I used to feel like a fraud. But that’s because I’d bought into the notion that we one day ‘arrive’, or that perfection is, like, a real thing.
Of course some things do contribute to feeling fraudulent or like an impostor. When I was doing hair without a hairdressing licence, I was certainly riding that line. Having credentials help in feeling legit. But cred comes from all sorts of places. Besides, feeling fraudulent, I’ve noticed, starts to nip at people’s self esteem, not because they’re actually lying about some significant lack of credentials or capacity. It’s typically because there’s something about their life or inner world that feels out of alignment, they’re paranoid that someone will find out about something that will undercut the validity of who they are or what they do, or they simply have unreasonable expectations of themselves.
We’re human, something is always going to be out of alignment, somewhere. We’ve got a serious problem in our culture with the idea that we’re supposed to arrive at perfection and this, my friends, makes people bat-shit-crazy with feelings of inadequacy. Feeling like a fraud or an impostor can bubble out of the fervent belief that these feelings of inadequacy, and the evidence attached to them, must be hidden from others.
I’m tormented about something or another all the time. And I’m pretty balanced, happy and successful. Both.
Recently I started co-facilitating these group calls called Radiant Conductivity, working with women around what their calling or dharma is, cause, you know, I excel in helping people discover and express their life’s purpose. Two calls in, I realized that I’m totally in dharmic crisis. Hilariously awesome. And I’m no fraud.
A few weeks ago I was sharing about my ongoing body-image bullshit with my boyfriend and how when it comes to food, there are times when I sense a hunger that just isn’t bodily and he was all, in a mischievously playful tone, ‘hey, I know this coach who recently posted a practice about that.’ I could totally practice what I post more than I do. And I’m no fraud.
Earlier this year I was telling a friend about my annoying compulsion to check my phone all the damn time and how this was interrupting good work time, making my kid far too interested in my mobile device and was making me feel scattered and off centre. She suggested I check out my own archives for a practice about that. I completely ignored that good advice. And I’m no fraud.
Over the past couple weeks I’ve been really trying to say no to more things. Opportunities keep rolling in and I’m used to saying yes more easily than I’m learning I should. I’ve been on the fence over a contract I was asked to take on. New niche, good money. Self-doubt was coming up, not in my capacity to do the job, but I just didn’t feel like doing it. I was judging myself, thinking maybe I’m just scared of something new. My awesome business manager reminded me that I have a practice for that. Turns out, that opportunity just didn’t light me up enough, so I passed. It took me a while to realize what my gut knew right away. And I’m still no fraud.
Not a single session goes by with a client where I don’t think to myself ‘I could totally use this perspective/practice/development for myself right about now’.
I think one of the things that actually makes me really effective as a coach is that I don’t attempt to hide my humanity or pretend that I’ve got it all together (if I did, it would take energy away from being on behalf of the client.) One of my favourite places to end up with a client is being able to say ‘I have no idea where to go with this right now.’ It opens up some real inquiry. If I’m trying to know it all and be ‘a perfect coach with a perfect life’, not only is that nauseatingly annoying, it’s exhausting and alienating. Every one of my clients have capacities in areas that far exceed my own and I find myself thinking ‘damn, it’d be nice to be that good at that.’
Part of why I don’t feel like I need to be perfect is because I’m not selling perfection or trying to hype up what I offer. Offering real value to others has nothing to do with being the best, being flawless or always being on the steadfast-bullet-proof track of whatever success looks like to you.
I believe the real source of feeling fraudulent is an unwillingness to lovingly and accurately own what we’ve got to offer, and acknowledge and accept our limitations without judgement. It’s when we buy into the lies of inadequacy (that most people’s mind’s just can’t help but tell,) while trying to cover up and hide our insecurities, foibles and sweet humanity, that we lose connection with our centre and our sense of power and confidence.
By owning both your gifts and your shit, you no longer worry about being ‘found out’ because you already know where you are and can let others know as well.