Feeling like a fraud? You’re not alone. Let’s unwrap imposter syndrome, a common hurdle for many of us in the financial coaching world. Imagine we’re breaking this down over a casual chat, with no jargon, just straight talk.

Imposter Syndrome: More Than Just a Thought

Imposter syndrome isn’t just about feeling like a fake; it’s about how our circumstances can lead us to doubt our abilities. Think of it as the opposite of confidence. It’s that voice inside your head questioning if you’re good enough, especially when stepping into something new.

Contributing Factors

Several things can feed into feeling like an imposter:

  • Lack of training or specific experience
  • No clients yet
  • Fear of not knowing everything and making mistakes
  • Past financial mistakes
  • Feeling unprofessional without a website or business cards
  • Doubting your ability to help
  • Worrying about how friends or family will see you

But here’s the twist: it’s not the situation itself but what you think about it that really counts.

Perspective from Jackson in FCU

Episode 24 was all about why you don’t need certifications to become a financial coach. After that episode, one of our FCU students shared that the first inquiry they received asked if they had taken any courses or had prior experience with financial coaching. This is a reminder to me that there will always be those that feel more comfortable with acronyms behind a name, regardless of how qualified the individual is. But credentials aren’t everything. Sometimes, how you respond to doubts—yours or others’—can redefine your path.

The key takeaway? You might not have all the training or experience right now, and that’s okay. What’s important is not letting these facts define your potential to help others.

Two Ways to View Imposter Syndrome

  • As a Circumstance: This viewpoint suggests that imposter feelings stem from our situations. It’s about recognizing that while certain factors might be true (like not having enough training), it’s your interpretation that shapes your reality. Instead of seeing yourself as an imposter, try accepting that you’re simply new to this.
  • As a Thought: On the flip side, the Harvard Business Journal describes imposter syndrome as persistent feelings of inadequacy despite success. Here, it’s all about the stories we tell ourselves. Even with clients and experience, you might still doubt your expertise. The solution? Coaching yourself through these thoughts.

Strategies to Combat Imposter Syndrome

  • Reframe Your Perspective: Instead of dwelling on what you lack, focus on what you can offer now. You don’t need to know everything to make a difference.
  • Acknowledge Your Growth: Remember, growing and learning go hand-in-hand with helping others. Embrace your journey as a continuous path of improvement.
  • Recognize Your Value: Believe that you’re an expert to those you serve. Your unique experiences and insights are valuable to your clients.

Embracing Your New Identity

Imposter syndrome can be a significant barrier, but it’s not insurmountable. Whether you view it as a circumstance of your current situation or a thought pattern to be challenged, the key is to shift your mindset. Embrace your new role as a financial coach with confidence. Accept that being new doesn’t diminish your value—it’s just the starting point of your journey.

So, next time you feel like an imposter, remember: it’s a sign that you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, growing, and evolving. And that’s something to be proud of.