March 30, 2020
I don’t know about you, but when things go quiet and my work slows down (as it initially did at the coronavirus), I find it can affect my confidence.
It seems crazy for that to be the case with all my experience; however, to quote the song, I’m only human after all. Fortunately, those episodes are a few and far between, and I’ve never suffered from ‘Imposter Syndrome’, where people live in permanent apprehension of the tap on the shoulder that says, “you’ve been found out!”.
Imposter Syndrome appears to be a common phenomenon in the music industry, and approximately 30% of the people I have coached over the last 25 years presented this issue. In most cases, these were highly capable and impressive artists, managers and leaders on the outside, and most people would never believe there was an issue.
One of the key factors in Imposter Syndrome is a form of ‘external referencing’ where a person looks outside themselves for affirmation, recognition and approval.
They gain their confidence through a sense that others approve of them, their choices and behaviour. The disadvantage to this way of operating is the need to constantly ‘perform’ and please the multitude of different audiences and people encountered in life and work.
The underlying issue is, of course, confidence. So, if coaching is about achieving some form of change, then I believe that to achieve permanent change, it is necessary to work from the inside-out, not the other way around. I challenge and support my clients to understand the attitudes, values, beliefs, assumptions, blind spots, personal history, culture, etc., that impact how they make meaning from their experience and the drivers of their choices and behaviour.
This process enables the individual to reconnect to their inner resources through heightened awareness. Understanding themselves and their internal processes gives them a greater sense of choice and control, leading to increased confidence. They can ‘internally reference’ to assess whether their choices and behaviours are ok, give self-praise and gain an authentic sense of who they are, their needs, and how to express these in the world assertively.
Interestingly when I review the coaching testimonials I’ve collected over the years, the single most significant outcome reported is increased confidence. Clients refer to ‘unlocking of previously unrecognised abilities’, ‘inner strength’, ‘self-belief’ and ‘removal of blocks to confidence’.
Confidence comes from becoming fully aware of and accepting the totality of who you are and choosing to live a life that honours your authentic self. This results in a greater sense of confidence on the inside and enhanced presence and impact in the external world. Authentic people create trust and stability in those around them and gain confidence. When this happens, Imposter syndrome fades and is updated by ‘Here and Now’ positive experience. That’s music to my ears!