Many successful leaders that I have worked with have shared with me that they feel like a fish out of water in their new role or have Imposter Syndrome, the belief that they have risen to a level of incompetence and nobody knows but them. They attribute much of their success to being at the right place at the right time or to luck or to prior successes not directly correlated to their current role.
Inevitably, when we explore this further, it is clear that they are fully qualified in their roles. Sometimes they even believe that their “fear of failure” or their feeling of “being found out” drives them to be successful. While this may be true to a certain degree, it deprives them of the freedom and happiness that they can have while succeeding. It keeps them “hustling for their worthiness” (Brené Brown, 2018) rather than striving in a healthy manner. Striving in a healthy manner puts them at choice to try new things, build on successes, and learn from inevitable failures. There is no learning without failure. In fact, in today’s environment, if we’re not trying new things our skills can become irrelevant.
Getting comfortable with being seen, sharing new ideas, and trying new ways of leading may be difficult when you feel like an imposter because you’re trying so hard to stay under the radar. It may prevent you from being transparent with your team, helping your team to process their own emotions, delegating to team members, being strategic, seeking a place at the table with your peers and leaders or looking ahead to further career advancement.
I have worked with many amazing leaders who were struggling with this in one way or another. They learned to value themselves, be more experimental and try new things and put out new ideas, apply for and succeed at getting advanced roles, and transitioned well in those new roles. We meet clients where they are at, exploring the context of their goals, where they are at with their confidence in various areas, and exploring their strengths and values. We look at how they can leverage their strengths towards their goals and how they can practically experiment with new perspectives and ways of approaching specific upcoming situations. We reflect on new approaches by looking at what worked well to build on and what is there to learn. This iterative cycle builds confidence muscles and self efficacy. Confidence is thereby amplified. In addition to coaching, we offer a Mental Fitness program that supports shifting from the part of our brain that is over-protective to the part of the brain that primes us for performance and happiness.
How is imposter syndrome showing up for you or one of your team or family members? How might supporting them to address this open up a whole new world of possibility and gain relief?
To understand if coaching is right for you and how Spark Success can help you deepen your leadership journey, schedule a complimentary 30-minute call with us. We would love to talk with you about this or other leadership coaching related topics.
Until next time …
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