfort of impostor syndrome often feel like we’re the only ones who feel like impostors. But the opposite is true. There’s a very good chance that other people in the room–at your meeting, your social event, the conference–feel the exact same way.

Michelle Pfeiffer is quoted as saying: “I still think people will find out that I’m really not very talented. I’m really not very good. It’s all been a big sham.”

The former Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, has said: “There are an awful lot of people out there who think I’m an expert.  How do these people believe all this about me? I’m so aware of all the things I don’t know.”

And I have suffered impostor syndrome myself, so I know how this feels. I have found that keeping in mind that so many other people have struggled with the same thing…it really helps to keep everything in perspective, and to not feel so alone in this.

Tip #2: Focus on the benefits of being a novice

Another strategy for conquering impostor syndrome is to recognize the benefits of being a novice. It’s not something we often think about, but the truth is, there can be a distinct advantage to being new in your field. A novice has fresh eyes, fresh perspective…and may think of things in a way that someone who has been in a given field for a long time may not.

So you may be a new health coach, but if you’ve just completed your training, you’ve had access to the most recent information, the most recent research and new findings…which can be a definite advantage over someone who’s been doing things the same old way for a long time.

Tip #3: Focus on learning vs. performing

A third way to combat impostor syndrome is to focus more on what you’re learning than on how you’re performing. This is known as a “learning mindset”, versus a “performance mindset”.

With a performance mindset, you tend to see the mistakes you make as evidence of your underlying limitations. And that only fuels your impostor syndrome. But if you can cultivate a learning mindset, you will begin to see your mistakes as an inevitable part of the learning process, an opportunity for growth, rather than just more evidence of your failing.

Tip #4: Practice coping skills

Finally, practicing healthy coping skills can definitely help cool those overwhelming feelings that come with impostor syndrome. I’m talking about seeking emotional support from your network, exercising regularly, practicing mindfulness, getting enough sleep, and those kinds of strategies. (I did a previous video on stress management and I go into more detail on some of those techniques, so go ahead and check that out if you’re interested.)

As for one of the strategies I just mentioned, leaning on your support network…if you think you need more of that, you might be interested in joining my growing online community, my Facebook group called Health Coach Squad. We are a tribe of very friendly, very supportive health coaches and wellness entrepreneurs. We share information and tips and do challenges to grow our business, and just generally lift each other up. If that sounds interesting to you, then we’d love to have you! Join us RIGHT HERE.

Okay, so there you have it! I hope you find these tips helpful.

Do you have any specific strategies for overcoming Impostor Syndrome? Add them in the comments!

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