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Impostor Syndrome

imposter syndromeGuest post by licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitator Laura Burns

Have you heard the term, “Impostor Syndrome”? There was a lot of internet chatter about the term in 2013 – it showed up in everything from Facebook posts to articles in newspapers across the country. Still, some of us missed hearing about it AND some of us need a reminder that we’re suffering from it.

Impostor Syndrome is the feeling that you’re not as good or as smart as other people think you are – that you’re just really good at faking it, that you’ve been lucky to get where you are and that one day someone will discover the truth.

In other words, Impostor Syndrome is about feeling that everyone else is better than you.

It’s an unpleasant mental space to be in, and I’m willing to bet that you’ve been there or are there right now. The kicker is that when you’re deep in Imposter Syndrome you unconsciously send signals out to your clients that say, “Don’t hire me! Don’t work with me! You can find someone more competent than I am.”

I know this because I’ve been there, too. I’ve had my moments of wondering if I’m really providing the value that I say I am. Whether my clients feel they are getting the best services possible. I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on that self-destructive feeling and to recognize the ways in which I advertise it in every word and gesture. I’d like to say I’m perfectly well-adjusted now but self-doubt still creeps in. It’s just that I’ve learned how to identify the telltale signs and squash them before they get in the way of doing the job I know I can do.

Here’s one way we sabotage ourselves when we’re suffering from Imposter Syndrome. Do you recognize this behavior from your life? How might it be affecting your clients when you say this particular word?


The lesson here is simple: just because a job is easy for you to complete doesn’t mean anyone can do it.

People who are experts in their field have spent years learning and honing skills that the average person does not have. Whatever your field, you’ve studied it, practiced it, immersed yourself in it and have gotten where you are through hard work.

Many of us feel guilty for charging someone for our expertise, forgetting that it’s easy work for us because we are experts who’ve spent years attaining the level of knowledge we have. We’re quick to reassure clients that a particular job or task was easy. The client takes away that the job was no big deal, and then has trouble understanding why the bill is what it is. The crux of the issue is this:- maybe it is easy – for us. But our clients would not be able to do it themselves. And that’s worth hiring us for.

We don’t need to apologize or undercharge for something that’s easy for us. It’s easy because of all the hard work we put in to learn. Not because it’s easy.

If you find yourself telling your customers that any part of the job that you perform for them is easy, you’re sending out a signal that anyone could do it. They don’t need you. It may not even be worth it to hire you. And maybe they shouldn’t have to pay you, after all.

I bet you don’t imagine for a second that you’re saying all that with one word. But you are.

Wipe “easy” from your vocabulary and remember that if something were as simple as all that, your customer wouldn’t have come to you in the first place.

photo source as www.images.com/corbis

I help heart-forward businesses create thoughtfully crafted plans for growth and sustainability. I love to inspire people to think critically, dream big, and clear out the cobwebs to let in the light and the joy! Wanna leave your soul-crushing job to start your own business? Check out my new book, Work Life Revolution! Laura Burns is one of our licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitators.

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The Right-Brain Business Plan®