We all know the feeling. You are getting a promotion, have a big presentation coming up or are showing up for your business for the first time. And suddenly you feel you aren’t qualified enough or think “who am I to be doing this”. ou completely doubt yourself. We have all been there. We are worried that we will be found out as a fraud and that we don’t have what it takes. This is called imposter syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is the fear that we won’t live up to the expectations, expectations we or others place on ourselves. We do not trust our abilities and feel confident enough that we can figure it out and that we can do hard things. It is time to learn how to overcome the imposter syndrome we all face at different stages in our lives.
The secret is, knowing your strengths. Once we can identify strengths in us, we can understand why we do and act in certain ways and how we can achieve our goals and challenges. It isn’t about focussing on what we are “not good at”, it is about harnessing what we know and using this knowledge to guide our way through life.
Knowing your strengths can help you build your confidence and achieve your goals from a place that feels good for you, not a place of exhaustion.
What is imposter syndrome?
The word imposter syndrome might have been something you have heard before, and even something you have experienced too! According to Very Well Mind, “Impostor syndrome (IS) 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”.
It is all about not feeling “legit” or feeling like you are a phoney. It happens when we lack confidence, have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and when we really don’t know what our strengths are. When we know these strengths we can work in alignment with what we do best and how we work best. When we work from this place, we can overcome imposter syndrome.
Something that is important to keep in mind is that often we feel like an imposter because the environment in which we work creates these high and often unrealistic expectations. We do not feel safe to be who we are and to learn and grow on our journey.
The environment can amplify the imposter syndrome.
The bigger answer to overcoming imposter syndrome is not to fix individuals but to create an environment that fosters diversity and various leadership and working styles, which celebrates individuals and creates psychological safety.
Whilst this requires a massive cultural and leadership shift, there are a few things you can do to overcome the feeling of imposter syndrome.
How can confidence come from the other side of imposter syndrome?
Overcoming imposter syndrome leads to more confidence. No one is born with confidence. Confidence is something that we learn and grow over time.
One way to build your confidence is from what Forbes share around the ways you can grow confidence off the back of experiencing imposter syndrome, these include some of the following:
1. Reflect on your career accomplishments.
2. Document your career successes.
3. Seek outside help.
4. Befriend the imposter syndrome.
From this, we learn that by taking little risks and overcoming new challenges, we can build confidence. It is all about reflecting on the past and learning from how far we’ve come.
Another way to build confidence is to learn more about yourself, your strengths and how you can use them in your everyday life and towards new challenges and goals.
Learning more about your strengths is a powerful way to build the confidence you have in your own abilities and stop focussing on your weaknesses.
Once you have done a strengths assessment you can then learn to accept the things that sit outside of your strengths. Instead of trying to compare yourself to others and instead of feeling like a “phoney”, you can use your strengths to build the confidence and strategies to know that, “yes, I can do it”.
Let’s dive deeper into what a strengths coach can do.
What are strengths?
Do you ever wonder why some things come naturally to you?
Why are you drawn to certain things that energise you and make you forget time? And other tasks drag on forever, and you keep procrastinating and procrastinating.
The answer lies in your strengths. Your strengths are your natural talents that are already there within you. Your natural talents define who you are, how you perceive the world and how you best operate.
Your talents are your potential.
When you discover your true potential it guides you to live a life aligned with what you love and do best.
Rather than focusing on your weaknesses (and trying to fix them), when you focus on your strengths, that is when you can unleash your full talent!
What is Strengths-Development?
A strengths-based approach focuses on what is right with people and not what is wrong. It focuses on each person’s strengths and manages strategies around their weaknesses.
Strengths development is the process of taking your natural talents and refining and training you to use them intentionally, just like a muscle. The aim is to invest in your talents to grow them into mature strengths that help you to achieve your goals and bring ease to your role and everyday life.
The benefits of strength-development and coaching
The most significant benefit of strengths development is to learn to accept yourself for who you are. To appreciate your uniqueness, quirks and all.
We are often our own worst critics. We compare ourselves to colleagues, friends or even “strangers” on social media and start to criticise what we do, what we look like or what we say.
If we look at ourselves through the lens of strengths, we finally learn to appreciate all our quirks and all of our unique traits and competencies.
You will worry less about your “weaknesses” and the judgment or opinions of others.
Research by Gallup, shows that our greatest room for overall improvement does not lie in our weaknesses, but where we are the strongest.
We feel more confident when we focus on our strengths. If we get to use our strengths every day in our life, we can achieve high performance and a lower level of stress. We feel more aligned with ourselves.
If we only focus on our weaknesses and spend all of our time to improve in those areas, everyone will end up being average at everything. This would create a truly boring world.
Instead, we have to manage our weaknesses just enough so they don’t hold us back – but truly nurture our talents to transform them into our own unique superpowers.
Just like an instrument, we have to learn to play our strengths, refine it, learn to use it intentionally every day and aim it towards our goals and challenges.
The benefits of strengths based coaching helps the individual to identify their strengths, which can lead to:
- being 3x as likely to have an excellent quality of life
- being 6x as likely to be more engaged with their job
- be more positive and creative
- look forward to work
- know how to be the best version of themselves
Also, teams that spend some time understanding and developing each other’s strengths can actually boost their performance and engagement significantly.
Strength development in teams creates a safe environment where everyone is accepted for what they bring to the team. Which can lead to overcoming imposter syndrome for the whole team.
What is strengths coaching?
A strengths coach is here to help you navigate your own strengths and build them up to work for you. It is about shifting away from a focus on your weaknesses towards focussing on what you naturally do best.
What does a strength coach do? Discover below everything you need to know about strength coaching.
Why do you need a Strengths Coach?
This is a question I have been asked a few times.
Think of your strengths coach as your personal trainer. Your coach will be in your corner and support you on your journey to get stronger.
They will help you assess where you currently are at, using your CliftonStrengths® profile.
And then most importantly help you fully engage with your strengths. Understand how they show up for you and how you might need to refine them. A coach might ask the difficult questions, to really get you to raise your self-awareness.
And your strengths coach will help you to define powerful actions to aim your strengths at your next challenge or goal. It’s important to focus on an outcome for you.
And most importantly a coach also helps you stay accountable to yourself to turn the actions into reality.
The strengths coach works to bring what your strengths are to life so you no longer focus on your “weakness”. You no longer compare yourself to others and try to be someone you are not.
What if you dared to be different? To own who you are, quirks and all. What if being yourself was, in itself, your superpower? Strengths coaching introduces you to the incredible natural talents that are waiting to be unleashed so you can show up with confidence, trust your own abilities and dare to be courageous.
It is the key to overcoming your imposter syndrome as you become more self aware and know more about yourself. It allows you to focus on YOU.
Do you want to work on your strengths, here are ways you can work with Anne:
- 1:1 Coaching Options – Explore your Strength & Lead with Strength
- Group Coaching – The Strengths Accelerator