Do you feel like a fraud?

When people ask “What do you do,” do you find yourself making excuses?

“Well, I’m a writer…but I haven’t written anything that you’ve read.”

“I own a small business. ::quickly changing the topic:: What do you do?”

“I have a newsletter that I send out to a small list” (when your subscriber base is in the thousands.)

Chances are, you envy those folks who can “pull off” a fantastic, 30-second elevator pitch. You’ve tried to create your own so you can clearly explain what you do…but it never comes out right. Which makes  you wonder what’s wrong with you.”Everyone else sounds so polished and smart when they pitch their business. Why can’t I do that?”

Maybe it’s because…deep, deep down…you feel like a fraud.

Guess what. Every business owner, writer, and famous person has felt the exact same way.

Years ago, talking to big brand clients used to freak me out. I was convinced that everyone knew more than I did. What’s worse, I thought that someone would call me on my “you don’t know what you’re talking about” fear. It was almost guaranteed that I’d have a sleepless night before a big conference call or training gig.

Guess what? No one said, “Wow, why did we hire you again?” In fact, the emails I received after my presentation were exactly the opposite. People thanked me for helping them make more money, write better copy and finally being able to understand what the search engines were looking for.

So, nobody else thought I was a fraud…except for me.

This is a quirky issue that can hold you back in unexpected ways. When you feel like you don’t deserve your success, you…

– Don’t approach smart people who can help your career (what if they see right through me?)

– Don’t go for high-profile gigs that can make a lot of money (what if I mess up?)

– Don’t market your business effectively (I don’t have anything to say, so why bother.)

– Don’t spend money on things that could improve your business/life (I know that would help me, but I’m not sure where my next dollar is coming from. Better hold off.)

– Don’t let yourself out of your (very small) comfort zone (I’d love to try public speaking. But wow, I’m not ready yet…)

– Don’t feel good about your success, your business savvy or your craft (Well, yeah, I’m doing OK – but it was right place, right time.)

– You sabotage yourself financially.

(And all of these things spiral you right back into “I’m a fraud” mode.)

There’s a great post by Jodi Chapman that addresses the “fraud” feeling. Jodi said:

We are all simply playing the game. It’s a game that we are really good at – it’s a game that we know so well. Except, this game is truly exhausting, isn’t it?

Goodness, yes. It’s truly exhausting. And unnecessary.

So, next time you feel like a fraud, here’s what to do:

– Own it. Don’t ignore the emotion. Look at it – really look at it. Why do you feel like such a fraud? How real is the emotion?

– Read nice notes from happy clients. This helps you remember how good you really are.

– Remember that other people go through the same thing. You may think that they have it all together – but they don’t. They’re faking it too. :)

– Write down cool milestones and revel in your success. Starting a business is a BIG DEAL. Landing your first client is a BIG DEAL.

– Talk to someone about how you’re feeling. I know that this one is tough – it really is. But if you can share your insecurities, they’ll go away faster and help put things in perspective.

– Make a list  of what you are grateful for. Gratitude is a sure way to help drag yourself out of the “I’m a fraud” funk and ground you back into reality. (If it’s a Monday, you can tweet your grateful thought by using the #gratefulmonday hashtag).

– Refuse to let your feeling mess up your success.  You have come too far to sabotage yourself.

Remember that you deserve every drop of success. It’s not a “fluke” that you’re here. It’s not luck. It’s not right place, right time. It’s because you really are that damn good.

Isn’t it time to own it?


Photo gratitude to iJammin