How I Nearly Became a Certified Imposter

Before I became a business coach, I spent many years teaching people how to use computers.

One of my early clients was an investment firm. Math had never been my strong suit, and I was always vaguely intimidated by those confident bankers who made tough decisions about someone else’s finances.

I vividly remember one Excel training where one of those men was in attendance. While I did know Excel pretty well, I wasn’t a “certified” MS Office instructor. In fact, I was completely self-taught.

My worst fear was always that the participants of a training would walk away without learning anything. I was sure they would think they had wasted their money, or worse, fire me from the gig.

In short, I had a classic case of Imposter Syndrome.

Sure enough, this fellow wanted to know how to amortize a mortgage. Frankly, I didn’t even know what that meant, much less how to do it in Excel.

In this case, I had no option but to figure it out on the spot.

I thought, “I don’t know the answer to his question, but I know where to start.” I pointed out the “Fx” function button, where all the mathematical functions live in Excel. Then I watched in silent relief while he figured out the rest of it by himself.

That experience always stands out to me whenever imposter syndrome sets in for one of my clients just starting out in business. It’s extremely common to think, “What do I know, and why should I be able to charge actual money for what I’m claiming I do know?” Turns out, you know a lot more than you think. For one thing, you know where to start.

The “Imposter” is one of the critical voices common to all of us, regardless of level of experience. We can never fully escape it (“new level, new devil!”). In my “Mindset Reset” training for entrepreneurs, I delve about critical voices to envision the voice of the “Imposter” as a separate, scared “committee” member who just wants to keep you safe.

The entire course has 8 modules, and other topics include Transforming Fear into Positive Action, The Myth of Failure and Mistakes, Overcoming Self-Doubt, Breaking the Bonds of Procrastination, and more. If you are interested in watching the full training, you can find it here.