Be real with me for a second.
Have you ever felt like you’re just not qualified enough to succeed as a business coach?
Feel like you’re one mistake away from getting called out as a ‘fraud’?
Wonder why anyone would ever trust YOU to help them on their fitness journey?
Well…I’ve got good news and bad news.
The good news is that you’re not alone. The most qualified people in the world suffer from imposter syndrome, because the more you know, the more you know that you don’t know anything at all.
The bad news? If you don’t learn how to tackle that real fucking quick, it has the power to kill your business faster than you can say, “Throat punch in the throat.”
Imposter syndrome affects people in the coaching industry—and really anyone who’s doing what they love—because you’ve got way more to lose than someone who’s just plugging away at a boring 9-5 to make ends meet. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing! Questioning yourself means that you care. That you’re truly invested in caring about people. But there’s a fine line between being inspired by your fears and letting them completely overwhelm you. It’s easy to fall into a downward spiral of questioning yourself and every decision you’ve ever made. But if you harness those feelings of self-doubt, you can use them to propel your success.
So…how exactly do you make imposter syndrome your bitch? First, you’ve got to understand what it is and how it pops up.
See the Signs
Simply put, imposter syndrome is self-doubt. It’s the quiet (or booming) voice in the back of your head that tells you, despite everything you know to the contrary, you’re not qualified.
You’re not good enough.
You don’t deserve to succeed because there’s always someone out there who’s better than you.
If I’m being honest, the last part is probably true. There is always going to be someone out there more experienced, more educated, or more qualified to be doing what you’re doing. But does that mean that you should give up your dream or never work towards being the best fitness coach that you can possibly be? Absolutely fucking not.
Imposter syndrome can take on a lot of faces and show itself in different ways. So ask yourself if you’ve felt things like…
➱Guilt and Shame
➱Fear of Rejection
➱Fear of Responsibility
Or if you’ve done things like…
➱Not Making Offers
➱Avoid Making Boundaries
Sound familiar? Don’t freak out just yet. Even Erin and I have gone through this stuff—and continue to go through it sometimes—and just experiencing imposter syndrome doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the death of your business.
We all have a past. Whether it’s trauma from childhood, or previous failures, I think everyone can identify a time in their lives when they didn’t feel good enough. Maybe your dad asked you to do something when you were a kid, and he got mad when you didn’t do it right. Maybe you asked the coolest girl in your high school to prom, and she said no.
And when these things happen early in life, sometimes they just stick with us because we don’t have the tools to emotionally process them right then. It could’ve even been something more recent, like a promotion you worked really hard for and didn’t get. The point is—these instances of “failing,” regardless of when they occur, can impact our perception of ourselves and how we address failure in the future. You might just not want to try again—with anything! And when it comes to business, you might start selling yourself short in other ways.
If you’ve told yourself that you’re not good enough, you’re probably not going to value your time and create boundaries to protect it. If you don’t see the merit in your skills…your training…your education…your knowledge…you’re always going to be comparing yourself against others. All of these types of self-sabotage just serve to reinforce the limiting beliefs you already have.
I’ll give you an example.
Say you’re feeling guilty about taking money from people, so you undervalue your fitness program. You charge $100 a month because…well…why would anyone want to pay you more? In order to pay your bills at that rate, you need to take on 50 clients. You’ve never worked with more than 5 at a time. What do you think is going to happen? Some clients will think that you’re available for them 24/7, so you’ll get exhausted by the few squeaky wheels. Others will fall off because you don’t have the time to keep them accountable. By the end of the program, only half of your clients came close to meeting their goals. Because you’re already feeling like an imposter, you use that as evidence to show that you’re not really good at this coaching thing, anyway. You don’t have anyone who feels strongly enough to promote your program to others, so the next time you’re trying to find clients, you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel.
In this example, that one limiting belief—feeling guilty and unworthy—became its own self-fulfilling prophecy.
So in order to stop this vicious cycle, you have to be aware of why it starts and what it looks like. Be aware of your tendencies, and your triggers, and the reason that you are feeling like an imposter. Recognize how it’s impacting your process. Once you know the signs and have some awareness on how to recognize it, then you can take the steps you need to overcome it.
If you’re waiting for someone else to tell you that you’re good enough, you’re probably going to be waiting a while.
