Impostor syndrome – keeping you chained to your comfort zone

How well prepared do you need to be to jump out of a plane with a static line?
A full day of training!
But even after a full day of lectures, practices and hanging in a hanger from a harness a couple of feet of the ground — there is nothing like the fear of sitting in an airplane knowing that soon you will be jumping out and that your life and safety depend entirely on remembering that training!
Do you feel ready?
You may know (in your head) that you are ready, but your heart and gut may be feeling otherwise!

Life is often like that, and even after getting two law degrees (yes, two) and two Masters Degrees, I still feel some times like an impostor in my legal practice.  “Someone is going to realise that I don’t know what I say that I know; that I’m not specialised in what I say I am; or that I only know 98% of the answer, rather than 100%.”

How often do you let that fear stop you from taking the next step?

Impostor syndrome, at its worst, is a psychological pattern in which a person doubts their accomplishments, their preparation & their studies, and they live with a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. For most of us, it rears its ugly head as fear of the unknown, fear of stepping outside that which we directly know and our habitual practices.

impostor syndrome, inspire, women, thrive, thriving, comfort zone, coach, coaching, expand, growth, new life, strength, peaceMany times, we listen to that voice in our head that is constantly nagging:

  • I’m just not good enough.
  • I’m not ready yet.
  • When X, then I’ll be ready
  • I don’t know enough.
  • I just need one more degree.

More experienced than me:

Recently, I had the experience of participating in a coaching triad with two much more experienced coaches than I am.  One of them is a master coach and the other is a coach with numerous years experience working with managers.  At the same time, we are all studying together Innergetics, which is therefore new to all of us at the same level.  Hence the peer-to-peer coaching practice: we are all learning together the new tools of this specialisation.

Going into the triad, I was quite nervous about “technique” and will I remember what to say, and will I remember how to focus on what we are doing… but the reality is that I have all that training.  I was much more nervous as the observer and the “coachee” than I was as the coach, when it was finally my turn.  Once I took that first deep breathe for myself, and plunged in, it all flowed smoothly. Because I know how to do this!

But confronted with two women with more experience and training than I have, I felt out of my depth initially.  I had all the excuses for not participating with them – but in hind-sight I know exactly why this was meant to be!

I haven’t done anything and I’m just not ready

This week, in order to face another fear and get me moving outside my comfort zone, I signed up for a 5-day challenge with Julia Fearon, a Mindset & Business Strategist coach (previously an accountant).  This was something that I had stumbled across in her Facebook Group: Women with Ambition.  I admit, I looked at her challenge and I thought to myself – that’s WAY over my head and so far ahead of where I am at right now, what’s the point?

But that’s exactly the point – it is so far ahead of where I am at right now that if I participate in the challenge and keep up with it, even doing it imperfectly, that’s a huge step forward from where I am! How much will I learn in 5 days of participating full on in a challenge?

What was the challenge? All about creating income for your business through your website, Facebook page and Facebook group. Now, admittedly, I don’t even have a Facebook group! And my coaching page is still “under construction” and my Facebook page was started 3 weeks ago! I’ve been remiss about getting this task finished (admittedly because until the end of May this hadn’t even made it onto my goals and to-do list).

Note: I’ve done a lot of other things since January 1st! But setting these up just never made it into the priority listing!  

Day one of the challenge involved identifying my niche market / ideal client and creating some of the very basic details of what I needed across the board. And that was only on day one. Admittedly, completing day one’s challenge took me two days, and still wasn’t 100% completed, but it was the boost I needed to move from nothing to something!

But, in order to complete day one of the challenge, I had to learn SO MUCH!
I had to s-t-r-e-t-c-h.

This took me way out of my comfort zone and had me face all the details of what I have been avoiding doing “because it’s too hard”.  That little voice in my head that kept saying to me:

  • I’m just not good enough.
  • I’m not ready yet.
  • When X, then I’ll be ready
  • I don’t know enough.

I stopped listening to that little voice and I got working. And I worked. And worked.  And eventually I got enough completed to say “I’ve completed this portion of the challenge”. A day late. But done!

Day two of the challenge: I still have not completed. In fact, to be honest, I still have not undertaken to start! This is establishing a call to action for the potential client. But I still have to finalise my peer-to-peer coaching activities for Innergetics, as well as completing some peer-to-peer work that I am doing with coaches internationally. So, I am working on this call-to-action program, but I have no intention at the moment of taking it live right now. The good thing is, it was exactly the “homework” that I needed to face in order to get ready for what I want to do in September! So, while I’m not going to use it yet, I am going to work on preparing it and having it ready, so that in September it is all ready to go.

Day three of the challenge: group interaction and responding to questions. That was an easy day.

Day four of the challenge: release whatever is holding you back, forgive yourself and then focus on the goal you intend to build.  Today was a day of deep introspection and then siting with my vision board.

The fear of success:

I came out of my introspection and release work knowing deeply what I needed to address in my next peer-to-peer coaching session (which thankfully was this afternoon).  And upon finishing my peer-to-peer coaching session with the fabulous Wendy Bruce, “Help for Managers“, I had a very clear idea of the work that I needed to follow up with.

What is holding me back?

My fear of success! (and the belief of the little girl within me that says never to confront other people because that will get me in trouble – but that’s for another day).

How does that relate to my impostor syndrome?

Well, you guessed it, feeling like a fraud and that if I was successful, then I would have to trust my preparation and experience, and use all these tools to confront new and unknown situations!

If I reach the top of this hill/mountain, successfully, then I will be confronted with a whole new landscape that I have never seen before and the rules will all change.  I will have to actively participate in establishing the new rules for this new life.

Relationships will change, because I will have changed. And I may have to confront some people along the way in order to change the dynamics of relationships.  And I struggle with those changes of dynamics, with openly addressing in relationships that things have changed and moved.

This week has been another tough week in personal growth and practicing what I preach and expect others to do when they are coaching with me! What’s the point of this if I am not totally responsible and accountable to myself for my actions and results?

I first noticed it in my eating (because I stopped recording – i.e. connecting with my self and honoring myself), and then I noticed it because I wanted to sleep and do anything other than face the challenges (procrastination), and then finally I found within me that courage to simply face it head on.  And of course, my eating goes right back under control the moment I address the underlying issues – because the eating isn’t the problem! The eating is simply a symptom, not the cause!

At the end of the day, if you have all the preparation and studies, there is a moment when you simply have to get out there and do all the hard work!
I have the goals and the dreams, but they become reality only when I live them into reality.
When I do all the things I said I would do to move them into existence!
No matter how ill-equipped I feel.

When you want to manifest something into your life, you have to live as if it were already so:

  • so if you say you want to be a writer, then you better be writing. Every. Day.
  • if you want to be a coach, who are you coaching?
  • if you want to be an entrepreneur, what is your product? where’s your market? how are you marketing your product to your market? Are you really doing it?
  • if you want to be a jockey, where’s your horse and stables?
  • if you want to be a bar tender, you better be mixing drinks!

There is a moment when there are no more excuses.

  • I am good enough.
  • I am ready now.
  • X already happened.
  • I know enough.
  • I don’t need one more degree.


So, how about you?
What excuses have you been buying into about why you are not ready to build your life the way you want it?
What have you studied and prepared for, but failed to take to the next level?
What keeps you within the limits of your comfort zone, rather than exploring the unknown possibilities that exist beyond its borders?


If you are looking for a life coach, please do not hesitate to reach out to me through my page.


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