Is It Really Imposter Syndrome?Jun 16, 2021
I had a WIG – as Martha Beck calls it, a wildly improbable goal – to start my own coach training program. It was such a WIG that I didn’t tell anyone about it. I kept it to myself. I can’t tell you why I wanted to do this or how it fit in to the larger purpose thread of my life. It was a deeply hidden desire.
And I didn’t tell anyone about this dream because it filled me with doubt and uncertainty. I questioned myself. Didn’t everyone already know what I wanted to teach? Would I be teaching them anything they didn’t know? I imagined one sneery, sarcastic, critical colleague I knew saying “Who does she think she is? Her work sucks.”
Classic Imposter Syndrome.
Impostor syndrome refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. While this definition is usually narrowly applied to intelligence and achievement, it has links to perfectionism and the social context.
The traditional way of dealing with imposter syndrome is through mindset work, shifting the inner belief system by providing evidence to the contrary. So I decided to do that. Here’s some of the evidence that my doubt and uncertainty had no basis in reality:
I’ve been facilitating and teaching and coaching for 25 years. I’m not a newbie.
The first training program that I initiated in my corporate job was a company-wide one, How to Deal With Transition. The company was downsizing and I saw a need for employees to have a roadmap and normalize their emotions. It was my passion. I created it, and got buy-in from the VP, delivered the training and trained company-wide Employee Assistance Counsellors to facilitate the training. On my first evaluation one woman wrote: “Bev, this is your mission in life.”
It felt like a God-wink. A note of affirmation from the beyond. You’re on the right track. Don’t doubt yourself.
I’ve created curriculum, taught personal development, teamwork, leadership, human sciences, stress management, career development, interpersonal communication, facilitation all at a university level for First Nations adult students. This requires establishing connection and safety as well as delivering theory and content. I consistently received notices of teaching excellence from both students and the faculty.
I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m telling you this because it’s true.
And then, I was one of a handful of Master Life Coaches who was hired to teach Life Coaches in the Martha Beck, Wayfinder Life Coach Training program. I did that for 10 years, working quietly in the background to give the coaches as much as I could so that they could step into their own genius. The feedback I received from Coaches in training was consistently excellent. Here’s an example, “I am honored to have had Bev as an instructor. There is simply no one better at creating safe space and modeling live it to give it.”
But even saying all of this and listing all these experiences wasn’t enough for me to let go of my self-doubt, because I still thought that feeling like an Imposter was MY problem, a defect in MY character that I needed to get rid of. And I tried, doing all kinds of energy work and healing work and just doing things instead of listening to the fear.
And then 2020 happened.
In 2020, I learned something else that has totally unlocked my imposter syndrome.
What I’ve learned is that I don’t have anything to fix. The system is rigged against me. Imposter syndrome was programming placed on me due to my race. I grew up Black in a white society, meaning that myself and my sister were usually the only Black people in any class, course, sports team, recital. And in my adult working life, I’ve more often than not been the only Black person doing my job. I learned at a very young age that as a child of immigrants, my job was to fit in and not make waves. I needed to act like I was invisible – because I was an unwelcome guest and could be expelled at any time. I was taught to stay invisible. I was taught to toil quietly in the background and never let anyone really see me because it was dangerous. I was taught not to make waves. And all of this helped me to survive and to fit in. Pretending that I was “less than” helped me to fit in and be accepted. OMG. But fitting in, kept all my brilliance hidden!
My imposter syndrome was programming, not a defect in my character that I had to heal or fix.
And you know what?
I’m claiming my genius now. Fully. And shockingly, it feels good! It feels like I've reclaimed dominion over myself!
I know you may not have had the same experience that I have, but I know so, so, so, SO many women of all colours, who are told that they are defective, that they have to fix something, to heal something………when they don’t. I know so many BRILLIANT women who are hiding their genius at a time when the world really, really needs them to SHARE THEIR GENIUS!
I think that so many of us who are hiding and wondering what we actually have to offer, are the ones with SO much to offer to the world.
That's the why of my coach training program that I can proudly say is amazing and meets an unmet need in the coaching world. Our 2021 program is full, but get on the list for next year!
Soul’s Calling Coach® & Facilitator Training will give you the roadmap, the tools, the confidence, and the coaching/facilitation mastery to make the difference you were born to make. You don’t need fixing. You aren’t broken. You just need to claim your genius and share that with the world. This training will help you do just that, and teach you how to do this with others too!
Go HERE for more information.
p.s. The picture above is Nicole Croizier (Certified Master Soul’s Calling® Coach) & me at a final retreat for Soul’s Calling® Coaches, having our minds blown by the brilliance and genius of these women.
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