External validation is hard to come by within entrepreneurship, and a lot of people will end up turning to social media for a quick fix. They post the hot selfies, get a bunch of likes, and feel like they’re ‘worth it’ again. That kind of Dancing Bear strategy might work superficially in the short term, but it’s never going to change your mindset. And it’s certainly not going to have any real impact on your bank account.
The ability to find internal validation is key. You’ve gotta dig in and ask yourself, “What would make me feel better?” or “What would make me feel less like an imposter?” Chances are, you’ve already got the evidence right in front of you. If you’ve already had success in coaching—even if it was just a friend or family member—then you know you’ve got the skills to help people attain their goals. Look at their before and afters. Examine the evidence. If you’ve already done it, then what’s stopping you from being able to do it again?
And this comes into play when we talk to coaches about raising their prices, too. Figuring out how much you should be charging for your services can seem complicated, and there is a lot that goes into the process. But it really just comes down to this one question: If someone agreed to follow the protocol you laid out and gave 100%, do you know that they’d get results? If the answer is yes, then you’re already qualified. And you probably should be raising your prices, because…
People who pay, pay attention.
If the answer is no, then you need to go back to the drawing board and invest in yourself, whether it’s through education or training, so that you can get where you need to be to find success.
I’m NEVER going to tell you that you should take someone’s money if you can’t give them results. That’s unethical and just a shitty thing to do. But Erin and I have already learned that having financial success—the ethical way—is just a matter of being equipped with the right tools.
Think back to that example I gave you before. If you’re letting imposter syndrome rule you, you’re focusing on the 25 clients who fell off or those who got little to no results. Instead, why not focus on the 25 that did? Take that experience that could be viewed as “failure” and find the evidence of what went right. You can always change the things that went wrong. Up your prices so that you’re getting dedicated clients, who you can be completely dedicated to. Each day is a new chance for a better you. A better program. But if you’ve helped even just one client to reach their goals, then you can do it again. And again. And keep banking that evidence so that you can cash out on it when imposter syndrome creeps back up again.
Accept the Inevitable
So if you understand how and why imposter syndrome shows up, and know how to find the validation you need to get over it, that means that it’ll never be a problem again, right?
Imposter syndrome is going to rear its ugly head from time to time, and that’s okay. Like I’ve said, it’s actually a good thing!!
If you’re worried that you’re not going to do right by your clients, it just means that you care. You have humility.
If you’re intimidated by knowing that there are others in the space with way more experience and education than you, you’re going to stay humble. We all know that one dude (or lots of them) who thinks he knows it all and has all the answers. You might even look at him and wonder, “Why can’t I be as confident as him?”
Confidence is great, don’t get me wrong. But if you think you already know it all, you’re never going to learn more. You won’t be open to growth and change. You might not even care if your clients don’t get the results they’re looking for. Because if you know it all and are giving them everything they need to succeed, then the problem must be them, right?
That kind of mindset will kill your business just as fast as imposter syndrome will.
The most successful business people out there are those who know they don’t know shit. Their secret?
They keep showing up.
They suffer from feelings of self-doubt just as much—if not more—than everyone else, because the more they learn, the more they realize they don’t know. But instead of letting that defeat them, they use it as fuel to keep getting better, one day at a time.
Ultimately, overcoming imposter syndrome comes down to one simple choice: are you going to let the fear of failure stop you from trying? I hope the answer is no, because we’ve seen plenty of student come through IFCA and Immediate Impact who experience the same thing. And they end up finding themselves more successful than they ever thought possible. And certainly more successful than someone who never ‘did the thing’ at all.
This was just the CliffsNotes version of tackling imposter syndrome, guys, so if you want to get all of the tools for growing your business, especially during these crazy times, then you’ve gotta check out IFCA and Immediate Impact.
We’ll be starting a new round in the beginning of 2021, and spots always fill up fast, so don’t miss out on your shot.
If you liked this post, you should check out some of my other blogs and episodes of Flow State of Mind below:
♦ 5 Steps to Becoming ‘Qualified’ As An Online Coach
♦ FSOM: How to Know if You Are ‘Qualified’ To Coach
♦ Smart Money: The Four-Step Formula To Pricing Your Coaching Services