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Imposter syndrome is a feature not a bug

Have you ever been fired? 

I was fired for the first time ever in 2005. 

I should have seen it coming… My own boss was fired two weeks earlier. My colleague was fired the night before. And I’d made it pretty clear I didn’t like the consultant who had just been made the new boss!

But it was still a shock.

I was still devastated. 

I felt humiliated. And humbled. And embarrassed. And angry. 

With some sense of shame, I decided to get away from England for a while.

I had been doing a lot of yoga and meditation at that time in my life and I searched online for a yoga course, somewhere exotic.

[Pro tip: don’t wait until times are hard to take up yoga and meditation. Start them before you need them].

I found a course in Thailand, which sounded amazing. But it was a yoga teacher training and I couldn’t imagine ever being good enough to be a yoga teacher. 

I wrote to ask for the teacher’s guidance. And her reply changed my life…

“Rich, some people want a yoga teacher who can cross their ankles behind the back of their neck. And some people want a yoga teacher who is just a little down the road to them…”

I signed up for the course and flew to Thailand a week later. 

I lived there for a month and became a qualified yoga teacher. 

Turns out that I’m a better storyteller than a yoga teacher! But I never forgot that lesson. 

I say it in my own words, these days:

Stop trying to get rid of imposter syndrome. Get good at it, instead.

You see, here’s the thing… 

Imposter syndrome is a feature not a bug

I designed 4PC – my community of leaders and coaches – so that we’d each have a sense of Imposter Syndrome. Including me. 

I don’t try to hide it or “fix” it. I built it into the program.

The entrance requirement to 4PC is: you should be a little in awe of us and we should be a little in awe of you. 

And my secret intention is that the caliber of members is so high, that if I was nominated for membership, I’d struggle to get in!

The Imposter Paradox: If you don’t have Imposter Syndrome, you’re probably not dreaming big enough… 

When I asked a recent cohort of 4PC members to describe their experience with Imposter Syndrome, here’s what a few of them said:

  • “My first 4PC gathering, I wondered WTF was I doing there? I could hide and make sure nobody found out but I decided to play full out, to be messy, to risk not having all the answers yet. It was super edgy and it made me right at home in the group. I still regularly feel like an imposter and I know I belong. It’s one of the best paradoxes to live into.”
  • “My emotions when we get together are always all over the place. Feeling like an imposter is the only consistent feeling—and it has become somewhat comforting at this point.”
  • “I have moments where I’m sure everyone can see that I’m not as powerful or accomplished as everyone else. And then I get grounded and giggle at my ego doing the comparison thing. And remember that I am love and power—and being with you all reminds me of all that I am.”

Imposter Syndrome is not something to hide from. It’s your secret clue that you’re headed in the right direction. It’s a sign that you’ve found your big mission, or your perfect community.

Love. Rich

 

PS. The Deep Dive is back. We begin this December—and over the course of two months, including two days in Dubai—you will join a small group of committed people, with me as your coach.
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The first 2 spots have already gone. Learn more and join me, here.

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