Coaching Magazine

Many age-old fables and anecdotes begin by telling a story of a character, who at the beginning is usually human, flawed, and unknowingly less confident than the reader is led to believe. This sometimes gentle meek and unprovoking figure feels deeply and strongly that they are not worthy of liberation, success, or recognition. In modern terms, this is referred to as Imposter Syndrome or Imposter Phenomenon. 

Imposter Syndrome is not limited to a particular demographic; it affects people from all walks of life; students, professionals, artists, and even parents. Imposter syndrome can rear its ugly head at the most unexpecting inopportune times in life. It is prudent to understand that, imposter syndrome is not a clinical disorder, but rather a psychological pattern rooted in self-doubt, and one’s own fear of being exposed as fraudulent, or not enough.

“Impostor phenomenon isn’t a clinical diagnosis,” said Pauline Rose Clance, PhD, ABPP, an Atlanta-based clinical psychologist and professor emerita at Georgia State University, who coined the term “impostor phenomenon” with her colleague Suzanne Imes, PhD (Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, Vol. 15, No. 3, 1978).

The year is 2018, and Jacob Quartermaine had been working in Human Resources for 7 years. Along the way, Jacobs skills and knowledge has increased and his leaders have taken notice of his devotion, work ethic, and tenacity to the increased responsibility over time. Jacob explains, “I first recognized that I was possibly experiencing imposter syndrome, when I was offered the opportunity for a promotion, and justified to myself every reason why I was either not ready to be promoted, or did not have enough education and experience. I felt as though I was alone in how I felt.” 

This phenomenon is not uncommon however, according to a Harvard Business Review entry, by Kess Eruteya under the section of Emotional Intelligence; 70% of people in the world are likely to experience it at some point in their lives.” Being more than just a gap in your reality of who you are and what you deserve, Jacob coins Imposter Syndrome as a “Chasm between who you are and who you want to be.”

Jacob recalls experiencing feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy despite his evident successes and competence in the field of Human Resources.   

“When I realized that I was not where I wanted to be in life and my career, I did not know at the time that I was standing in my own way. I sought out a transformational life coach of my own, and in doing the self work, I came face to face with my ongoing pattern of behavior, and choices for my career. The stark reality was that I passed up 3 separate promotions to leadership positions in less than 2 years, even though both opportunities were great career moves for me, and my superiors supported me. Imposter Syndrome is real, and can affect anyone anywhere. I felt strongly that I was not experienced enough to lead teams, that I was not old enough to manage employees who were years my senior. These insecurities were coupled with me not feeling as though I could hold a proverbial seat at the table in confidence.

As a Transformational life coach, Jacob Quartermaine works with clients who experience patterns like this, and provides a general framework to overcome the feeling. As a general start, in cases of severe manifestations of this phenomenon Jacob always recommends clients to seek Professional Help: “If imposter syndrome is severely affecting your life and well-being, consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor.”

Jacob helps clients at JMR Discoveries Coaching overcome Imposter Syndrome with this 3 step process

  1. Acknowledge: The first step in overcoming imposter syndrome is recognizing that you’re experiencing it, and be honest with yourself.
  2. Talk About It: Share your feelings with someone you trust. Often, talking about your experiences can provide perspective and emotional support.
  3. Reshape Mindset: This is where I employ the law of attraction, positive mindset practices, and complete inside out transformation at JMR Discoveries Coaching 

Imposter syndrome is more common today, now that more people are speaking about it. This does not have to shape your life and plague you. By understanding where it is showing up in your life, recognizing how it can manifest, and implementing strategies to combat it, you can reclaim your self-confidence and embrace your true potential. Remember that success is not about being perfect; it’s about growth, resilience, and the willingness to learn from both success and failure. You are not an imposter; you are a capable and deserving individual capable of achieving great things.

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